Pros: A good player in pursuit that is comfortable moving out in space. Shows a nice nose for the ball with some straight line speed and burst that allows him to run downhill. Shows some ability to attack upfield, able to shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield. Does a good job getting drops in zone coverage, showing good awareness there to read QB and make play.
Cons: Lacks sideline speed and great closing burst when working in space. An average tackler that will miss some stops in the open field. Struggles at the point of attack as he can't shed blockers, gets stuck in traffic, and doesn't make the play vs. the inside run. Not a great blitzer and lacks ideal instincts. Not really a physical player.
Overview: Christopher is capable in pursuit and in zone coverage, but besides that he doesn't bring a ton to the table. Not an impact defender on Missouri's defense, overshadowed by Sean Weatherpsoon there. Two-year starter in the middle, and spent his sophomore as the starting SAM backer.
NFL Forecast: Christopher work fit well in the Tampa-2 scheme, particularly in coverage, but I'm not sure he's a physical enough defender to really stick in the middle. In most other schemes, he could be a decent weakside linebacker. I'm not sure he has the ideal quickness and speed to really match up in man coverage, so he would really only work in a scheme that drops its linebackers in zone coverage a lot. But for the most part, I see him being a decent reserve if he can stick on special teams. Doesn't really have great starters upside and would probably be average in that role. His projection as a pro is a similar player as Nick Greisen, who is good enough to start in the league, but not good enough to keep his starting job for more than a year.
ATL Forecast: Christopher could add depth to the Falcons defense, but doesn't have the ideal upside to be a starter down the road. He could potentially work behind both Lofton inside and outside, adding nice depth and basically saving the team an extra roster spot. Early on, he'll probably only be able to contribute on special teams, but within three years he may be good enough to be a serviceable starter. But lacks upside to make him really worth developing long-term. In terms of his ability, he's really like an older, wore down Brooking.
Value: Christopher can add depth to a team, but the earliest he should come off the board is in the latter half of Round Six.
Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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