Has good first step and straight-line speed off the edge. Shows good get-off when he lines up in a wide technique and can put his hands on the ground. Shows some ability to make a nice inside counter move or beat the blocker with a swim move. Occasionally does a nice job getting his hands inside and gets some push off the edge as a bull rusher. Does a nice job wrapping up as a tackler and will drag down the ballcarrier in the open field. Shows good downhill burst and capable pursuit run defender. Has good closing burst to make some plays on the backside pursuit. Sometimes will lower the shoulder and take on the lead blocker on the edge. Has athleticism to match up with tight end or cover a back in the flat. Shows ability to jam the tight end off the line. Generally plays with a good motor.
Lacks ideal size, getting knocked off his rush too easily and won't beat the blocker once he gets his hands on him. Tries to run around too many blocks and doesn't know how to use his hands to disengage. Struggles to bend and dip the shoulder in order to turn the corner. Doesn't play with balance when he does make his inside counter move and can wind up on his face. Doesn't break down well at times when he gets penetration leading to whiffed tackles and misses on the sack. Is an undersized and occasionally lazy tackler that will struggle to make open field stops. Doesn't have ideal recognition or instincts against the run. Struggles to win at the point of attack and gets pushed off the ball by bigger tackles. Can't get initial leverage vs. the run when you run at him. Doesn't have great hips and struggles to transition into coverage at times in the flat. Lacks ideal awareness when playing in zone coverage and will be stuck covering grass.
Lindsey is a quick, straight-line edge rusher that gets most of his pressure when he's an unblocked blitzer or working against tight ends. He played both with his hand on and off the ground in Pitt's hybrid 3-4 scheme. He's athletic and can play in space, but his lack of flexibility and balance hurts him both as a pass rusher and cover man. And he's an undersized run defender. He's a player that looked more comfortable when he put his hand in the dirt, but projects better to play upright as a rush linebacker. Emerged as a junior when he replaced an injured Greg Romeus opposite Jabaal Sheard.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/17) at Iowa: 1 TFL, 3 pressures, 1 key blocked, 1 tgt.-0 rec.
(9/29) vs. South Florida: 1 pressure, 1 sack, 1 key blocked
(10/8) at Rutgers: 1 TFL,
(10/15) vs. Utah: 1 TFL, 3 pressures, 3 QB Hits, 1 missed tackle
(10/26) vs. UConn: 0.5 stuffs
(12/3) vs. Syracuse: 1 stuff, 2 FF, 1 sack, 4 pressures, 1 QB HIt, 2 tgt.-0 rec.-1 INT
(1/7) vs. SMU: 0.5 stuffs, 1 QB Hit, 1 tgt.-1 rec.-14 yds-5 YAC
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, 54 tackles, 11 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PD, 2 FF, 0 FR
Lindsey flashes talent, but is a bit too one-dimensional to love his NFL prospects. He's a bit of a late bloomer, so there is some hope that once he gets into the league and gets NFL-caliber coaching, he can start to live up to his potential. But it's not something I would bet on. Lindsey's potential as a pass rusher is probably limited because he doesn't bend well, he's undersized, and just might be too much of a tweener. He's not quite big enough to put his hand on his ground, and may not play with the balance you want to see in a linebacker. I think he projects best as a 3-4 outside linebacker because many of his limitations will effect him less in that scheme. He'll probably fit best in a scheme that won't ask their linebackers to be as dynamic and will predominantly ask him to play in the flat and/or rush the passer. As an end, he probably needs to add another 10-15 pounds of muscle, and play in a scheme that doesn't mind undersized pass rushers and will play him in those wide-techniques where his speed can be an asset. There aren't a ton of teams like that anymore with Indianapolis seemingly moving away from that, and Philadelphia already has plenty of players like that so Lindsey isn't going to add much more. So it's really difficult to see any team really giving him a long look as a defensive end. If he can play and produce early on special teams, then I think he can develop and down the line might be able to make it as a decent complementary starter in that Parys Haralson-mold as opposed to anybody that is really dynamic. Even if he develops, you're probably hoping he becomes a guy that can consistently give you 4-6 sacks each year. But if he cannot play on special teams early, I don't see him doing much that makes him stand out as a developmental prospect and reserve, and could be out of the league in three years. He is a good athlete that needs to get a bit stronger that has starting potential, but I don't see him really developing beyond being a quality backup that can be a decent stopgap starter for the short-term.
The Falcons would most likely look at Lindsey as a defensive end although Mike Nolan might tinker with the idea of playing him as a hybrid end-linebacker. But as a pure defensive end, Lindsey doesn't really add anything to the rotation. He's probably a practice squad player similar to say Emmanuel Stephens that even if he was to make the roster potentially as a fifth end, he's not going to play beyond the occasional work on special teams. That will be his role for the first year or two as he adds strength there, and even then you're really only hoping that he's an adequate No. 4 defensive end that won't be much more than a 2-4 sack guy in a situational role if he develops. They might be better off asking him to move to outside linebacker where he can play early on special teams. Potentially the hope would be he could be the sort of player that is a two-down linebacker but then put his hand on the ground on third downs and rush the QB. There is some potential that he could be a nice role player if the Falcons move towards a hybrid 4-3/3-4 scheme down the road under Nolan. But Lindsey is probably not the ideal option, since there are probably more dynamic options that aren't as one-note as Lindsey. He probably isn't a better option than Stephen Nicholas would be if Nicholas added some muscle to his frame in such a role. But there is some potential to develop him as a reserve for Nicholas and potential successor 3-4 years down the road if the Falcons chose to employ such a defense.
Lindsey offers some developmental potential for a team looking for a 3-4 outside linebacker that can be a decent complementary starter down the road. But the earliest you should take him is in the fifth round and that's probably only if you're confident he can produce on special teams right away. If not, then you probably wait until the sixth round.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Point of Attack: 4.0
Pass Rush: 6.5
Scouting reports of the inside and outside linebackers in the 2012 Draft.
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