Willie Young, OLB, N.C. State

Scouting reports of outside and inside linebackers in the 2010 draft.
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Willie Young, OLB, N.C. State

Postby Pudge » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:53 pm

N.C. State Senior

PROS: Has good speed and a nice motor. Can make plays in pursuit and has good closing burst on the ball. Moves well in space and does a nice job wrapping up to make the stop in the open field. Has a nice first step and flashes ability as an edge rusher. Can bull rush off the edge. Athletic, with a long wingspan that he uses well to bat down passes. Shows some potential in coverage with decent hips and burst. Can sniff out screens.
CONS: Has very limited experience working in coverage. Doesn't have a lot of pass rush moves.
OVERVIEW: He plays both end and linebacker in N.C. State's defense and projects best as a linebacker. Had 20.5 career sacks and 46.5 tackles for loss.
NFL FORECAST: Young is a good fit in the 3-4 scheme. He isn't going to be a top pass rusher, more like a guy that can get you 4-6 sacks per year. And he's probably not going to be a great coverage guy. I think he'll be a similar player to Kamerion Wimbley, although Wimbley has shown some ability as a pass rusher in the past. I don't expect Young will produce at the same level. But he can be a good, rangy run stopper that isn't great as a pass rusher or in coverage, but good enough to maintain his hold on the starting position. I think it'll take a year or two before he'll find his stride as an outside linebacker, but then he can impact as a SAM linebacker for some 3-4 team. And while he can get some snaps as a down linemen as a situational pass rusher, he really isn't strong enough or flash the pass rush potential to think he can be a permanent fixture there. If he can improve in coverage, he could work in most versions of the 3-4.
ATL FORECAST: Young has long-term potential to develop for the Falcons as an outside linebacker, but only if he can improve in coverage. He's not likely to contribute much early on, although he get some snaps a a situational pass rusher. But as of now, he's a player similar to Nicholas. While he can be a good run stopper, and a decent cover man, he probably doesn't offer the ability to really be an ideal option to push Nicholas in the near future. Instead, he would be a player that two years from now could replace Nicholas as the starter if the Falcons chose not to re-sign him. But he wouldn't be a significant upgrade because he doesn't fit all that well in a 4-3.
VALUE: For a 3-4 team, he makes a nice third or fourth round pick.

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 3.5
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