South Florida Senior
PROS: Has good speed with nice athleticism and range. Works well in pursuit. Does a nice job attacking the ball and line of scrimmage. Is able to shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield. Flashes potential as a blitzer off the edge. Has good closing burst on the ball, shows some pop as a tackler and wraps up. Is comfortable working in zone coverage, getting good depth on his drops.
CONS: Lacks ideal instincts, taking false steps vs. the run and getting caught out of position at times. Has trouble getting off blocks and gets stuck in traffic. Needs to take better angles in pursuit. Not great at the point of attack, and at times can be tentative as a tackler there. Doesn't have ideal hips and burst to match up in man coverage and gets caught looking in the backfield.
OVERVIEW: Played the middle in South Florida's 4-3 scheme that is comparable to the Tampa-2. Probably a better fit as a WILL on the next level. A former JUCO transfer that was a two-year starter. Best as a senior with 105 tackles and 9 tackles for loss.
NFL FORECAST: He could make a nice backup MLB in a 4-3 scheme, but doesn't have the instincts to be a great starter. Teams may try him there because they like his speed and range, but he's not going to be a good run stopper in the middle. He'd fit best as a MIKE in a Tampa-2 scheme where he's used a lot in zone coverage. He projects better as a WILL in most 4-3 schemes due to his lack of ideal size and ability in pursuit. Overall, he should be able to stick on the next level as a capable backup linebacker with the ability to add depth both inside and outside. But he'll probably be limited as a starter if he gets that opportunity, although in an attacking scheme where he plays with a smart, middle linebacker, he could be more effective.
ATL FORECAST: He could contribute as a reserve linebacker for the Falcons. His ability to play both inside and outside would add nice depth. And while he doesn't have the upside to be a dynamic starter or playmaker, he could be developed as a decent option to replace Peterson down the road. But more than likely, he doesn't have the potential to expect that he'll contribute until his third or fourth year, meaning he's not a good option in that role.
VALUE: He's a nice middle round pick. Wouldn't be too much of a reach in the late fourth, but probably should go off the board in the fifth round.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.