Michigan State Senior
Shows decent speed and range to make plays in pursuit. Does a nice job attacking upfield and can shoot through gaps to make plays in the backfield. Shows potential as a blitzer up the middle as well. Wraps up, has a good nose for the ball, and plays with a high motor. Shows comfort working in zone coverage, able to keep things in front of him.
Undersized and struggles at the point of attack. A drag-down tackler that will struggle against NFL-caliber backs and tight ends. Struggles to get off blocks. Doesn't have ideal speed and range, and seems to be a step or so too slow to close to make the play consistently.
Gordon is a hard-nosed, high-energy player in a small package. He doesn't play as fast as he times, but has decent speed and range. HIs biggest issue is his lack of size, and if he can get bigger he stands a chance down the road to contribute at the next level. He was durable at Michigan State, starting 49 games during his career, his only miss was as freshman due to a shoulder injury. Was right behind Greg Jones on the stat sheets in terms of tackles, combining for 331 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 2 picks, 11 pass breakups, and 3 forced fumbles in four years as a starter, mainly at WILL linebacker, before moving mainly to SAM the past two seasons.
If Gordon was 235-245 pounds, I would have a lot more hope for his future, and thus when he gets to the next level, he should bulk up and add some muscle. But he's a guy that at the very least should be able to find a depth role at the next level, being able to play either OLB in a 4-3 or ILB in a 3-4. He'll definitely need to bulk up to play in the latter scheme. He'll probably never be the most reliable run defender, especially at the point of attack, but should be a guy that can make plays in pursuit. Which is why his best fit is probably WILL in a 4-3, and particularly playing in a Tampa-2 style scheme that will get him in space and use his ability in zone coverage. Like he did at Michigan State, he'll probably have to play in a scheme that has good talent around him. At worst, he'll have a long productive career as a special teams player and reserve in the Coy Wire mold. At best, he'll add some muscle and has some productive years as a complementary starter down the road like a Clint Session-type in the right scheme.
Gordon adds depth mainly here in Atlanta, and potentially the ability to develop into a nice stopgap starter down the road. But that won't happen until he spends some time adding some muscle to his small frame. LIke Coy Wire, he can add depth at OLB and play on special teams early on. Then three or so years down the line, he can be plugged into the starting lineup for a couple of years and be decent. He's probably a better and more natural linebacker than Wire is, so he should be a better starter if given the opportunity, but he'll still be limited.
Gordon is worth drafting in the sixth or seventh round because of the value he adds as a reserve with some limited potential to be a starter down the road in the right scheme.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.0
Pass Rush: 2.5
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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