Linebacker Film Notes: Senior Bowl

Audie Cole - North Carolina State

The following notes of note are snippets that were taken at live practices, practice tape and game tape. Ourlads NFL Scouting Services studied over 600 players from seven college all-star games. The Senior Bowl: Audie Cole (North Carolina State) – 6041, 248, hands 10”. Quick initial read and react. Decent change of direction. Reacts well downhill, made some nice run throughs. OK with hands over a tight end but needs overall improvement in this area. Fails to shoot his hands consistently reacting to a block and gets locked up and tall on the blocker. Not explosive attacking a block. Does not protect his legs and will be vulnerable to low blocks. Fits the hole well. Runs well in pursuit and takes good angles. Quick reactions on play side runs, locating the ball quickly. Good pass drops but was inconsistent with depth of drop. Has zone awareness and did a nice job covering the tight end in man. Could react quicker to the thrown ball. Was in position but did not make the play. Athletic for his size. Could project outside as his coverage skills are above average. Needs some work but has good tools. Lavonte David (Nebraska) – 6004, 225. Inconsistent with initial read and react. Flashed great quickness but at times was hesitant and out of position. Could have been due to newness of scheme because he improved as the week went on. Size a mismatch when working over a tight end but he showed he can be physical. Projects to play Will in a 4-3 so his limitations over the tight end should be moot. Good change of direction skills with good instincts to react versus the run. Good fits at the hole. Runs well in pursuit and closed downhill quickly. Tracked well in space and covered a lot of ground in pursuit. Physical for his size, threw his body around and used his hands well attacking blockers in space. Solid in coverage, displaying very good man to man skills as well as zone awareness. Quick reactions on the throw with good range in coverage. Undersized prospect who will be limited in where he can play in the NFL but has good linebacker skills and should make a team and contribute. Cam Johnson (Virginia) – 6036, 267, small hands 8 7/8”, wing span 80 1/ 8”. Worked mostly at defensive end and had little exposure at linebacker. They showed a 3-4 and he stood up and played Sam at times but did not distinguish himself. Showed good pass rush tools and displayed good agility versus the run. Flashes an upfield burst with the ability to redirect and make a play. Sudden stop and start quickness. Will get stuck on blockers when he struggles to disengage. If he gets caught inside he has the knack to spin away from pressure. James-Michael Johnson (Nevada) – 6011, 249. Good initial read but at times reacted deliberately and was late to the play and locating the ball. Powerful attacking blockers, quick with his hands getting through the traffic. Solid tackle to tackle inside linebacker skills showing relatively good instincts and fits at the hole. Very active with a good motor. Hustled in pursuit. He is a little tight hipped, lacking suddenness in his change of direction. Takes good angles reacting play side. He was a little sluggish in coverage taking some false steps reacting on the throw. Struggled in man cover getting lost on quick cuts. Did not demonstrate great range in coverage and pursuit although he was around the ball a lot. He is a classic “thumper” inside linebacker. With the emphasis on pass defense he maybe a two down player.

Bobby Wagner - Utah State

Bobby Wagner (Utah State) – 6002, 241. Sudden read and react. Stood out in tackling drills as he demonstrated classic form. Quick and explosive in reactions at times. Attacked blockers aggressively but at times was covered up and locked out. Tended to get tall on a block after initial contact. Inconsistent using his hands to shed. He is a little mechanical in movements “playing by the numbers” rather than natural instincts. He had good overall technique and showed good toughness. Struggled playing over a tight end where he did not appear natural and his footwork was poor. He played better inside and backed off. Showed good range in pursuit and normally took a good angle to the ball. Decent in coverage, taking good drops and reacting well on the throw. Did a nice job in zone coverage recognizing routes in the short and deep zones. Had his head on a swivel playing the receiver and the quarterback. OK in man cover, staying with the tight end and mirroring backs routes well. Solid in all areas of linebacker play. An inside linebacker prospect that could play outside in some schemes. Voted defensive MVP in game. Outstanding on special teams’ coverage. Emmanuel Acho (Texas) – 6010, 235. Good initial read and react. Very active and aggressive. Demonstrates good agility in traffic and the ability to track moving downhill. Shows good instincts and takes good angles in pursuit. Fits the hole well and did a nice job on backside reactions. Tough to block, good with his hands showing the ability to stun and separate from the blocker. Took an occasional false step and showed some hesitation reacting in coverage. Not sudden in change of direction but shows adequate agility. Man technique in pass coverage was good and took solid pass drops. Reacted quickly to the thrown ball. Question his ability long term as a cover linebacker but is solid against the run. Overall he had a solid week and was around the ball showing good hustle and aggressiveness. Jake Bequette (Arkansas) – 6044, 264. Defensive end convert that looked strong in pass rush drills. Shows natural pass rush ability. Can bend and squeeze to quarterback. Looked awkward in linebacker drills. New to the position. Hesitant in reactions when backed off. At his best over the tight end where he showed good initial punch with his hands and the ability to separate from a blocker. Powerful when attacking a block. Not a sudden change of direction player. Overall a marginal athlete for a linebacker. He runs well in pursuit and showed good fits at the hole and took decent angles to the ball. Straight line runner that did not track well moving downhill. Took an OK pass drop but was late reacting and struggled to cover backs in man pass coverage. He may be limited to a 3-4 outside rush linebacker. Nigel Bradham (Florida State) – 6015, 237, hands 10 3/8”, arms 33 ¼”. Athletic linebacker that shows good agility, quickness, and a burst in pursuit. Some hesitancy in initial read and react. Once he “sees it” he shows a good quick burst to the ball. Adequate fits to the hole and reacts well moving downhill. Good overall shed technique. Uses hands well to shed blocks and reacts well when working off a block. Takes adequate pass drops and has good closing speed in pursuit. Reacts well on the throw. Inconsistent in man cover as he got lost several times on cuts in both drills and team. Shows decent instincts and took good angles in pursuit. Late reacting at times and would get out of position. Looked good in tackling drills and appears to be a solid tackler. Has a burst in pass rush drills but locked up on the blocker at times. Overall he looked good at all three linebacker spots and could play anywhere in a 4-3. Bottom line – an athletic linebacker with decent size. Zach Brown (North Carolina) – 6013, 236. Good initial read and react but will hesitate at times. He has a quick burst when reacting and is very athletic with sudden change of direction. Has some tools you can’t teach. Reacts moving downhill with that quick burst. Tracks well and gets good fits to the hole. Inconsistent using his hands to shed blocks and occasionally knocked off track by not “shooting his hands to work through the traffic.” Good pursuit angles with excellent closing speed. Occasionally will make a bad read that looks like a guess. He is then out of position. He needs to be consistent in his read and trust his ability to react. Stood out in pass rush drills, showing an explosive burst and the ability to close quickly on the quarterback. Takes good pass drops and reacts well on the throw. Excellent range in coverage and has closing speed. Very good man cover skills, has the speed to run with backs and mirrored cuts well. An elite linebacker prospect. Keenan Robinson (Texas) 6031, 240. Above average initial read and react. Pursues well and overall takes good angles. Has decent agility in traffic and space. Plays tall on blocks at times but shows some power getting off a block. Tends to attack blocks without getting good separation with his hands but did not get locked up often. Will need to use his hands better in the NFL. Keeps moving to the ball. Shows good zone awareness in his pass drop and has good range in coverage. Reacts quickly on the throw and has a good feel for route recognition. Always around the ball on pass plays. Good man cover technique for the most part. Struggled with the quick small backs but was solid versus a tight end. Good closing burst in pursuit. Did not always fit the hole play side but was at his best on the backside in pursuit. Good effort player, hustles on the field. Used his hands well when over a tight end in the Under front. Showed good perimeter run defense as he could make plays on the edge. Overall shows good linebacker tools and could project as a 4-3 outside linebacker.

Sean Spence - Miami

Sean Spence (Miami) – 5113, 228. Very good instincts to read and react. Quick downhill reactions with the ability to redirect moving forward. Fluid athlete with good change of direction. Excellent fits at the hole and takes good pursuit angles. Good knee bend when attacking blocks, explosive and quick with his hands and quick to shed. Gets through the traffic extremely well and does a good job avoiding blocks without getting off track. Will under run occasionally and get out of position but normally has a good nose for the ball. Takes open windows quickly when filling. Solid pass defender. Excellent depth of drop with a good feel for zone coverage and route recognition. Quick reactions on the throw with good range in coverage. Excellent in pursuit with good closing speed. Good mirror in man coverage, rarely lost on a cut. Explosive and quick in pass rush drills. Size a limiting factor, has to rely on quickness and technique. Overall an athletic linebacker that makes a lot of plays and is around the ball. Size a major issue when looking at the next level but has good tools and should be a great special teams’ player and cover linebacker.

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