Boise State Senior
40: 4.70 (estimated)
Shows good closing burst on the ball and does a good job attacking the line of scrimmage. Does a nice job playing contain on the edge and will set the edge against the lead blocker. Plays with a good motor and mixes it up vs. the run. PLays fast, tough, and physical. Shows some speed off the corner with nice straight-line burst as a blitzer. Able to work in short zones and keeps things in front of him.
Undersized and it shows when he's trying to make stops in the open field. Can play out of control at times and it shows when he can take poor angles in space. Doesn't always break down well and will miss stops. Gets stuck in traffic when working in pursuit. Doesn't great hips or range when he's playing in space or coverage. Lacks ideal awareness when playing in zone coverage.
A former JUCO that started both years at Boise State. Had his best year as a senior with 53 tackles, 9.5 for loss, and 5.5 sacks. Played the nickel back position which is basically functions like an extra outside linebacker. Is a bit of a tweener, but plays like an undersized linebacker but has the size of a safety. His brother, Will, is a centerfielder for the San Diego Padres.
Venable is a similar player to Cato June, but not nearly as good in coverage. He is a player that is probably best playing as an outside linebacker at the next level since he'll struggle if he moves to safety. He could be a nice in the box safety vs. the run, but he's too limited in coverage to think he'll be anything more than a reserve and special teams guy. As a linebacker, if he can put on another 10-15 pounds, he might have a chance to stick as a reserve. But unless he can add something on special teams, he'll have a tough time sticking. But how tough and physical he plays makes me think that special teams won't be a problem for him. If he gets a couple of years playing as a reserve, bulking up, he might make a decent stopgap starter as a WILL linebacker, particularly in a Cover-2 scheme. He's the type of player that the Colts used to draft to play outside linebacker.
Venable could fill a similar niche as Coy Wire on the Falcons, eventually. But for the first few years, he would have to rely on his ability to stick on special teams. A few years down the line he could be a capable backup for the team that if he can improve in coverage could be an option as a nickel linebacker.
Venable is probably too much of a tweener to merit a draft pick, unless a team is convinced that he can play outside linebacker in their scheme. And even then, he's at best worth a late seventh round pick.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.5
Pass Rush: 2.5
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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