Active vs. the run and shows good speed in pursuit and when he can get downhill. Shows some ability as a blitzer off the edge and is able to make stops in the backfield. Shows ability to make the stop at the point of attack and will break down to make tackle. Shows ability to set the edge. Keeps things in front of him in zone coverag, getting nice depth and comfortable there. Shows some abiilty to fill vs. the inside run and cut the back in the hole.
Struggles at the point of attack, getting caught in the trash too often against the outside run and struggles to get off blocks there. An undersized tackler that doesn't drive through the ballcarrier, which leads to a lot of missed tackles in pursuit and the open field. Takes poor angles at times in space and lacks the ideal closing burst on the ball. Always seems a step or two late to close and make a play. Doesn't show ideal instincts when playing against the inside run and can be late to fill. Gets sucked up by the play fake and can get caught looking in the backfield. Lacks hips and burst to cover receivers in the flat and gets turned around in coverage when working against the running back. When blitzing, isn't good enough to beat the chipping back off the edge.
Lutrus played SAM linebacker for UConn. He had a strong Combine session, but unfortunately that athleticism he showed in Indianapolis was not always apparent on the field. He was not a reliable playmaker at UConn over the last two years. He was limited by neck stingers in both years, missing 8 games total. He combined for 128 tackles, 9 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 INT, and 2 pass breakups in 18 games during that span. Was a four-year starter, combining for 213 tackles, 17 for loss, 1 sack, 5 picks, and 7 breakups during his first two seasons.
Lutrus has a chance to stick as a reserve SAM linebacker at the next level. But he's a not a guy you want to trust in a major role on defense. If he can perform ably on special teams early on, he might develop down the road into an OK stopgap starter. But that's probably only after his rookie contract expires and he won't be enough of a playmaker to keep that job for more than a year or two. He just doesn't have the instincts, burst, or strength to really like his chances as a starter. He's comfortable in zone coverage. There is also the possibility that he can also play a bit inside in a 3-4 scheme, but he would really need to get bigger and stronger and improve his abilities. It wouldn't surprise me if he gets a starting opportunity down the road, but I think if he does he'll always be considered a weak link on that defense. The player I would compare him to is Scott Shanle, who somehow has managed to remain a starter for five years at a playmaking position in New Orleans, despite not really being a playmaker. Shanle isn't a bad player, but he's not good and I imagine has held his job because the Saints were comfortable with a veteran there and had bigger fish to fry in other areas of their roster to focus on replacing him. Lutrus could become the same way after he hits free agency, but he's mostly a reserve candidate and journeyman prospect.
Lutrus can add depth in Atlanta and potentially project as a reserve at either outside spot for the Falcons. He's comfortable playing in zone coverage and because of that he has a chance to contribute down the road. But unless he shines on special teams, he's not going to stick long-term in Atlanta. If he does play well on special teams, he can get a second contract with the Falcons and be an OK stopgap starter if need be. But he's more of a body that can push a guy like Adkins or James for a reserve spot, but isn't really an upgrade per se.
Lutrus can get looks in the seventh round because he can stick as a reserve, but his limited upside as a starter would make him a reach before that point.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.5
Pass Rush: 2.0
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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