Thomas Keiser, OLB, Stanford

Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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Thomas Keiser, OLB, Stanford

Postby Pudge » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:24 pm

Stanford Junior
40: 4.85e


Shows a decent first step and good straight-line burst off the corner. Can knock aside the tight end, flashing power off the edge. Will deliver the big hit on the quarterback when he comes free off the edge or up the middle with the stunt. A high motor pass rusher and can contribute in pursuit. Gets decent depth on his zone drops, and moves fairly well in space.


Not an instinctual run defender that will miss stops in the open field. Loses outside contain, and has trouble getting off the tight ends' blocks at the point of attack. When you get him to play on his heels against the run, doesn't show the awareness and ability to close to make plays. Tends to rely on his speed rush as a pass rusher, and needs to develop and improve his other moves. Doesn't have the closing burst to really consistently finish the play if he does beat his blocker.


Keiser is a nice developmental 3-4 outside linebacker. He looked much more natural playing on the line at end when they went to some more 4-man fronts in nickel situations, but he has the potential and tools to develop as a linebacker down the road. He emerged as a sophomore starter at DE with 47 tackles, 15 for loss, and 9 sacks. With the introduction of a 3-4 last year, he moved to OLB and didn't have as many impact plays with 38 stops, 9.5 for loss, and 4.5 sacks. He also had 24-7-6 as a freshman reserve.


Keiser has talent, but it was clear he is still getting used to playing from a stand-up position, and had he opted to stay another year at Stanford, he should have helped him going forward. He is an effective pass rusher more so because of his motor than his great burst. He has decent burst, but not the kind where you think he's going to be a dynamic rusher. But he can get better and if he can develop more moves and functional strength along the edge, I could see him maxing out around being a 6-8 sack guy eventually. Where you want to see him improve is defending the run and playing in space. He's just not good there. I think he can get better there going forward, but he's never going to be a dynamic or natural there. But with development, a few years on the bench and playing special teams, I believe he'll get there three or so years down the line. Potentially, you're looking at more of Patriots kind of 3-4 outside linebacker, that is going to drop in coverage and play in space rather than a guy that is purely an edge rusher like with the Cowboys and most other 3-4 teams. I think eventually, he'll be a good complementary starter that can contribute in all three phases. I think he could wind up being a lesser version of Mike Vrabel.


Keiser isn't a good fit for the Falcons. While he is a more natural 4-3 DE than 3-4 DE at this point, he has limited upside in the 4-3. His lack of size and the fact that he's not the most explosive pass rusher mean he's a project up front. It's possible that if you stuck him on the practice squad for two years and allowed him to add 20 or so pounds of muscle, all the while developing his pass rush moves and improving his technique, he might turn into a decent situational guy off the bench. But he wouldn't be an impact guy, just a 2 or 3 sack guy that gets by on toughness and effort rather than skill. Better players will come along eventually and take his job.


For a 3-4 team looking for a developmental pass rusher, he merits a fifth or sixth round pick.

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

Speed: 3.0
Tackling: 2.5
Coverage: 2.5
Point of Attack: 2.5
Instincts: 2.5
Pass Rush: 3.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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