2014 NFL Draft – Prospects scouting – OLB


 

Name Position College Experience Height Weight General Projection My Broncos Grade General scouting notes My Broncos scouting perspective
Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio State Jr 6’1” 237 1st 2nd Speedy LB that is too small to play MLB in the 4-3 defense but looks perfectly built to play 3-4 ILB or WOLB in the 4-3. He’s quick and fast, has good strength but will be asked to bulk up and gain a little extra power. Plays well in the run, excels in blitz and cover well for the collegiate level. In the NFL could have hard time to cover TEs because of his size. Also will have much bigger problems tackling runs inside the tackles again because of his size. He could also be used in the 3-4 OLB. He’s a gifted football player which skills are undeniable but not matched by his size. This in a standard 4-3 defense point of view. There he can only be a WOLB because of his size. He could be used as nickel LB and asked to heavily beef up and see if he can become a reliable MLB or SOLB. But he’s a project there. He could be a very good replacement for Von Miller but, as I mentioned for Barr, without Miller the Broncos more easily would get back at a standard 4-3 defense without jocker SOLB. To me he has 1st round guy skills and is more football ready than Mack and Barr, but his skills-size does translate poorly for the Broncos because Trevathan is actually a really good WOLB and right now much better football player than Shazier. To use a 1st round pick on a multi-year backup WOLB is silly at best. In my opinion he has a 2nd round grade for the Broncos, they could be really interested if he’d be still on the board at the 4th – 5th pick of the second round and could really try to acquire that pick to select him or trade down from the 1st round (that would make a lot more sense) but Shazier project really well for the most of the 3-4 teams. He will be probably gone in the 1st round, before the Broncos will be on the clock.
Kyle Van Noy OLB Brigham Young rSr 6’3” 243 1st – 2nd 2nd 3-4 OLB that could come out of the board earlier that what expected as soon as the end of round one. He has raw athletic abilities has great quickness and speed. Needs to bulk up a bit to gain more power but plays the rush and the run and do not a bad job in coverage. I think he’s one of the most ready 3-4 OLB in the draft class. I have hard time to figure out where the Broncos would play him. He’s a pass reusher, but would need to bulk up a lot and gain a lot of power to play hands down DE. He’s truly agile, quick and fast, he could be a situational pass rusher for the Broncos with no other projection if Denver is planning to keep Von Miller in town. I don’t think he’ll be there at the end of the 2nd round; the only way Denver would get him is with a trade down from the 1st round into the beginning of the 2nd round.
Jeremiah Attaochu DE – OLB Georgia Tech Sr 6’3” 252 2nd 2nd Pass rush specialist, I didn’t see much of dropping in coverage. He’s explosive and fast at the snap. Has great frame and size, he’s fluid running and he’s also powerful. I think some teams could have a 1st round grade on him. From a Broncos point of view he’s a DE. He needs to become a little heavier but he has all the skills to be successful there. He could be a Von Miller type of player in passing game too and could be coached to drop in coverage too since he has the athletic ability to do it, if he’s succeed he could be developed in a 4-3 SOLB too. I don’t know if he’ll be there at the end of the 2nd round, I think that the Broncos could have a high second round on him and could target him if they trade down from the 1st round or if they trade up in the second, which I won’t like that much.
Telvin Smith OLB Florida State Sr 6’3” 218 3rd – 4th 3rd – 4th Tall but undersized coverage LB. He has the body of a DB and the height of a LB. His speed is something in between and is very athletic and rangy. Could play WOLB in 4-3 defense or WILB in the 3-4. Can be used for flashy blitzes. I like a lot his videos; especially the one against Clemson in 2013 is really interesting. He looks heavier than his measurement, plays nasty and is fearless in tackling and in traffic. Will need a bit to get use to NFL speed but if he’s able to catch up he could become an awesome WOLB in the 4.3 scheme Denver uses or also MLB in nickel situations. His weight at the moment is the reason why I have him graded in middle rounds and also the feeling that he has to slide on draft day for Denver be looking at adding depth to OLB.
Christian Kirksey OLB Iowa Sr 6’2” 233 4th 4th – 5th Played WLB at Iowa has good size and is an athletic player. Has quickness and can change direction. Has some range and can cover some. Has some speed too. All in all a interesting prospect for the Broncos because of his skills – size he could be a perfect fit at WOLB and could be asked to bulk up to become an option at SOLB. I’m lowering the stock here only because I think that the Broncos FO will select LBs only if they slide one round or two from where they have graded him.
Carlos Fields Jr. OLB – ILB Winston-Salem rSr 6’1” 238 6th 4th – 5th Nasty player that could play any role at LB both in the 4-3 than in the 3-4. He will have to add weight and bulk up to be an effective tackler in the NFL. He is athletic and explosive. Likes to hit. Still there will probably be some steep learning curve for him adapting from the speed and physicality of the level of competition he faced in college to the NFL. Loves his videos. I think that if coached well (as the Broncos do) he could develop in a really good starter. If he could put some 15 lbs. on and adapt to NFL power and speed, he has the mental traits of the MLB the Broncos want under Del Rio, an all around the field nasty hitter.
Jordan Tripp ILB Montana rSr 6’3” 234 3rd 5th – 6th Linebacker that has speed and instinct. Has a problem with change of directions and lacks elite athleticism. He’s more north – south kind of thumper will be asked to bulk up and be more fluid with his movements. He reminds me a taller version of Joe Mays, he’d be good for a two downs MLN in the 4-3 and the thumper ILB in the 3-4 defense. Will be asked to beef up. I don’t see him as OLB either in 4-3 and 3-4 he lacks athletic skills to play those roles.
Will Smith OLB Texas Tech Sr 6’2” 231 7th 5th – 6th Underrated, he plays really good football, has really good awareness and patience. Stays with his assignment and is able to makes plays. Has good athletic skill really good burst defends really well the run being able to have the shoulders always parallel to the ground having so great balance had really quick change of direction. He looks polished to me and more ready to play in the Pros that numerous more heralded players. Does not show the nasty play but is able to tackle well also in open field. Has some coverage skills too. I like what I saw in his videos, he will have to add weigh and get bigger but he looks to be a side to side LB that is always able to do his job.
Khairi Fortt OLB California rJr 6’2” 242 5th 6th – 7th Quick and fast WOLB in college could project better at MLB in the NFL 3-4 defense. Has really good north – south speed and has really good instinct in the running game. Have some skills in pass coverage too. As I already said I think he should drop a bit for the Broncos being willing to take a WOLB
Brendan Kelly DE – OLB Wisconsin rSr 6’6” 255 CFA 7th Injured. Has incredible size and athleticism. Can play DE or OLB in the 3-4 defense and has experience of dropping in coverage. In the 4-3 he could become a DE or pass rusher OLB. He has power and has some quickness, does look fluid enough dropping in coverage even thought his best is rushing the passer or setting the edge against the outside run. Raw and injured but his size cannot be unnoticed. Del Rio likes big DE that can create pressure in the backfield. I think that the Broncos could use a late round pick on him as they did last year (a 5th rounder) on Quanterrus Smith.
Denicos Allen OLB Michigan State rSr 5’10” 225 6th – 7th CFA High motor, dynamic undersized playmaker that plays really bigger than his size and shows a lot of composure stays with his assignment. He’s quick and has really great body balance that together with some really good speed and more strength that you’d guess from his size helps him to be highly disruptive in the backfield and to tackle well. Not enough evidence of dropping in coverage. I think the Broncos really like his aggressiveness and football knowledge. Still he will face hard development for the NFL since there are a lot of DBs that are bigger than him.
Kevin Pierre-Louis OLB Boston College Sr 6’1” 232 5th – 6th CFA Good athleticism some coverage ability and good enough tackling technique. Lacks elite explosion at the snap and quickness to create havoc in the backfield if asked too. He posted great numbers at the combine (40 yards dash and bench reps) that in his video is hard to see. Will be asked to get bigger and stronger. I didn’t see any evidence of him being better that the LBs already on the Broncos roster and, although he’s 6’1” he is bot bigger that Trevathan, Irving &Co. Still could interest the Broncos for depth if he falls on draft day.
Tyler Starr OLB South Dakota Sr 6’4” 250 7th – CFA CFA Not enough videos on him to evaluate. He had a productive career at South Dakota and has been a star at his level of competition. He was invited to the combine but did not put up impressive numbers. Could interest the Broncos as a developmental pass rushing DE to bring in training camp. He’ll have to add weight and learn to play at NFL speed.
Derrell Johnson OLB East Carolina Sr 6’2” 257 7th – CFA CFA Has good speed and change of direction, Very good athletic skills, though not elite, does a good job with his pad level and can be a destructive force in the backfield. Has good strength but does not have the explosion at the snap or the power to become a constant threat as DE in the 4-3 defense. Maybe better suited at being 3-4 OLB. Could be also employed in the 4-3 as Jocker SOLB a la Von Miller. Denver actually could be interested in bringing him  in training camp to have competition between him and McCray  for the Jocker backup spot in the 53 men roster.
Jonathan Newsome OLB Ball State rSr 6’3” 247 7th – CFA CFA Explosive edge rusher. Has a good frame and could bulk up a bit more to become a NFL 4-3 DE. Has good power and change of direction. Natural instinct to get to the backfield and create havoc and pressure, great speed from the edge where he often beat the T and get to the QB. I see him more suited for a 3-4 defense where he could be a pass rush specialist. For those teams he could be graded as 5th – 6th rounder since there is no evidence of his coverage skills, still he could be a development project for Denver as DE if he slides into CFA and Denver is determined to bring him in Colorado for training camp, because character issue (don’t know about) aside he would have plenty of suitor there.
Shaquil Barrett OLB Colorado State Sr 6’1” 251 CFA CFA More suited for 3-4 defense. Has quickness and speed to become a solid pass rusher in the NFL. Little bit undersized a la Dumervil with less agility and explosiveness. Has big frame and could add some bulk to become more powerful in case selected by a 4-3 team as DE. I think he’ll be more suited by 3-4 defense teams that could select him in the 6th round since his nice development at Colorado State and his very good performance against Alabama in 2013. Still a talent that has grown in Colorado and surely the Broncos has watch carefully if they can add this prospect to the roster and which position he’d play. I guess that the only position would be DE.
Xavius Boyd OLB – ILB Western Kentucky Sr 6’2” 239 CFA CFA Interesting well-built prospect that can play either OLB or ILB. Will have to add weight. Does a good job in run support and have experience dropping in coverage a bit. Not overly fast or explosive but has good awareness. Interesting prospect that could cover both ILB and OLB positions. To be brought in in training camp to evaluate.
Marquis Flowers OLB Arizona Sr 6’3” 231 7th – CFA CFA SOLB in a 4-3 defense. Has good size and will have to bulk up and become more powerful. Not elite explosion or quickness at the scrimmage, some coverage ability. A prospect that Denver could bring to training camp to compete for the SOLB and WOLB depth spot.
Shaun Lewis DE – OLB Oklahoma State Sr 5’11” 226 CFA CFA Undersized, his body reminds me of Dumervil with long legs and arms. He could be developed in a really explosive outside pass rusher. Plus he has experience in dropping in coverage, mostly zone coverage. Interesting as developmental DE – OLB with high pass rushing potential for Denver.
Brandon Watts OLB Georgia Tech rSr 6’2” 225 6th – 7th CFA Was not invited to the combine, had great timing in the 40 yards dash at his pro-day. Not enough videos on him. Del Rio looks for speed and athleticism and this prospect could fit the bill on what Denver is looking to bring for training camp to compete.
Eddie Lackey OLB Baylor Sr 5’10” 216 CFA CFA Undersized linebacker that is just plain andsimple a football player. He hits hard and knows how to make plays. I like his awareness and hi nasty presence on the field. The problem with him is that he’s really undersized, he’s way smaller than CB and S but I guess is not the first time he faces this kind of adversity in this sport. He needs a team that would believe in him developing and bulking for a year or more (1 practice squad year and then backing up and ST).
Dan Hicks OLB Florida State rSr 6’4” 260 CFA CFA Injury history. Has great size and can play DE if developed as well as TE. Interesting blend of size and versatility. Worth a look in training camp.
Anthony Barr OLB UCLA Sr 6’5” 255 1st NO 3-4 OLB pass rush specialist. He’s very athletic and still learning the play defense. You can see him overrun plays in his videos or to be cut off from the play because he still has to recognize the movements and how to place himself on the field. Did a much better job in 2013 than in 2012 dropping in coverage. He has great potential but the team that will draft him will have to be patient and have somebody who Barr could back-up for a year or two. He would be an ideal replacement for Von Miller but think that if the Broncos are to lose Von Miller they would most probably change their defensive scheme and play with a more traditional SOLB. Plus I think that Barr will be selected before the Broncos are on the clock with the 31st pick overall.
Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo rSr 6’3” 251 1st NO Ok, this proves the evidence that I’m an amateur and I have a long way to go on “scouting” players. What I saw on Mack videos (check the one of Baylor especially) is that in the run game he’s a non-factor the most of the times, he’s slow on closing lanes and could be easily cut off by a normal Tackle. In the pass rush he’s more present but I didn’t see anything special, he doesn’t have a Von Miller explosiveness or a D-Ware power. He is pure quickness that in some game it translate to be effective and in others to nothing. He’s very well built and is really Athletic and fluid but he isn’t superfast. He will be selected in the top 10 of the first round based on pure potential. I hope for the kid that the team that is selecting him is willing to coach him a lot.
Jordan Zumwalt OLB UCLA Sr 6’4” 235 3rd – 4th NO Really good size, will need to add weight and become more powerful. Looks like the prototypical 3-4 OLB even if he played snaps as ILB too at UCLA. Has some quickness to play with. Developmental 3-4 OLB.
Prince Shembo DE – OLB Notre Dame Sr 6’1” 253 6th NO Good body balance, a little bit undersized as DE for the NFL, could be more suited for the 3-4 OLB role, looks thick and powerful, has some quickness but lacks explosion at the snap to constantly create havoc in a NFL backfield. Started only the last season at Notre Dame but had great production in therms of TLS, sacks and hurries. e had great production in 2013 when finally he won the starting job. Anyhow has to be taken in account that he was playing alongside Nix and Tuitt that drove a lot of double team blocks. IMO he is undersized at 4-3 DE and does not show the elite quickness or explosion to allow him a pass rusher respect in the NFL. He could become, instead, a really solid 3-4 OLB.
Ronald Powell OLB Florida rJr 6’3” 240 7th – CFA NO Quick defender with good size to become a developmental 3-4 OLB with some burst and quickness to play with. Has two ACL in 2012 but enjoyed a really nice production in 2013. Has the size to put up some weight and become more powerful in the pass rush. He does not shoiw to have the explosion a 4-3 DE need to be a good pass rusher. More suited for 3-4 OLB pass rush specialist.
Devon Kennard OLB Southern California rSr 6’3” 249 5th NO Not many videos on him in internet. He’s an athletic player with a lot of starting experience and with a productive career at USC. Has some real quickness and really good body balance. More suited for the 3-4 OLB role. Does not have enough evidence and experience in dropping in coverage, has not enough strength and power to play DE for the Broncos.
Howard Jones OLB Shepherd rSr 6’3” 235 5th NO A lot of buzz about the potential of this raw athletic 3-4 OLB. In my opinion he’s a project and a long one. He was not dominating at his level, although he has all the physical tool to develop, 3-4 OLB.
Boseko Lokombo OLB Oregon rSr 6’3” 230 CFA NO Injury plagued career at Oregon. Has the trait of a 3-4 OLB that has coverage skills and explosion at the snap. 3-4 OLB.
Carl Bradford OLB Arizona State rJr 6’1” 250 2nd – 3rd NO Undersized D-lineman. He has good quickness and athletic skills. Does a good job occupying the blockers and from time to time to disengage the block to tackle. Particularly good in run stopping and has tools to succeed also in pass rushing. Undersized, better suited for 3-4 OLB if he can learn how to drop in coverage or at 3-4 DE bulking up and becoming more powerful. I don’t think he will fit Denver defensive scheme.
Adrian Hubbard OLB Alabama rJr 6’6” 257 4th – 5th NO Tall linebacker that plays for two years as OLB in Alabama 3-4 defense. He’s athletic but lacks initial burst and explosion. Will be asked to become stronger. Prototypical 3-4 OLB. No fit for Denver scheme id not with a long player development.

 

Prospects that I think would fit perfectly in Broncos schemes:

Carlos Fields Jr. –> special team deamon / 1 year development at MLB;

Brendan Kelly –> 1 year development at DE;

Eddie Lackey –> 1 year development at MLB/OLB.

 

Prospects I like:

Jeremiah Attaochu –> depth at DE / 1 year development at DE;

Telvin Smith –> depth at WOLB / 1 year development at WLB/S;

Will Smith –> special team / depth at OLB / 1 year development at LB;

Khairi Fortt –> special team /depth at OLB / 1 year development at LB.

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