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2012 Draft

Luke Kuechly 6032    242   Boston College (Arm: 31)

Combine - Forty: 4.58 | BP: 27 |

BRS (Gollin) Forty time is outstanding for an ILB and should keep him in the Top 15.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "If you want to talk about pure football players, Kuechly may be the best in the draft.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Instinctive ILB with average athleticism. Great nose for the ball and rarely misses a tackle.  Lacks elite size/speed and may have trouble matching up with TEs

From -  Blew blew away the competition as the top tackler in the nation with a jaw-dropping 191 total. Many knock that most of his plays were downfield tackles and not "influential" enough, but 12 tackles for loss is a testament to his overall ability and instincts to get in the backfield and disrupt plays. More of an athlete than given credit for and has simply been a machine throughout his college career. Has all the tools to be an immediate starter in the NFL.

One of the most instinctual and technically sound linebackers to enter the draft in years. Can avoid trash at his knees and elite when it comes to shedding blockers and keeping himself free to the ball. Excellent working over the top of TEs to maul and delay their release/ can run with them in-phase down the field. Has the sudden burst and long speed to cover a very wide range against the run and is an extremely sure-handed tackler who can bring ball carriers down a number of different ways.

The major knock on Kuechly was that he had a lot of "inflated" tackle production throughout his career. Didn't get up into the LOS to make powerful, impactful plays much, won't be relied upon as a pass rusher at the next level and is strictly a tackling, sideline-to-sideline backer.

ESPN (Scouts, Inc. - Elite instincts. Very similar to Sean Lee. Disciplined. Takes very few false steps. Diagnoses play-action quickly. Locates the ball carrier as fast as any defender in the country. Always seems to be around the football. Gets the front seven lined up and is a very good on-field communicator.

High cut and can get in trouble when he lets his pads rise. Does not have a great anchor and can get engulfed by bigger OL. Struggles to disengage once locked on. But does a very good job of keeping blockers off his body. Takes great angles, which allows him to establish good inside or outside leverage. Knows how to give up leverage in order to keep blocker off his body. Uses the proper shoulder to take on blocks in order to maintain gap discipline. "

Range versus the run not elite but is better than average. Makes more plays outside the tackle box than most ILB prospects. Lacks great COD skills. But he diagnoses plays quicker than most, takes good angles and has above average straight-line speed for the position. Shows surprisingly good closing burst to the ball carrier. "

Tackling machine. Exceptional production. Not overly powerful. Won't force many fumbles or jar many ball carriers. But strong enough to finish vs.s bigger ball carriers. Good at breaking down in space. Really plays under control and wraps up.

Some man-to-man coverage limitations, but he's in the upper echelon of ILB prospects in zone coverage. Awareness in coverage is outstanding. Reads his keys and diagnoses quickly. Gets good depth in his zone drops and is very adept at reading the QB's eyes. Can turn and run on a straight-line with bigger WRs down the seam. Playmaker with above average ball skills (7 INTs in three seasons). Pass rushing potential (good awareness and adequate closing burst) but is at his best in zone coverage.

Vontaze Burfict 6013   248   Arizona State  (Arm: 31¼)

Combine - Forty: 5.09 | BP:DNP |

Pro Day - Big things were expected of Burfict heading in 2011, but a locker room fight with a teammate helped derail his season. He didn’t run or take part in the broad jump, but he posted a 30-inch vertical, 4.68 short shuttle, 7.42 three-cone drill and 16 strength lifts.

BRS (Gollin)  - Highly heralded coming out of HS and hasn't lived up to it. 2-inches shorter and 4 pounds lighter than his predraft hype. Even his arms are short for the position. Then he goes out and runs a 5.09.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "I did  not like Vontaze Burfict at all. He is extremely undisciplined. He has a soft, fleshy body. He is not tough. I really question his instincts. He fills the wrong holes. He makes flash plays but does not make consistent plays. He's immature, off-base and too emotional. A positional coach will be dog-cussing the scouts for bringing him in."

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Big 4-3 backer with great size/speed. Questionable smarts. Best physical skills among ILB’s. Packs power as a tackler, but question is his head – a personal-foul-magnet who can’t control his emotions. Could have issues learning an NFL scheme. Could fit at either outside spot.  

From -  Consensus top linebacker in the country as a sophomore, and then really fell off as a junior. A final season of turmoil, weight issues, discipline issues, and general friction between Burflict and his coaches has undermined him entering the draft, but talent alone should be enough for Burflict to be picked early.

Has been a fierce, punishing competitor throughout his career. Provides a serious physical presence and is a likely upgrade to the middle of any NFL defense. When he is in shape, he can fly from sideline to sideline and cover TEs well sufficiently in the pass game. Really excels as a pass rusher and inside tackler where he can meet nearly any RB in the hole and deliver a punishing blow that sends him backwards. Savvy and instinctive - can read blocks well to get to the ball. In the right circumstances, he could become a leading tackler in the NFL.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a player whose on-field discipline issues had such a negative effect on draft status. Not many coaches are going to have the patience to deal with personal foul penalties like the coaches did at ASU. Put on weight within the last year that has really slowed him downa nd  inhibited his athleticism and sideline to sideline range.

ESPN (Scouts, Inc. - Plays out of control. Will try to slip blocks when he needs to take them on. Will leave his defensive scheme vulnerable due to lack of discipline. (Can he play within a scheme in the NFL)? However, he has natural football instincts. Can take a snapshot before taking on blocks and get in position to make plays most collegiate LBs cannot make.

Prototypical MLB traits -  thick frame, powerful, displays a violent and quick-twitched strike that can shock blockers. Has the agility and savvy to slip many blocks. But gets lazy and undisciplined by trying to slip too many blocks that he should take on. Also lets his pad level rise when attempting to take on blocks and allows OL and FBs to ride him wide too easily. Has physical tools to be great, but is far too inconsistent at this point."

Gifted athlete for his size. Has the range to make plays outside of the tackle box. Light on his feet with an easy COD. Closing burst is above-average / can make up ground in pursuit. Must show more consistent with effort chasing plays.

Violent hitter. Rare ability to uncoil hips upon contact. Displays more consistent leverage as a tackler than he does taking on blocks. Leaves his feet too often. Puts himself in bad position too often due to poor angles Leads with helmet too much.

Very good athlete for size. Good speed and COD skills when playing with leverage and staying balanced. Light on his feet. Intimidating presence over the middle of the field. Very good burst and power when turned loose on the blitz. But he can be late diagnosing pass. Sells out vs. run at times and struggles to gather himself to change directions vs. play-action. Consistently a quarter-count late feeling receivers cross into his zone. A loose cannon in gap-discipline as a rusher. Has big play ability in the passing game that few ILB’s possess, but he cannot be trusted.

Dont'a Hightower 6022  265   Alabama  (Arm: 32½)

Combine - Forty: 4.68 | BP: DNP |

Pro Day — Stood on his combine numbers, except he posted a 9-foot-9 broad jump. He also had a 4.68 short shuttle and a 7.55 cone drill. He worked really well. He’s one of those guys who helped himself. I view him as a high second-round pick.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "If he played as hard as (teammate) Upshaw, he'd be a wrecking ball. The games I watched, (he) didn't do anything. With his size and ability, I expected to see a lot better.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Massive ILB who can move and hit. A big thumper with great instincts and a high football IQ. Still not quite 100% after a 2009 knee injury. Savvy pass rusher with questionable range and coverage skills.

From -  Has looked the part of a starting Mike linebacker in the NFL for two years…an early-entry junior with a bright future. If he can keep his weight steady and play at a fast speed, he can do many of the same things that McClain or Brandon Spikes did as the physical inside presence of a defense. Could be a better fit within a 3-4 scheme, since he has the size to shed big OLs who would work free to block him in the run game.

Long and imposing lining up in the middle of a defense. Uses long arms effectively to fight off blockers, dip and push to avoid trash at his feet, and keep balls close to him. Not the most athletic mover in space, but he uses his arms to tie up receivers within his zone and hand fight tight ends off the ball. Technically sound, although his style of play looks effortless. There aren’t many wasted motions, and he takes good angles to the ball working both sides of the field. Although he lacks the speed to be a true sideline-to-sideline inside backer or be the sole tackler in the middle of a 3-4 defense, he uses his instincts well and remains in position.

He has a big frame and will labor at times to move all over the field. Excels within the box but won't run down many scatbacks at the next level. Can defend the pass in zone but struggles to maintain man coverage. Struggles to flip his hips in man looks, or when he has to change direction unexpectedly. Not heavy-footed, but pursues with a lot of momentum and can overshoot plays at times.

ESPN (Scouts, Inc. - Consistently the first Alabama LB to sniff out plays. Quick to react, disciplined and plays within the scheme. Can be a quarter-count late to diagnose counters and misdirection.

"Big, strong and powerful. Sinks his hips naturally and takes on blocks with good leverage. Generally disciplined and uses proper shoulder. Savvy versus the run, especially between the tackles. Keeps head on a swivel and can find ball carrier while taking on blocks. Also knows how to give up leverage to keep blocker off of his body while locating the ball. Biggest knock is he must protect lower body better when working east-west."

Diagnoses run quickly. Usually takes very good angles. Good closing burst for size, but will not make many plays vs. the run outside the tackle box. Lacks initial burst / lateral agility is slightly below average.

Good size and pop POA. Thumper. Has short area power and can jar the ball carrier. Brings legs through contact. Occasionally gets into trouble leaving his feet in space but has long arms and makes a lot of tackles on the fringe of his range that way.

Good awareness in coverage. Diagnoses play-action quickly with a good feel in underneath-middle zone. Limited athletically. Lacks good initial burst / stiff hips. Will have man-to-man limitations. Spent more time working as an edge rusher on passing downs in 2011. Some savvy and power as a pass rusher. Good initial burst off the line and good at turning speed to power. Adept at getting underneath OTs pads and forcing the OT to respect his power. Some torso flexibility when bending the edge. Developing an effective rip move and should continue to improve array of pass rush moves with more experience.

Bobby Wagner 6-0¼ 241 Utah State

Combine - Didn't show (even to be measured).Forty: DNP |BP: DNP

Pro Day - Wagner was supposed to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine but couldn’t due to pneumonia. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and recorded a 39-1/2-inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump. He completed the short shuttle in 4.24 seconds, did the three-cone drill in 7.03 seconds and did 24 strength lifts. Wagner had a fantastic workout, and will probably be selected in the middle of the second round. He’s been very productive in college. Wagner has been playing inside, but I think teams would like to play him as an outside linebacker.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Four year starter (played both inside and outside(. High effort player who sheds blocks quickly and packs some pop as a tackler. Average speed/doesn’t change directions well. Tick slow to react.

From -  No write up

ESPN (Scouts, Inc.) - Above average overall instincts. Some problems tracking the ball behind offensive linemen but almost always stays in gap when he loses sight of it. Disciplined / stays home against misdirection. Above average awareness in zone coverage. Quickly recognizes play action and sniffs out screens.

Not as effective in phone booth as heis in space but not a liability either. Above average upper body strength. Posts tight ends and sets the edge. Gets off blocks …hands are active but a quarter-count late shedding forces him to gives ground.

Above average motor /usually takes sound angles. Active hands & upper body strength make it difficult to keep a body on him in space. Top-end speed is just average and he won’t run down quicker backs when in a trail position.

Misses the occasional tackle & not a big hitter but still above average . Breaks down, wraps up and drives legs when he can square up on the ball carrier. Above average body control and space. Drags defenders down when chasing. "

Physical /makes it difficult for tight ends to get off the line, Gets adequate depth in zone drops. Reads the quarterback and can make plays in coverage. Instinctive pass rusher who senses where cracks will open in protection when he rushes from the inside. Keeps head up and tracks the quarterback as he works upfield. Active hands / can counter when he doesn't win with first moves. Average bend and closing speed off the edge. Above average effort rushing the passer and can get there with effort. Gets hands up when he isn't going to get to the quarterback. But is a limited athlete who will have a harder time staying with backs and some tight ends in man coverage.

Audie Cole 6041  246   North Carolina (Arms: 32¾)

Combine - Forty: 4.81 | BP: 15 |

Pro Day — Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 and 4.81 seconds. Cole had a good workout and should be a mid-round pick.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments (as an OLB) - I liked Cole more as an outside guy than where he played (inside) this year. He was disappointing."

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Huge SAM who moves well for his size. Flexible/can change directions well-enough. Played inside and outside.  Has excellent instincts but lacks elite speed.  Projects as a 4-3 SAM or 3-4 ILB.

From -  A SLB who relies on power to defeat blockers and make plays on the ball (since he is limited athletically in space). Best suited playing in close and flying to the LOS from inside the box. Has sixth-round value based on his strength.

A strong player who is noticeably explosive when throwing his body into linemen. Can make good tackles in the box and when the play comes to him. An obviously competitive player who seems to enjoy taking on pulling lineman and fitting up with them before using his arm strength to shed. Can maul a TE on the line but has difficulty running with them. He’s been a productive tackler, but most of that production comes on plays that come directly to him. Has difficulty turning his hips and running in space, and would be a liability in coverage at the next level.

ESPN (Scouts, Inc.) - Diagnoses plays quickly and has good natural instincts. Takes few false steps vs. play-action. Plays under control but needs to show more gap discipline. Will have to make a seamless transition from SLB to MLB, where he has to make quicker reads in tight quarters.

Loses outside contain too often and must be more consistent with his take-on shoulder. Good initial pop /will lock out his arms to keep blockers off his body. But he lacks great anchoring strength and can get pushed around at times when bigger blockers get into his pads in close quarters.

Better closing burst than most LB prospects his size. Relentless in pursuit and has made several tackles from behind due to effort and pursuit angles. Some athletic limitations. Has trouble changing directions quickly and is slow to recover when  he takes a false step. "

Highly productive. Makes a lot of tackles in pursuit. Good initial power at POA. Usually plays under control and takes quality pursuit angles, but he needs to become more consistent. Lacks good COD skills and will struggle to bring down quicker backs in space. Tries to wrap up too high at times and will fail to finish smaller, quicker RBs. Some trouble finishing as a tackler when he's fighting off blocks.

Diagnoses pass quickly. Has quicker feet in pedal than most his size and gets adequate-to-good depth in drops. Good balance / plays within himself in coverage. Spends a lot of time working outside the box vs. multiple receiver sets and has good experience pressing slot WR's and working the flats in zone coverage. But he’s shown tightness in his hips and he can be exploited when asked to cover too much ground. Good burst off the edge when turned loose on the blitz. Some initial power and relentless in pursuit but struggles to get off of pass blocks and does not have great torso flexibility when attempting to bend the edge.

Mychal Kendricks 5112  239   California  (Arm: 31½)

Combine - Forty: 4.47 | BP: 24 |

Pro Day - Kendricks ran an impressive 4.14 short shuttle and 6.68 three-cone drill.

BRS (Gollin) - Forty time was fast (even for an OLB) and impossible to ignore. A bit light, short and short-armed - makes you wonder whether he might be best suited as a designated edge rusher. Write-ups remind me of a faster version of Ronald McKinnon.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "Kendrick is the best senior they have at Cal. You wish he were taller, but he's a good football player. He'll play a long time in this league.

Pro Football Draft Guide – Stocky, violent ILB whose style of play will be popular with coaches.  Gets low, can power through blockers and hit hard. Straight line/liability in coverage/lacks great range.

 From -  Has had high tackle production and has been durable. Will bring a physical presence to any defense and grades out as out of the top inside linebacker prospects in the draft, with 2nd round value. Physical and capable of playing in a 3-4 scheme if necessary. A very solid tackler who punishes running backs when he fills the gap on inside runs.

ESPN (Scouts, Inc.) - Naturally instinctive and tough. Reads keys well and usually diagnosis play early. Generally in good position to make plays. Playmaker who lacks the upper echelon anticipation of most elite LB's. Can sniff out and react to screens quickly.

Sawed off and has natural leverage to take on blocks. Adequate explosive power at POA. Understands angles and adept at absorbing collisions especially when on the move. Balanced / keeps shoulders square to set the edge against the run. But struggles with lack of size and strength especially when locked in a phone booth situation. "

Quicker-than-fast. Solid lateral quickness /changes directions well. Not a sideline-to-sideline defender but shows more than adequate range. Closing burst is good but he could do a better job of avoiding traffic in pursuit.

Reliable and strong tackler. Good at bringing hips and wrapping up upon contact. Can deliver heavy strike. Good at breaking down and securing tackle in the open field.

Adequate range in underneath zone coverage. Has solid awareness to mark targets in his area. Will have limitations when asked to matchup with TEs or RBs in man coverage. Lots of upside as a pass rusher but not a finished product at this point. Can win with initial quickness and does a nice job of leaning and bending the edge. But must develop as a counter puncher.

James-Michael Johnson 6011  241   Nevada  (Arm: 32¾)

Combine - Forty: 4.68 | BP: 23 |

Pro Day - Johnson stood on his times from the combine. He ran the short shuttle in 4.23 and did the three-cone in 6.99 seconds, and had a positional workout. He did fine; he did what he was supposed to.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Tough, athletic ILB who closes on the ball quickly once he locates. Fundamentally sound wrap-up tackler. A bit undersized…poor instincts…slow to react.

From -  Has played both outside and inside finishing up at the Mike position. Productive tackler and an obvious leader and inspiration on the defense. Athletic and thick, - brings power to the LOS when tackling. Has fourth-round talent and the temperament to contribute on special teams early.

He’s thick, and it shows when he tackles. A reliable form tackler. Strong / sheds blocks with ease, and fills the gap quickly. Instinctive and highly active on the field, and smooth in his pass set. Reacts well to both run and pass and should develop into a starter.

But he can struggle making plays on the ball (always around the play but has a tough time making the play on passing downs). He can cover in man but is better in zone and could get outrun by TEs in the NFL. Not very fast and is better served playing inside the box.

ESPN (Scouts, Inc.) - Tracks ball and reads blockers. Can read quarterback when dropped into underneath coverage. Above average gap discipline but may get caught out of position whenhe  loses track of the ball.

Average lateral mobility doesn’t slip blocks in phone booth. Doesn’t protect legs well enough. Gets engulfed at times but can lock out and control blockers. Upper body strength is average. Flashes a violent punch.

Quick enough to beat backs to the corner on perimeter running plays but could and should make more plays in pursuit. Takes shallow angles to the ball and lacks the burst to get away with it. Will gear down at times.

Delivers big hit in space but is not a downhill thumper between the tackles. Stays square, chops feet and wraps up in the hole. Wraps legs up when closing down the line. But has below average body control and misses too many tackles in the open field. "

Gets adequate depth and limits YAC production in underneath zone coverage but lacks the range Tampa-2 teams look for at ILB. Below-average route recognition skills /will get spun around in coverage. Lacks the burst necessary to stay with quicker backs in man coverage. Uses slap-to-swim and rip moves but has average initial quickness and closing speed when rushing the passer.

Emmanuel Acho 6015   238   Texas  (Arm: 33)

Combine - Forty: 4.73 | BP: 24)

Pro Day - Impressive in his position drills, and his draft position could get another boost given that his brother — Sam Acho — was a fourth-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals last year and started 10 games as a rookie in 2011, registering seven sacks and four forced fumbles.

BRS (Gollin) - Sam Acho's brother, but not as big or physical.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Instinctive LB who reacts quickly and moves well laterally. A bit underpowered and not a thumper. May not have the size  to play inside. Some potential as a blitzer.

From -  A productive force inside but there are certain hitches in his athletic ability and running motion that inhibit him on the field. But he shows up consistently and knows how to tackle and play well in the box. Could be a special teamer at the next level and seems to have the temperament to contribute there. A fifth- or sixth-round talent based on his ability to contribute early.

An instinctual ILB who usually takes a good first step toward the ball off the snap. Will meet running backs inside and fill a gap (if not two) to make a play. Adept at sifting through blockers outside, and is a better tackler from the inside/out in pursuit than at the point. Knows how to time blitzes and work against offensive lineman to get pressure on the quarterback.

But he  can get dominated by bigger offensive lineman and struggles to disengage at times. A decent athlete who can look awkward when pursuing long or dropping in his pass set . A bit undersized and can't maul tight ends at the line to get them off route / struggles in coverage when having to run with them. Except maybe on special teams, he won't be a very reliable inside presence early on.

ESPN (Scouts, Inc.) - Has natural instincts and above-average diagnostic skills. Takes proper angles with run-fits with a natural feel for cutback runners. Can get overly aggressive, making him vulnerable to misdirection and play action. Will sniff out screens.

Good strength POA. Good at recognizing when to take on or slip blocks. Lacks quick -twitch explosive strike but does use active hands to disengage when locked in a phone booth. But he can occasionally be engulfed by more massive offensive linemen. Can stack and hold the edge when aligned over TE. "

Knock-kneed and not a smooth athlete. Too much herky jerky motions when having to quickly change directions. Must do a better job of avoiding traffic in pursuit. Above-average closing burst (when pointed in the right direction).

Wraps up upon contact. Not a heavy hitter or run-through tackler. Could improve angles when closing in the open field. Some tightness when having to break down in space to secure tackle. Employs good technique and timing when cutting legs of bigger runners.

Enough movement skills to hold up in underneath zone coverage but much of playmaker and will have limitations in man coverage with more athlete TEs or quicker RBs. Lacks adequate power as a rusher but has a good motor and will come up with second effort sacks.

Ryan Baker 5113  232 LSU (Arm: 31)
Combine - Forty: 4.88 | BP: 30 |

Pro Day -
Baker recorded 4.72 and 4.73 40-yard dashes, a 9-6 broad jump and 7.24 three-cone drill. He did not do position drills because there weren’t any LB coaches present to work him out

BRS (Gollin) - Forty time does not match his write-up.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – No write up

From -  Prototype linebacker at LSU – with the undersized, fly-around style that has brought terror to the SEC. A fast player who can get to the ball from anywhere on the field. Could be attractive to3-4  teams. He could play ILB, where he would be relied upon to shed blockers and work within the box to make a lot of tackles. But he struggles with certain movements and isn't a great cover guy, so he could get exposed covering tight ends from a 4-3 base defense OLB position at the next level. Projects to the late rounds and will likely be a special teams contributor early.

Very fast…a bit short, but very strong and has a solid base to meet bigger OLs en route to the ball. Could be attractive to a 3-4 team where the ILBs are expected to be able to get off blocks from interior linemen on the second level. A very reliable tackler, who can gather his weight and settle down to make a tackle in pursuit or dip his hips to deliver an explosive blow in his gap. Similar to Ali Highsmith although a little better working inside the box. But he still needs to improve within the box. He does not recognize plays immediately to drop back into coverage, and his athletic ability does not translate to pass setting or covering a guy down the field. Doesn’t react well once setting in his drop and has problems turning his hips to run; his feet serve him well when pursuing a ball carrier but not when having to work in a ton of space.

Shawn Loiseau 6004   236   Merrimack   (Arms: 32¾)
Combine - Forty: 4.85 | BP: 19 |

Pro Football  Draft Guide – No write up

From -  Ignored by bigger schools after an off-field incident in HS but has displayed NFL ability in a small college program. A productive tackler and a natural at the position - can read lines and make quick plays on the ball. Sixth-round talent based on his ability to develop at the next level.

A very good tackler who plays instinctively from his Mike position. Quick to diagnose plays with an explosive drive step to the ball. Big enough to play inside in a 4-3 scheme but could also play within a 3-since he has the arm strength to shed the blocks of bigger linemen. He’s an explosive and physical presence from the inside who has proved he can play right away despite coming from a small school.

Small school background and off-field incident could hurt his draft rating. He can be exposed as an average athlete in space at times, and can fall off tackles when working from the outside-in. Will need a slight development period at the next level to adjust to the speed of the NFL.

Tank Carder   6023   236  TCU   (Arm: 31½)

Combine - Forty: 4.69 | BP: 19 |

BRS (Gollin) - Every time I tuned in a TCU game, he was making plays alll over the field. Reminds me of a few "less athletic" Ohio State LB's who went on to star in the NFL. His forty time suggests he has more than enough speed for the position - a bit light, but the Cards seem to prefer lighter, more mobile ILB's. One rare case where more workout numbers will help clarify his draft status.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "A little guy who plays little. I liked him a lot more last year. I don't know if he can hold up at our level."

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Active, instinctive LB with great feel for zone coverage. Straight-lined and athletically limited. Has trouble shedding blocks and will get beaten in space. Throwback mentality.

From -  A highly effective, high motor player who  might not have the athletic ability to get drafted in the late rounds, but teams will have a tough time letting him go during camp. Competitiveness and toughness should allow him to find a role on a 53-man roster as a backup and special teams standout.

Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year…consistent and active in the run game, relying heavily on his instincts to diagnose plays and hit his gaps. Has the size and strength for the next level and is a very productive tackler. Once he sees a play he is quick to get there. It’s obvious he understands how to read offensive lines to help him diagnose. A strong player who will fight his way into a role at the next level.  But he’s a bit undersized and lacks the speed to start right away. Diagnoses plays quickly, but his athletic ability can be exposed when he has to dip his plant step to drop back into coverage and scan the field for crossing routes. Must work toward the ball to be productive, but when he has, he’s set Pick 6 records. All of his production comes off his instincts and many will question his athletic ability at the next level; will to have strong pre-draft workout performances.

ESPN (Scouts, Inc.) - Strong overall diagnostic skills - reads keys and is consistently the first to get a bead on the ball. Instincts allow him to make plays on the other side of the LOS. However, he can be overaggressive reacting to play and sacrifice gap integrity. Quickly seeks out and reacts to screens and draws. "

Must improve overall strength at POA, but is relentless in this area and not afraid to fire his gun or sacrifice his body. Will absorb and slip blocks when he has to. Has issues vs. bigger and more massive blockers in close quarters.

Overall range is good. Pursues with reckless abandon. Does have limitations athletically ( tight when having to make a sudden change of direction). Weaves through traffic well but could do a better job of protecting lower body in pursuit.

Reliable and fundamentally sound tackler. Not a heavy hitter but can uncoil hips and strike when he can line up target. Angles are sound in pursuit / breaks down well in the open field.

Good range and awareness in underneath zone coverage. Has a feel for passing window and can get hands on ball (16 career passes blocked). Can turn and run with TEs downfield but will have some limitations when locked up in man coverage with more athletic TEs or quicker RBs. Lacks elite power as a pass rusher but can pressure effectively/ relentless in getting home to secure sack.

 Colin Parker   6-1   223   Arizona State 
Pro Day -  Forty: 4.70 | Ten: 1.69 | Twenty: 2.77 | BP: 23 | VJ:  31½ | BJ: 9-8 | Sh Sh: 4.53 | 3C: 7.18 |

BRS (Gollin) - Solid citizen and inspirational team leader with a heck of a back-story whose college coach says nice things about. A bit light for the inside, but not a lot of speed (& kind of short) if moved outside.

Walter Mitchell (posting on ASFN) - 2011 stats: 75 t, 6 tfl, 2.5 sacks, 1 int, 3 ff, 2 fr. He's from Chandler---and one of his biggest plays was the punt he blocked versus Cal which resulted in an ASU TD. Parker has a good nose for the ball---he's a little undersized, but to me he resembles Paris Lenon, and if he gets a little stronger he might show some promise at 34 ILB.

Sporting News - We know Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict as the meanest man in college football, but he’s not the Sun Devils’ best defensive player, at least according to coach Dennis Erickson, The Arizona Republic reported. That distinction, Erickson said, belongs to senior LB Colin Parker, who leads the team with 31 tackles. Burfict is second with 22. "No question about it," he said "And our most consistent defensive player. He doesn't make very many mistakes. I compare him so much to Mike Nixon, who was here a couple years ago, with the mental aspect and understanding what's going on. . . . He's played really well for us.

FSN-AZ 9/4/2011 Arizona State defensive coordinator Craig Bray is not the type of football coach to hold his players’ hands and sing "Kumbaya."

“You’ve just got to learn to listen to the message,” linebacker Colin Parker said. “(He) might add in a couple extra words here and there, but you’ve got to see past that . . . just try to take it as constructive criticism.”

Parker has looked past his fair share of choice words, but lately Bray’s message has been sprinkled with compliments. “Unbelievable kid with character, work ethic and intelligence,” Bray said of Parker. “Nobody else could do what he’s done.”

After two games, the senior linebacker leads the Sun Devils in tackling. He had 11 last week in a victory over then-No. 21 Missouri. Parker is tied for eighth place in the Pac-12 with 16 tackles, and his 13 solo tackles are tied for second.

But that’s not what Bray is talking about. Parker blew out his ACL in both his junior and season seasons at Chandler Hamilton High, enduring agonizingly long rehabilitations. Now he’s starting for the nation’s 22nd-ranked team. “It is kind of weird to sit here and think back on where I was and where I’m at. It’s not exactly where I was thinking I was going to be,” Parker said. “It took, honestly, almost three years before I felt like I could go out and compete for a position on the field.”

When Parker injured his knee the second time, an MRI was inconclusive, so doctors told him the surgery could go one of two ways once they opened up the knee in the operating room. “It could either be a scope or a full-blown procedure,” said his dad, Anthony Parker, who played cornerback at Arizona from 1984-87 before moving on to the NFL. “Colin didn’t know until he woke up in a hospital bed that it was going to be the latter. It was devastating for all of us. I remember wheeling him out in a wheelchair so he could watch his team play, and it was tearing him up inside. He had tears in his eyes.”

Anthony Parker suffered a similar injury his senior year at Arizona State at a time when surgical procedures were not as advanced as they are today. Yet he still played 10 NFL seasons for Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minnesota, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. That fact helped Colin remain upbeat. “He could talk me through situations where I’d get down on myself and start doubting my abilities,” Colin said. “He could help me keep it in perspective.”

Parker had another concern, however. He was recruited to Arizona State by former coach Dirk Koetter, who was fired after the 2006 season. Neither father nor son knew if new coach Dennis Erickson would honor the scholarship of an injured player he never had watched, never recruited and who might not fit his system, particularly because he was recruited as a safety. “I reached out to ASU, and the institution stood behind us,” Anthony Parker said. “That meant a lot.”

Parker didn’t inspire confidence in the coaching staff as he learned how to retrain his muscles, regain his confidence and adapt to a new position. “He couldn’t run out of his own shadow,” Bray said. “I always gave him (guff) because he didn’t get the genes his dad got. He’s wearing somebody else’s.”

Parker never took the comments to heart. He was used to that sort of motivation from former Hamilton coach John Wrenn, now Arizona State's assistant athletic director for football operations. Wrenn used to joke that Parker “was the worst football player in the history of football.” Parker was competing for a starting job this season, but when senior Brandon Magee went down with a season-ending Achilles' injury in an August scrimmage, he knew he had to take on a greater role. That responsibility was compounded when his teammates elected him captain.

“He’s been our most consistent defensive player without a doubt,” said Bray, who expects Parker to be the team’s leading tackler all season, ahead of even All-America candidate Vontaze Burfict. “It’s an indicator that he’s reading his keys -- that he’s where the ball is,” Bray continued. “The guy that should be the leading tackler is your middle backer because he gets to run free, sideline to sideline. Colin’s just on one side of the field. But Colin’s disciplined. He sees what he’s supposed to see.”

Bray compares Parker to former Sun Devils standout Mike Nixon. “Nixon had no business playing linebacker, and he looked awful doing it,” Bray said. “But the guy made plays because he saw the game so well. You couldn’t fool him, and Colin’s getting to that same place.” As for Erickson, he’s happy he kept a scholarship that felt more like a blind date. “It’s hard to have enough accolades for the guy,” Erickson said. “He’s everything you want. He’s smart, he works hard and he was raised in the game, so that’s a big help. “Having been here five years and gone through all the things he’s gone through with the injuries, he’s just really taken advantage of everything.”



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