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2012 Draft

Courtney Upshaw, 6014 272  Alabama (Arm: 32)
Combine: Forty: DNP  | BP: 22 |

Pro Day — Upshaw ran the 40 in 4.76 and 4.78 seconds. He had a 27-1/2-inch vertical, a 9-1 broad jump, a 4.6-second short shuttle and a 7.73-second three-cone. He worked out as a linebacker and with his hand on the ground. He’s probably going to be a DE in the NFL. He just looks a little too stiff to be a linebacker; his best position is going to be as a pass-rusher. (Brooks): Upshaw was heavier (279 pounds) than he was at the NFL Scouting Combine (272). He is rugged but not explosive and is uncomfortable playing in space, though he does play well on tape. He has demonstrated a good football IQ and has a knack for making plays. He is not a top-10 talent, but should go in the first round. He will make an impact as a rookie in the NFL.

Mayock Pre-Senior Bowl Position Rank: 1.

BRS (Gollin) - Seems to project more as a 4-3 strong DE than as an OLB. Workout scores may help clear this up.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "I love Courtney Upshaw. he may be my favorite player this year. Other scouts are killing him because he is short - I say 'OK, let him go to Pittsburgh and become a Pro Bowler.

Pro Football Draft Guide – Relentless powerful pass rusher. Powerful violent rush LB who should fit on the strong side of a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Heavy footed and unnatural in coverage.

From - A naturally strong human being who will be an imposing rush outside linebacker in an NFL 3-4 alignment. Can be exposed in the open field because he lacks great agility/ speed, but his understanding of how to use his strength and leverage, as well as his hands, allows him to blanket tight ends at the LOS and avoid having to run with them across the field. Has overpowered many OTs and RBs. Much more effective against inside runs, and struggles when having to chase outside. Will also need to develop his footwork and prove he has speed to be an effective pass rusher. Overall, due to his size, strength, and play against the run, he has late first-round talent. Look for him to pair with a pass-rush specialist opposite of him at outside backer in a 3-4 – where he can set the edge, work against TE’s as a heavy run defender.

Sets the edge as good as any prospect in recent years. Uses lower strength and girth to stall blockers and read plays to get to the ball in the run game. Understands how to use his hands to stack a block, hold the player up, shed him and then react to the play. Uses his heavy hands well covering a TE at the LOS. Value lies in his physical strength, explosion, and how he can overpower offensive lineman to get to the ball carrier. Uses brute strength to rush the passer, can leverage tackles at the POA and literally force them into the backfield. Has the flexibility and knee bend to dip around tackles when given a step.

A strong man with serious lower body power, but this can sometimes limit his fluid movements. Labors when moving laterally with slower feet than most productive pass rushers. A bull-rusher first, finesse player second. Can struggle at times pursuing a play across the field for long stretches. More effective in tight quarters than in space. Questions about his athleticism

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Impressed with his recognition skills, especially late in the season. Sniffs out counters, draws, screens and reverses. Plays with very good discipline and rarely gets caught out of position. "

Short and lacks ideal size, so he can get engulfed by bigger blockers if they get into his body. But one of the things he does best is taking on blocks. Plays with leverage with adequate-to-good power at POA. Disciplined / almost always uses the proper shoulder to take on blocks (to maintain outside contain). Quick, powerful hands to disengage in a hurry."

Range is better than average for his size/position. Can get off of blocks quickly with better-than-average closing burst for size. Plays hard and will make some effort plays in run pursuit.

Will leave his feet and fall off of blocks, but he continues to improve. Works hard to get into good position. Very good closing burst and is a heavy hitter. Can jar the ball loose.

Lacks elite first-step quickness but does show enough initial burst to gain an advantage off the edge. Very good hand-usage. Hands are quick and violent. Adept at keeping blockers off his body. Quick feet /keeps OT's off balance. Above average closing burst / will explode through the QB. Some experience dropping into underneath coverage and is plenty capable of doing so as a 3-4 OLB.

Ronnell  Lewis 6013 253   Oklahoma (Arm: 32½)

Combine: Forty:  4.68 | BP: 36 | VJ: 31 | BJ: 112 | 3C: 7.09 | 20Sh: 4.40 | 60Sh: DNP |

Pro Day - Lewis ran 4.72 and 4.85 40-yard dashes but held on to his other combine numbers. He worked as both a DL and LB, and his versatility could earn him looks in the third round.

BRS (Gollin) – The first of 2 Oklahoma Lewis OLB's. (See Travis in next write-up) - who grade out similarly after playing for the Sooners. Ronnell graded out faster (4.68 vs. 4.81) and had 36 reps (vs. 22 reps for Travis). But Travis did better in the vertical and broad jump.

Pro Football Draft Guide – Undersized DE in college who’ll have to make the transition to OLB. Physical pass rusher with a non-stop motor/gets  off very quickly at the snap.  A bit tightly-wound and straight-line

From -  A slow-twitched athlete who could struggle working against more explosive players in the NFL. An early-entry junior who played DE  his last two years, but will likely be moved back to his more natural position OLB. Frame bodes well for a move. Could even make the extreme jump from end to outside linebacker in a 4-3, considering that rushing the passer is not a key asset in his arsenal. Has fourth- or fifth-round value and should make early contributions on special teams.

Strong vs. the run and can hold the edge well despite often giving up 50 pounds to tackles. Strong arms to shed blocks and very good defending the run; Can engage, read, shed and move towards the ball with ease and has a burst to the ball. Has the speed to run down ball carriers who get outside and is a good striker once he gets to the ball. A tireless pass rusher who relies more on will than technique. Active in the box / has some positional versatility.

But he can hesitate at times when reacting to the pass and will struggle early working in a zone coverage due to poor recognition and hips. Did not get many opportunities in college to cover downfield -- tasked more with mauling at the line than dropping back. Decent flexibility but struggles to reset his weight after dropping into the flats, and lacks the footwork to gather himself when covering RB’s.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Instincts are adequate but have room to improve. Generally finds and reacts to the ball well. Has playmaking instincts and will finish plays. Above-average awareness as pass rusher / will go for the strip when closing from behind. But can get caught peeking inside and lose edge-contain. Can be a split second late recognizing screens out of the backfield. "

"Has a wide base and plays with balance, but lacks and elite frame Must get stronger in the upper body. Can get engulfed by more massive blockers in a phone booth when his hand is down in a traditional DE position. Absorbs blocks well in space and good at using hands to disengage. Can slip blocks in space. "

Overall movement skills adequate for position. Some tightness when having to COD, but has above-average speed when pointed in the right direction /closes quickly in pursuit.

Strong wrap-up tackler with a wide base who brings his hips though upon contact. Will deliver a heavy hit and halt runner’s momentum. Can deliver a violent strike when lining up target on the move. Some limitations when caught in one-on-one in space..

Good pass rusher.. Good first step quickness / can establish initial position. Uses head-and-shoulder moves well to set up offensive tackles. Lacks elite torso flexibility to dip and shave the corners. But can dip his inside shoulder and get underneath offensive tackles' pads. Can generate push with power moves but lacks prototypical finishing strength and power at this point. Relentless motor as a pass rusher with great second effort. Fluid enough to spot drop and hold up in underneath coverage but will have limitations if matched up in man coverage.

Travis Lewis 6013 246   Oklahoma (Arm: 32¾)

Combine: Forty:  4.88 | BP: 22 | VJ: 36 | BJ: 122 | 3c: DNP | 20Sh: DNP | 60Sh: DNP |

Pro Day - Lewis posted 4.75 and 4.78 40-yard dashes, a 36-inch vertical jump, 10-foot broad jump, 4.22 short shuttle, 7.27 three-cone drill and 26 lifts. He had a good workout but didn’t elevate his draft status.

BRS (Gollin) – The "second Lewis OLB" from Oklahoma (See Ronnell above). grade out similarly after playing for the Sooners. Ronnell graded out faster (4.68 vs. 4.88) and had 36 reps (vs. 22 reps for Travis). But Travis did better in the vertical and broad jump.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments (as an ILB) - "Could start for someone but most likely he will be a backup and special teams guy.  He's just too stiff. He can run. I never saw him as being an elite player."

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Active, rangy MLB in college. Excellent instincts. Will struggle to shed blocks but shows the ability to shhot past blockers in the box. Projects as a WILL but has good range and should be a quality starter.

From -  Four-year starter and productive, “quarterback of the defense.” Plays in one of the few true 3-4 schemes at the collegiate level and has value because he can do that right away. A strong tackler with fourth-round value.

Quick-twitched off the snap. Good at shedding blocks (he has to be considering the scheme he plays in).. Great in pursuit of outside runs and has the speed to get there. Nice, athletic pass drop where he can flip his hips and set to react to balls and men coming across the middle. An aware, athletic LBr with high tackle production.

But he can diagnose the play late at times, and struggle with runners coming directly at him. Tackles well in pursuit from the side but can't set his butt to uncoil his hips and deliver a blow at a runner coming directly at him. Good pass set but can't run well with TE’s in man across the field.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Above-average diagnostic skills. Reads keys and reacts quickly to the ball. Takes proper angles with run fits. Can be a quarter-count late recognizing and reacting to play action. Must do a better job of keeping his head up and playing with his eyes when taking on blocks. But shows good overall awareness in coverage.

Must get stronger taking blocks. Did not see explosive power on tape /has just marginal POA skills. Easily engulfed by bigger and more massive blockers. Lacks violent and consistent hands to disengage from blocks in a timely manner.

Overall range is just adequate. Some tightness in hips / can take an extra second to transition when having to make a sudden COD. Above-average closing burst once he gets pointed in the right direction. Wades through traffic well in pursuit but could do a better job of protecting lower body.

Fundamentally sound and reliable tackler. Good at bringing his hip through and wrapping up upon contact. Not a consistent run -through tackler but able to strike to line up targets. Generally takes proper angles in pursuit and does a nice job of breaking down in the open field.

More than adequate range in underneath zone coverage. Good awareness for targets in his area and for passing lanes. Playmaking ability in coverage / has the ball skills to finish plays and secure pick. Limited in man coverage. Often overaggressive trying to be physical in man coverage vs. RBs and can lose balance. Not much of a pass rusher at this point. Must show more aggressiveness and lacks adequate power in this department.

Zach Brown 6012 244   No. Carolina (Arm: 33¼)
Combine: Forty: 4.50 | BP: DNP |

Pro Day -  Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 and 4.49 seconds, with a 35-inch vertical, 4.32-second short shuttle, 7.26-second three-cone and 22 strength reps. Brown is a great athlete and worked out very well, but there are questions about how competitive he is. He could be a first-rounder, or he could slip back.

Mayock Pre-Senior Bowl Position Rank: 4.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "Brown is as fast as they come, but his instincts are not great. He does not play assignment-sound football. And he looks like a little runt - he's very skinny. He's going to (vertically) jump 40 somne inches and run in the 4.3's (Ed Note - He ran a 4.50) but I'm not sure I'd want him sooner than the third round."

Pro Football  Draft Guide – WLB who runs like a DB. Lacks physicality. An elite athlete capable of going sideline to sideline with the elite speed to chase down plays from behind. Doesn’t play with a lot of violence.

From -  Might be one of the fastest straight-line backers to ever enter the NFL draft. It has been well-documented that he possesses track-type speed. He does show it on the field and stands out as a player who effortlessly is in position to be a high-tackle production LB. Could be effective in nearly any LB role but projects best as a 4-3 OLB who can be active in pass defense. While speed is his most striking feature, he has question marks - including how well he’ll adapt from college to pros. Has yet to scratch the surface of his potential.  An athlete of this size and speed won't last much later than the first round.

fFinds the ball, reacts, and finishes through the ball carrier. Speed is without a doubt his strongest asset. A natural mover, whose strength isn't compensated by his play-speed / he’s well-polished in removing himself from blocks and getting to the ball. Strong over TE and has the footwork and hip mobility to run with any TE in coverage. Few RB’s will be able to outrun Brown and get an edge in the run game, and few will get by him in the pass game. While he excels in space, he can also play in the box and sniff out runs as a gap defender and make explosive plays at the POA. Uses his pure athletic ability and speed to dip and run by linemen into the backfield. Also has the power to run through pass-blocking and ball-carrying running backs. A productive tackler who rarely falls off the ball – it’s likely he will continue that high-volume production looking forward.

There are questions surrounding other aspects of Brown's game and life. Tends to disappear for long stretches and will need to be reeled in make sure he is playing to his potential. Could stand to put on some weight, but there are very few things that Brown needs to do physically to mold his game - many of the changes involve his work habits.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - One of the fastest LBs in college football . Disciplined for the most part. Understands gap discipline and almost always uses proper shoulder when taking on blocks in order to maintain good positioning. But his read-and-react skills are not up to par. Frequently is a quarter-count late diagnosing plays. Takes far too many false steps. Appears indecisive at times, especially in coverage. "

Lacks ideal size and strength at POA and can be engulfed when he doesn't anticipate bigger blockers. Will always be at his best when protected, but does a better job of taking on blockers than his size and game experience might indicate. Good at maintaining leverage, using long arms to keep separation and maintaining outside contain. Quick hands / good at using them to keep blockers off his pads in space. "

 If protected, he is a sideline-to-sideline run defender. Quick feet to shuffle laterally and avoid contact in small space. Exceptional closing burst to the ball carrier. Angles are solid for the most part but he needs to become more consistent.

Closes quickly with some short area power because of the momentum he can generate. Not an overly explosive tackler but he doesn't fall off of many tackles either. Long arms and a stronger upper body. Doesn't play the game with a noticeable mean streak but he is tough and competitive enough.

"Awareness in coverage is lacking. Will take some false steps versus play-action.  Would like to see more urgency in his drops. But he is smooth and fluid with rare speed for the position. Good range in zone coverage / can cover even more ground with improved recognition skills. Has the athletic ability to matchup versus most NFL RBs one-on-one. Far more experience in coverage than  as a pass rusher but certainly has the initial burst and explosiveness to contribute as an occasional edge rusher.

Lavonte David   6005  233  Nebraska (Arm: 31¾)

Combine: Forty: 4.65 | BP: 19 |

Pro Day - Stood on everything from the combine. He’s a player who has got first-round ability. It’s just going to be if people think he can hold up. He’ll probably be a second rounder because of size, but he’ll contribute.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Undersized WILL. Thrives in coverage. Small but rangy and extremely active. A WILL/safety tweener. 

From -  One of the premier linebacker prospects this year. Undersized but overcomes it through instincts and speed. Enormous tackle production. Instincts are the key to his game ( always seems to be in the middle of action whether rushing the passer or covering tight ends). Will need to stay off blocks and either gain strength or continue to play instinctually to stay free entirely. Athletic ability allows him to play loose and fly around - he should go in the late first round to a team who loves undersized, athletic linebackers.

Speed is evident from the second the play starts. An instinctive player who can read offensive lines and trigger to get to the spot he needs to get to. Understands angles and how to leverage himself when taking on blocks (which allows him to overcome his size deficiency). Footwork is fluid in transition /when moving laterally, he routinely fits up against RB’s in the hole and stonewalls them at the point. Can pursue outside against the run and use his instincts to meet players where they ultimately will be… rarely whiffs on tackles. Can cover TEs close in man and works well in zone coverage due to his natural, fluid hips to turn and pass set.

Can struggle at times when lineman get their hands on him on run plays. If he is free he hits the gap hard, but once engaged he attempts to use his strong hands to fight away. Can cover TEs in patterns, but will also struggle in man against them at the LOS if they overpower him initially. Speed and savvy can often neutralize the size and strength hitches in Lavonte's game, but they could be exposed more at the next level.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Disciplined /stays home against misdirection. Reads back and blocks though not always at the same time. Fails to pick up blockers when caught tracking the ball and fails to locate ball when locking in on lead blocker. Nice at locating and picking up crossers in underneath zone coverage. Stays at linebacker depth when matched up in man coverage and RB stays in to help out in pass protection.

Above average lateral mobility / can slip blocks in phone booth. Upper body strength appears above average. Locks out and controls lead blockers. But size is an issue / overwhelmed by offensive linemen when lined up between the tackles when he doesn’t win with quickness. "

Above average initial quickness makes it difficult for backs to turn the corner when teams run to his side. Good motor / can chase backs down from behind. But, his pursuit angles have to be sound when chasing backs across the field.

Squares up and drives legs when meeting running back in the hole. Wraps ball carriers' legs with limited production after contact. Tries the rip the ball out of ball carrier's hands. Only time he gets into trouble here is when he's unable to get into sound position.

Footwork could be crisper but is a three-down linebacker with above average man-to-man cover skills. (Turn and ran with slot receiver vs. 2010 Texas A&M ). Can reach in with left hand and deflect ball without getting flagged. Takes a split second too long to locate the ball and not a playmaker at this point. Lacks a variety of pass rush moves but can get to the quarterback with second effort / above average closing speed when he gets a clear path.

Keenan Robinson 6031  242  Texas (Arm: 33)

Combine: Forty: 4.79 | BP: 27 |

Pro Day - Ran 4.77 and 4.70 in the 40-yard dash, posted a 36 1/2-inch vertical jump, 10-foot-5 broad jump, 4.40-second short shuttle time. Robinson — a projected mid-round draft pick — also went through position drills.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – A 4-3 WILL prospect – a fluid rangy athlete who excels in coverage. Excellent sideline-to-sideline range, but a weak tackler. Projects as a passing down role player.

From -  An athletic mover who can run down faster players. A solid all-around prospect who may be better suited to play OLB, where he can play more freely and get pursuit production from the inside out. A fourth- or fifth-round prospect who could contribute on special teams right away.

Works well in space to position himself to make a play and is a quick mover off the snap. At his best working towards the outside of OTs and getting through to the backfield to run down ball carriers. Has the natural speed to play casually and run down players in space, / can pass set tod cover TEs with ease.

But he can get lazy at times (over-relying on his speed). Struggles when rushing the passer and looks stunned when an offensive lineman gets his hands on him. Once blocked, he usually stays that way. Must come forward and deliver the blow first himself.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Above-average diagnostic skills. Quickly finds and reacts to the ball. Did not see many false steps.. Generally is disciplined with runs-fits and makes plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Quick recognition for screens and draws.

Just average taking on blocks. Must develop more core strength but has the frame to add bulk. Good at absorbing and slipping blocks /flashes a violent strike when staying low. Hands are active but needs work with technique when locked in a phone booth.

A gifted athlete and easy mover for his size. Quickly transitions when changing direction and moves well laterally. Consistently a factor vs. runs outside of the tackle box. Good at avoiding contact through traffic. Above-average closing burst in pursuit.

Solid tackler but has room for improvement. Good at wrapping up and getting ball carriers off their feet when in position. Angles are sound but he can come in too hot and whiff on tacklers in the open field. Not a run-through or heavy hitter but does seem able to strike.

Athleticism and movement skills provide him with a wide range in underneath zone coverage. Good awareness and can be relied upon to match up in man coverage with most TEs and RBs in man coverage. Not much of blitzer / lacks power to run through blocks. Does have the closing burst to secure sack when he has a clear run at the Q.

Sean Spence 5113  231  Miami (FL) (Arm: 31½)

Combine: Forty: 4.71 | BP: 12 |

BRS (Gollin) - 12 reps in bench press not impressive.

Pro Football Draft Guide – Ranging WILL with improving instincts. Undersized but instinctive. Reacts quickly. Asset on passing downs. Doesn’t pack much power as a tackler.

From -  Although undersized, he makes up for this deficiency through speed, instincts and overall athletic ability. A great defender vs. outside runs - could effortlessly run down his conferences fastest players. Stellar in coverage, can blanket TEs and tackle from various angles. Decisive. Spence will be defined by his ability to play free and get off blocks to make plays on the ball. Suspended (booster scandal) but, there is little doubt of his true character and his overall athleticism and production.  Look for him to be taken in the mid-rounds, but an impressive combine showing could certainly bode well for him.

Athletic in everything he does. Can quickly diagnose a play and use explosive hips to deliver a blow to RB’s.. Has fluid hips in coverage and uses his arm strength to shed blockers when he gets engulfed by bigger players. An experienced starter and this should allow him to play fast and instinctually from early on at the next level. Can fit in a 4-3 scheme where he is playing freely and flowing to the ball. Active and almost always involved on run plays. But he is undersized and needs to play free of big blockers to be productive. He can flow to plays but will sometimes "ride the pole" and fall off tackle.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Clearly does his work in the film room and applies it to the field. Upper echelon recognition skills. Reads keys and reacts quickly. Good natural instincts but also remains disciplined and works within the scheme. Does not take many false steps. Rarely bites on play-action and shows good awareness in coverage. Knows how to read QBs eyes in zone and has a knack for reading routes when working one-on-one.

Biggest challenge will be overcoming lack of size and strength. (Can be engulfed too easily when reached by blockers). Not a good phone booth linebacker. Struggles to disengage once reached. Can take on blocks with both shoulders but needs to become more consistent with his technique (frequently engages with incorrect shoulder). Tough for his size and not afraid to mix it up with bigger OL between the tackles. "

Diagnoses plays faster than most college LBs with good initial burst. Quick feet and great COD skills for a LB. Top-end speed is above average / good closing burst to the ballcarrier. Generally takes good angles in pursuit.

Tackling skills are adequate but not great. Good initial pop for his size / can separate ball from ball carrier. Appears to have short arms and falls off too many attempted tackles. Lack of size doesn't help him as a tackler either. Frequently caught attempting to disengage from blockers in tight quarters, which prevents him from fully wrapping up as a tackler. Rarely able to drive through initial contact and bury the ball carrier.

One of the better cover linebackers in college football. Very good awareness. Diagnoses pass quickly and rarely takes false steps versus play-action. Quick feet and above average fluidity in hips. Great depth in his drops. Very good at sniffing out screens and draws. Struggles to get off of blocks when reached as a blitzer but shows some quickness and instincts when turned loose. (Side note: He has the quickness, awareness and temperament to contribute as a sub-package LB on obvious passing downs, as well as on special teams player).

Bruce Irvin 6030  245  West Virginia (Arm: 33¼)

Combine: Forty: 4.50 | BP: 23 |

Pro Day — Irvin had a very good workout. He had great explosion off the ball. He was worked out as both a pass-rusher — which is probably where he’ll be most likely to succeed in the NFL — and as a linebacker.

BRS (Gollin) – Pass rushing role player. If Cards are willing to use up a roster spot on a guy who can get the job done and fill the pressing need for a sack-meister, Irvin might be an intriguing mid-round option.

Pro Football Draft Guide – Raw and one-dimensional – projects as a situational pass rusher. Long, athletic, pass-rushing OLB with a great motor. Quick off the edge and can turn the corner.

From -  Athletic ability is as unique as his path to the NFL. An electrifying pass rusher who will fit as either a specialist DE or an OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Uses a flurry of moves and an uncanny athletic ability to maneuver his undersized frame around and through offensive linemen to produce massive sack-production in his limited time at West Virginia. Should still be selected within the first two rounds of the draft by a team looking for a boost in their ability to get to the quarterback.

Has an array of moves he uses when working the outside on an OT. Can use an explosive plant and drive that allows him to get up under the chin of a tackle and disengage quickly to gain separation, or simply use his short area burst to dip and run around a blocker. Stellar outside run-defender who rarely lets plays get outside of him (even though he struggles to hold an edge at POA). Athletic ability allows him to be a read-and-react player yet still be effective in the run game. Can keep his balance even when shocked by much bigger linemen and is a reliable tackler when he gets to the ball. Would be an ideal option at outside backer in a 3-4 where he can focus solely on rushing the passer.

Although he was effective as a run defender in his senior year, prior to that, he struggled to stay on the field on non-passing downs. Inexperienced as a three-down defender/ it remains to be seen if he can be a reliable option defending the run. Surprisingly, he struggles when covering TEs one on one, Had been widely considered a pass rush only option for the WV defense.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Keeps head up and tracks the quarterback when rushing the passer. Didn't have any other responsibilities other than getting to the quarterback last year. Limited role raises too many concerns at this point.

Pass rush specialist with limited experience defending the run. Plays a little too upright. Lower body strength  just average/size raises concerns about his ability to hold ground in the NFL. But is able to set the edge working against tight ends. Has enough upper body strength to get off blocks once learns to use hands more effectively. "

Above average range / capable of chasing down most backs but has limited experience in this area.

Can deliver the big hit when he gets to the quarterback. Can drag quarterbacks to the ground with one arm.

Can get to the quarterback with second effort but is still learning how to use hands /struggleds to counter when he doesn't win with first move. Relies too much on speed and takes wider-than-necessary angle to the quarterback, but he has all of the tools to develop into an elite pass rusher. Quick enough to beat tackles to the corner and flexible enough to bend back inside once he gets under theOT’s outside shoulder. Long arms to keep blockers off frame and agile enough to redirect inside after starting outside. Above average balance /tough to knock off course. Above-average speed-to-power moves. Elite closing speed when gets a clear path to the quarterback. Haven't seen him drop into coverage during evaluation but he appears more than athletic and long enough to hold up in underneath zone coverage.

Demario Davis 6020 235   Arkansas St (Arm: 32)
Combine: Forty: 4.61 | BP: 19 |

Pro Day - Davis made quite the impression with his workout. He tested well, running a 4.56-second 40-yard dash and posting a 38 1/2-inch vertical leap. He looked very fluid in his position drills, and was good when forced to drop into space as well as when catching the ball. He has a chance to be a mid-round draft pick.

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Physical backer who does a nice job of fighting off and through blocks to make plays in the backfield. Violent as a tackler.  On the small side. Projects as a 4-3 SAM.

From -  A big linebacker who can run (speed is by far and away his best asset). Might run in the 4.5s before the draft, and that kind of speed is hard to ignore. Has fifth-round value to a team needing a guy who can run down plays and be effective against both the pass and run. Can be an awesome special teams candidate early on.

Has a burst in short areas to move to the ball immediately off the snap, and can run down almost any back to meet him outside the tackles. Chases hard and fast every play, and would be an excellent 4-3 OLB option where he could play free and really contain the run from sideline to sideline. A good tackler once there with that obvious explosion to drive through his hips and really deliver a blow on a ball carrier.

But he needs to gather better when running down plays from the inside-out. So fast that he can overrun his target at times Could have a tough time gathering to make a secure tackle on one-cut runners. Athletic ability really doesn't translate to pass defense - he can look awkward and out of place at times when playing zone. Must better diagnose plays and could struggle against faster offenses

Nigel Bradham 6017 241  Florida State (Arm: 33¾)

Combine: Forty:  4.64 | BP: 24 |

Pro Day — Bradham looked good in position drills.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "Is yoked up and pretty-looking, but he is a straight line guy. He makes no plays unless they are in front of him. He'll struggle to process (the game) as a linebacker. He might be a good special teamer."

Pro Football  Draft Guide – Big  LB with a non-stop motor and good range. Somewhat straight-line. Struggles to shed blocks. Will overrun plays/struggles in coverage.

From -  A physically imposing and a strong player and feared tackler who will bring a physical presence to the NFL and make big plays early on in special teams. Has speed, but has struggled to find the field at times and figures to be a project at the next level. Either way, teams will love his special teams ability early on.

A very physical and reliable tackler working from his outside linebacker position. Can jolt an OL and get outside to make plays and tackle RBs. Quick to react to the outside run, chasing it down from the inside-out. A reliable jump-and-dive tackler who excels pursuing the ball in the open field. Also an effective blitzer and just as able to defend runs between the tackles. Can sink his hips and fit on running backs.

But he can be slow to recognize plays and get either into his pass drop or come up to make the play. Was athletic enough to recover from this hesitation but will have to become a more instinctual player at the next level.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Knows his assignments and plays with adequate-to-good discipline. Diagnoses run/pass early and does not take many false steps. At his best when protected and able to keep head on a swivel in space. Vs. the run, he usually gets in good early positioning but does not show natural instincts when asked to stack-and-shed blockers. Loses site of the ball carrier in traffic too often. Adequate awareness in coverage but seems to lack elite playmaking instincts."

Stronger upper body than lower body. Must improve lower-body strength in order to anchor better. Usually uses the proper shoulder and has adequate initial pop at the POA. Generally gets into good position and maintains gap discipline but must do a better job of stacking and shedding. Must to learn how to give up some leverage in order to disengage quickly enough to still make the tackle. Gets washed out of too many plays too easily.

Good range. Impressive lateral agility and quick feet for the position. Capable of making plays from sideline-to-sideline when protected. Adept at scraping down the line and sifting through traffic. Closes quickly and typically takes good pursuit angles.

Closes quickly and generates short-area power. Generally does a solid job of wrapping up in space but falls off too many tackles in tight quarters. Bad habit of leaving his feet and attempting to arm-tackle ball carriers.

Good athletic ability and speed. Plenty of upside. Gets above average depth on zone drops. Can change directions quickly. Makes up ground when the ball is in the air. Instincts and awareness in coverage are adequate but could improve. Diagnoses play-action relatively quickly with very good range in coverage but he not a natural playmaker when the ball is in the air. Good initial quickness, body control and closing burst when turned loose on the blitz.

Kyle Wilber 6036   249 Wake Forest  (Arm: 33¼)

Combine: Forty: 4.86  | BP: 25 |

Pro Day - Ran the 40 in 4.70 and 4.64 seconds. Posted a 33 1/2-inch vertical, a 10-foot broad jump, 4.43-second shuttle and 7.8-second three-cone.

PFW Scout's Candid Comments - "He is not a butt-kicker. His game is more about finesse. But you have to give him credit for his athletic ability. They run a 3-4 defense, and he plays a majority of the time standing up. He is more physical than he gets credit for.  He's just not imposing."

Pro Football  Draft Guide – College DE but showed some ability to drop into coverage. Doesn’t play with a lot of violence. High football IQ/will go hard on every play. Not elite as a pass rusher.

From -  Big, athletic and strong / looks the part of a pro defender and could contribute early for an NFL team. A poor man's Aaron Curry. A high-energy, high-motor player. Look for a team needing linebacker depth and special teams help to select him in the late rounds and potentially develop him into a starter.

Fast / can move quickly once he deciphers a play. Very quick twitched and efficient in his movements /uses his footwork and agility well to stay off blocks on the second level. Doesn't have a ton of strength, but he hits his gaps hard and can really pack a punch at the LOS. Better against the run than he is against the pass, but he can play over the TE well enough to disrupt him early. Has good technique both in his footwork and tackling form.

Athletic, but struggles in space against the run. A bit of an awkward pass drop / flexibility is an issue. A much better player against outside runs than inside/ has a tough time using his hands to disengage from blockers.

ESPN (Scouts Inc.) - Overall instincts are solid. Plays with his eyes and makes a quick diagnosis and reaction to the ball. Good field awareness with a natural feel for situations. Good discipline against play action - can sniff out screens. Experience dropping into coverage but will need coaching and to develop angles and route recognition in his drops.

Tough / does not back down from challenges. Quick hands / can lock out blockers with his arms. But must get stronger in the upper body. Did not see any quick-twitched explosive POA skills on tape. Can get engulfed by bigger and more massive offensive lineman when caught in a phone booth. "

Overall range is solid for size. Adequate lateral agility and COD skills. Closing burst is above-average / can work down the line of scrimmage and make plays from the backside. Good at wading through traffic in pursuit.

Long arms give him a wide range as a tackler. Fundamentally sound / wraps up upon contact. Delivers heavy hit but lacks explosive striking ability. Will have some limitations against quicker and more elusive runners one-on-one in space.

"Best attribute on 3rd downs will be as a pass rusher. Ample experience playing with his hand in the dirt / natural pass rushing ability. Above-average initial get-off /can bend the edge and shave the corner. Wide variety of pass rushing moves including an effective inside swim move. Uses hands well as a counter puncher. Must develop more finishing power ( by adding more bulk and work in the weight room). Experience dropping into coverage / can hold up in underneath coverage. But lacks elite fluidity and will have limitations if matched up in man coverage.

 Paul Vassallo   UA    6025   240
Pro Day: Forty: 4.86 | Ten: 1.63 | Twenty: 2.80 |  BP: 16 | VJ: 32 | BJ: 8-11 | Sh Sh: 4.18 | 3C: | 7.10

BRS (Gollin) - Nice size for an OLB, but the 4.87 forty time is not cool. Mitch might be right - better as a SILB.

Walter Mitchell (posting on ASFN) -
2010 stats: 102 t, 8 tfl, 2 sacks, 2 pbu, 1 ff. Runs a 4.76...holds up well physically---could surprise inside at SILB. - Draft Scout Snapshot: 2010: Honorable mention All-Pac-10... led the squad with 102 tackles … also had eight TFL, two sacks, two PBUs and a forced fumble... Season-high 14 hits against Washington to earn Pac-10 Defensive POW honor... Enrolled at Arizona in January 2010. JUCO: Played at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif... Recorded 87 tackles and 14 1/2 sacks and forcing five fumbles in his first season in 2008, All-Valley Conference first-team honors and all-California juco honors... Had three-sack game to earn J.C.Gridwire northern California player of the week honor in Sept. 2008… SuperPrep Juco 100... 2009 JCFootball preseason juco All-America, but missed seven games after a concussion, playing in four games and netting 16 tackles. 2007: Redshirted at Nevada. - Positives: Tough, run-stuffing linebacker who's a two-down defender. Gives effort, works hard to make plays and takes good angles to the action. Stays with assignments and anticipates plays.

Negatives: Marginal speed and range. Struggles in pursuit and cannot get out to the sidelines or cut off corners. Struggles covering tight ends down the field.

Analysis: Vassallo has been a stout run defender the past two years and could be a backup on the inside of a 3-4 alignment if he proves his worth on special teams.
 Marcus McGraw    5-11   215    Houston
Pro Day - Forty: 4.75 | Ten: 1.65 | Twenty:2.72  | BP: 22  | VJ: 31 | BJ: 9-1 | Sh Sh: 4.39 | 3C: 7.08 |

BRS (Gollin) - Small size has to be major concern, but f productivity means something, he's worth bringing in. Perhaps Horton can carve out a limited role for McGraw as an in the box SS on running downs (but that would depend on whether he can play faster than 4.75 speed).

Walter Mitchell (posting on ASFN) -
Leader of the Houston defense. 2nd Team All-USA Conf. 500 career tackles (I think it's the Houston record). 2011: 131 t, 13.5 tfl. This kid will impress you---he's tough and instinctive---but lacks the size you want in the NFL. He could make things interesting especially if he plays light-out on STs. -

- Has been selected 2011 All-Conference USA Second Team... McGraw led Houston for a fourth consecutive year in tackles, recording 131 stops and 13.5 tackles for loss in 13 games. McGraw (500 career tackles) is the UH career leader in assisted tackles and needs eight tackles in the TicketCity Bowl to surpass Ryan McCoy (1990-93) as the school's all-time leader for total tackles. - Houston football
12/03/11 - Driving force behind the improved Houston defense down the stretch of this season, Enters the Dec. 3 C-USA championship game vs. Southern Miss with 489 career tackles. That is 18 tackles behind Ryan McCoy's 507 career tackles, the current school record, which was set from 1990-1993. - The Sports Xchange
11/28/11 - Racked up 15 tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss to lead a defensive unit that posted a strong effort in No. 7 Houston's 48-16 victory at Tulsa. McGraw was all over the field in limiting Tulsa's potent offensive attack to just 337 total yards. The Arlington, Texas, native made solo stops on 12 of his 15 tackles to push his season total to a team-leading 120 stops. McGraw also pushed his career total to 489 tackles, which ranks second in school history and is only 19 shy of the all-time mark. - Conference USA football - Positives: Small yet fierce linebacker who flies around the field attempting to make positive plays. Remains disciplined with assignments, effective making plays in space and shows a burst of speed. Explodes to the action, quickly changes direction and fluid getting out to the flanks in pursuit. Fires between the gaps of the offensive line to defend the run and scrapes well laterally. Relatively effective in coverage.

Negatives: Easily blocked from the play and gets caught up in the trash. Not a strong tackler and often needs to drag ballcarriers to the ground.

Analysis: McGraw is rarely mentioned in scouting circles, but he's a legitimate one-gap linebacker who would be effective in a system that allows him to chase down ballcarriers. Size is a limiting factor, but he offers potential as a nickel linebacker who can be placed on the field during third-and-long situations.


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