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NameGradeSchoolHt/Wt/40NotesStats

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1Luke Kuechly6.3Boston College6021/237/4.80Very good in coverage, short steps with WR closing, long when direction is chosen. May not have very good short area quicks to stay with jerk route, needs to be more physical with receivers at second level. Now doubt he could get stronger at POA vs blockers in his path. Often creates/finds his own clear lane to the runner with quick lateral movements, dips. Can get flat footed vs play action passes. When he's comfortable there is little wasted movements, one step reaction. Flashes exactly what you want, either working around OL at 2nd level or extending arms while holding ground and releasing by for stoning tackle. Its certainly possible his best position is WLB in 4-3, stalks and flows in space very well. Needs to unload on contact more, deliver a punch instead of placing. Better in man coverage than underneath zone. Would like him to take more aggressive angles when flowing laterally, meet RB halfway, less open space, would cut down on downfield tackles. Should get more upfield and faster when sealing the edge vs run. Reliable, wrap up tackler that makes most of his plays 3 yards past LOS. Really struggles to set edge point at times, late getting there and won't work over. I don't see special/critical factors that make LB in top 15 worth it. Not outstanding in coverage, - pass rush ability, good athlete, less aggressive angles, not as punishing on contact vs blockers as he should be. Reliable starter from day 1, but not special in terms of total roster.http://bit.ly/HzrZj7

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2Lavonte David6.2Nebraska6004/233/4.62Lined up all over the LB corp, mostly ILB and WLB, consistently covered TE and WR in the slot. Doesn't bite one play action early, holds his ground but decisive after choice is made. Much better in man vs zone underneath coverage, adequate in zone, gets flat footed at times. Outstanding downhill tackler, under control but angles are aggressive, attacks lanes with proper shoulder, can get skinny. Attacks the edge on runs to his side, seals it as quickly as possible. Seamlessly adjusts angle to RB if there is a move in the backfield. Needs to use hands better when blitzing, engulfed by bigger OL but great burst when free to close. Also, great awareness when to leave his zone while spying. May get too aggressive at times vs the run, undercuts too much rather than flowing. May hesitate once in a while to pick up RB in flats. Needs to improve play on the edge, takes edge responsibility but needs to work more through block, can't be content, needs to go beyond his assignment. Played a lot of SLB in '11, not his game, lacks strength at POA compared to others but flashes quite often working through those blocks in clutch situations. Missile from the second level that flashes running through blocks with correct shoulder, Thomas Davis type player. Can get a bit reckless when taking on blocks, too focused on solid contact. Can get pushed down by TE in routes, but draws penalty. Punishing hitter, doesn't miss many, great form. Undercuts poor throws when trailing TEs on crossing routes. Could lose the wasted steps in trash at the second level.http://bit.ly/InzDOx

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3Dont'a Hightower6.1Alabama6033/260/4.78Played all over the defense, 3-4 ILB, LDE in nickel, OLB in 3-4. Won't show off a tremendous burst flowing to the ball but runs through blocks. Moves around at the snap on pass rush situations, beats RB easily with power. Finds blitzing lanes from ILB spot, finds contact through hands and looks to shed immediately. Much better straight line closing burst then flowing laterally. Even covers some RBs in the slot, man to man, is sure to make contact. A little bit of indecision on initial step vs the run, too short, needs to extend. Pass rushes from LDE well, arm over swim vs over extended OL. Always finds first contact through hands but they could jolt more. Hip turn in zone coverage is adequate, won't blow up many underneath catches. I like how his hands are up on 1st contact but wish he would unload more. When asked to fill lane vs FB he's a thumper, but waits at 2nd level other times. Strong vs blocks, may not jolt from the start but holds ground or pushes forward. I think he is more nimble than given credit for. Does lack change of direction fluidity but first step dropping is good. Very thickly built. Questionable hands catching. Doesn't read the backfield outstandingly well, needs to react while reading. May be susceptible to quick twitch RB movements, needs to be less tentative, keep feet moving, anticipate. Benefit from playing behind Chapman? Both can really hold their ground. Actually can beat RT to spot on the edge, aggressive pass rush angles. A truly punishing hitter at times. Not a real technical pass rusher, prefers to keep away from grasp. There are times he stalks RB very well, other times he stands still.http://bit.ly/InQ9Op

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4Mychal Kendricks6.1California5112/240/4.72Outstanding burst when flowing towards ball carrier downhill. . Gets bounced by OL but makes ground back up very quickly. Plays ILB, WLB, DE in 2pt stance, abused Nate Solder. Nice bend on the edge when pass rushing, low center of gravity and gets OL on inside shoulder. Just an absolute missile when blitzing lane opens, engulfed by OL at times if they catch him in the chest. Covers a lot of ground, OL second level blocks are like speed bumps. Often gets skinny to beat straight line blocks vs inside runs or subtle lateral moves or creates just enough separation with hands to release by. Plays at full speed all the time, balanced but explosive and under control. Can sometimes get caught when flowing downhill by catching/waiting interior OL. Punishing hitter at the LOS when he lines up the tackle. Consistently chases downfield. Quite sturdy and strong for a smaller player, stout, low base. May miss a tackle when lining up the big hit. When he gets skinny with short bursts OL have tough time sustaining blocks. Outstanding closing burst.http://bit.ly/HCz8g2

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5Bobby Wagner5.9Utah State6002/241/4.69Lacks fluidity when reading and reacting. Uses length to lockout vs the run but doesn't shed quickly. Doesn't instantly move forward at the snap towards the ball carrier. Tackles high but very hard hitter and wraps up. Fights through trash while going over blocks. Easily overpowers pass pro RBs. Better pass rusher than vs the run? Waits for 2nd level blocks rather than meeting them halfway. Good length but doesn't use it enough to shed and move. Can lose outside contain but length helps slow reaction. Closes with quick burst, especially when pass rushing, tries to swat at QB arm. Doesn't take on blockers with good technique.http://bit.ly/xKKpkA

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6Zach Brown5.8UNC6013/236/4.48Has yet to maximize his physical tools, better athlete than player. Gets lost in no man's land. Nice length but lacks toughness at POA, hands are like pillows on contact. Places instead of delivering a pop. Does not flow well to the ball vs the run, lacks recognition. Played ILB and OLB. Leads with shoulder when filling running lane. Looks tentative, not a plugger or thumper, rarely delivers. Best in coverage, very fluid in space vs TEs and RBs. Flashes poor technique at SLB when attempting to force runs back up the middle. UNC indoor track 60m record at 6.72 in '09. Amazing athlete, poor player.http://bit.ly/xTKCea

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7Josh Kaddu5.7Oregon6026/235/4.67

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8Demario Davis5.6Arkansas State6016/232/4.60Great first step burst, covers ground even on immediate contact at SLB. Very quick feet, uses short steps to change direction, unloads on tackle. Outstanding special teams player, first one downfield on KR. Can get stuck in no man's land at the snap, decision isn't very quick. Takes on blockers inside with poor form, arms down. Really has some closing speed, aggressive when decision is made but a bit reckless at times. Very raw at times, difficulty when disengaging vs latched on OL. Frenetic movements vs shifty backs. At times he is content to take up a blocker and settle for holding that spot. Recklessness leads to missed wrap up tackles, occasionally ducks head. Needs to play with controlled aggressiveness, think through play but keep same reaction burst. Lines up in slot at times, mostly in zone coverage. Downhill missile.http://bit.ly/JfQ6iH

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9Terrell Manning5.5NC State6023/225/4.63Tends to get caught in no man's land too frequently. Predominantly used at OLB, mostly weakside but lots of nickel. Needs to contact receivers downhill more, revert off line. Not very instinctive, takes time to dogest when flowing upfield or dropping in coverage. Wasted steps, prefers to wait at 2nd level for RB. Competent blitzer on the edge, times it well with aggressive angle. Takes on blockers with toughness, but poor form, looks to disengage quickly. Shoots the A gap with burst to penetrate when designed. Lacks lateral acceleration when closing/trailing to beat RB to the point. Frequently outrun to the edge when trailing RBs in backfield on stretch plays. Gets pushed off backside spot by 2nd level OL, opens cutback lane. Lacks anticipation on angles, needs to be outside-in, is run around.http://bit.ly/HW9kut

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10Nigel Bradham5.5Florida State6015/237/4.67Uses hands vs OL/RB but more for placement not physical to shed instantly. Don't see strength when attacking vs the run, catches. Appears hesitant, expecting contact rather than delivering it. Good closing speed in all phases, adeq qks to change direction in backfield. Understands responsibility, attacks outside shoulder on runs to his side, but also drifts away from OL at times on outside runs. Good in coverage, his best asset. Can immediately help in passing situations. Fluid in back pedal and hip turn, especially against RBs, redirects. http://bit.ly/zrL7Qe

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11Keenan Robinson5.4Texas6031/240/4.68Wasted movement in space at 2nd level, does he have burst to close? Takes himself out of plays by flowing too far, overruns lanes and allows one cut cutbacks. If he takes blockers head on with play in front he does adequately. Adequate straight line speed, can usually get to where he needs to be. Extends with blockers at 2nd level but gets too complacent to occupy single block. Makes the completely wrong read at times, heads in wrong direction. Clicks and closes quickly to any pass in front of him in soft zone. Needs a clear pass rushing lane and attacks shoulder in order to be successful. Does not have the quickness to take the aggressive he sometimes does. Has his moments in zone coverage, much less in man, but only adequate overall.http://bit.ly/JEkBl8

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12Travis Lewis5.4Oklahoma6016/228/4.72Played lots of spread offenses, ILB/WLB, +cvg vs slot WR (K.Wright), shadows but not physical/jam. Needs to locate ball sooner. Slow decision vs run, - tech at POA. Gets stuck in no man's land vs run, takes himself out of plays esp vs misdirection. Leads with wrong shoulder, - shed vs big OL, allows OL to grasp. Times blitzes well, inconsistent vs RB blocks. Wrap up tackler, WLB in NFL.http://bit.ly/A6fOgu

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13Sean Spence5.3Miami5113/228/4.58Solid downhill WLB, splits running lanes but has tendency to overrun/get too much penetration, cut back lanes. Loses sight of developing plays in trash, reacts to linemen. Can struggle to locate RB between the tackles. Delivers a pop against OG vs the run but must instantly separate in order to not latch on. Big hitter for his size, especially on outside runs in space, when untouched solid at stalking ball carrier and closing. May need space eating DTs to keep him free. Weaves in and out of lanes. Can get moved away by a single OL block, uses qks/feet to beat blocks rather than strength. Trails TEs/WRs very well in coverage but just too small to cover effectively. Catches OL with bowed arms when pass rushing.http://bit.ly/wufOsm

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14Audie Cole5.3NC State6041/248/4.84Moved from SLB to ILB in '11. Lacks sideline to sideline spd and instincts, not a lateral player. Best work between tackles vs run, forces plays inside if he can't make play. Good form taking on blocks, leads with shoulder, could use hands more. Consistently unable to get outside or to short passes, marginal lateral quicks. Vs outside plays, hesitates on initial step/read. + fills lanes inside, unable to breakdown in backfield. Whiffs on some tackles in space. Attempts to disrupt downfield TEs, limited trailing speed. Fair hip turn, lacks fluidity. + pass rusher, SLB or ILB?http://bit.ly/yOYozF

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15Vontaze Burfict5.2Arizona State6024/250/4.67

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16Tank Carder5.1TCU6022/236/4.67Gets bounced by blockers at 2nd level but flows laterally, stays in rush lane to make tackle. Some wasted steps back and forwards on outside angle, trips in trash. Change of direction quickness is lacking, can flow laterally but not plant and react opposite way. Lateral hop helps switch lanes vs quick RBs, arm bar inside shoulder off block. Some plays he really reads and reacts with good timing and large step forward to close between the tackles. Takes on pulling OL with inside shoulder to force RB inside. Marginal coverage skills in man and zone. Knees buckle at times at POA, also arms are bowed on 1st contact. Fit and press not his specialty, more like swat and rip around. Does recognize draws and screens very well. http://bit.ly/IbdjGd

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17Max Gruder5.1Pittsburgh6011/235/4.72Played WLB at Shrinel after ILB and SLB at Pitt. Marginal reaction after read, hesitates/hops, limited qks. 1st step is forward, can bite on PA. + inside vs outside. - disengage at 2nd lvl, -strength, - length. Fit & press, goes over blocks when flowing. Sure/wrap up tackler at POA. + cvg in flats, understands responsibility. Frenetic movements, adequate hands. No pass rush. http://bit.ly/xzwbPB

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18Tyler Nielsen5.1Iowa6032/235/4.54Takes on blocks with squared shoulders. Instantly jolted back. Flows/follows/stalks until hits blockers, stoned like a brick wall. Stops feet vs RB in pass cvg, loses on quick breaking routes. Only adequate lateral agility, marginal burst from stand still. Lots of difficulties vs OL at 2nd lvl. Attacks blocking WR/TE much differently and much better. Wrap-up tackler, waits at 2nd level instead of meeting at the line. Typical tight LB.http://bit.ly/zzAh9Z

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19Danny Trevathan5.0Kentucky5117/230/4.68WLB. Productive player. - build, - strength vs downfield blocks. - separation/disengage, tackles at 2nd level or chasing. Hesitates on 1st read & flow vs outside runs. Stuck in trash, not full speed downhill. - breakdown on edge/assigfnment. + cvg, qk recognition & fluid. Rides TE down seam, passes off. Sit in cvg assign, + hands on 50/50 balls. + tackler, hits bigger. ST?http://bit.ly/ApDIvX

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20Emmanuel Acho2.0Texas6010/235/4.79

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21Ryan Baker2.0LSU5116/236/4.77

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22Nathan Stupar2.0Penn State6011/234/4.77

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23Brandon Marshall2.0Nevada6012/254/4.76

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