2016 NFL Draft Denver Broncos Scheme related positional review: ILB


2016 NFL Draft ILB class evaluation:

Worst positional talent group of this year until the middle rounds where some very good developmental prospects will be available. Between 4th and 6th rounds there will be opportunity to land a very good future starter that will compete in special team plays for a year or even two but then could be ready to take over the starting job and perform very well.

What the Broncos look for:

Quickness, instincts, tackling, physicality, speed, hungriness.

Type of player the Broncos look for:

3 downs LB with speed and quickness. Size is a plus, sure tackling should be an asset.

Best prospects related to team scheme and required skills

  1. Jatavis Brown (Akron, Sr, 5’11’’, 221 lbs): Best prospect related to scheme and skills required.
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
4th – 5th 5th

General Overview: really good instinct and speed. Has also some quickness and hit hard. Looks to be a very solid tackler. Undersized but try to make up to that with huge effort and awareness. Makes tons of plays against the run and as shot man on the field. Didn’t face top talent. Doesn’t show up very good in coverage.

My Broncos Evaluation: I like a lot his game against the run, but has some good holes to cover in the passing game. But still I like his quickness and his suddenness against the run and in the pass rush as blitzer, remain to be seen if he could develop in the pass coverage that is a must for a Bronco 3-4 ILB.

  1. Elandon Roberts (Houston, Sr, 5’11”, 233 lbs): Second best prospect related to scheme and skills required.
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th – CFA 7th

General Overview: aggressive player that has some instinct. Overrun the play at times and has not a great closure speed. Will need to become stronger and more powerful in order to face NFL Olinemen against the run. Has some quickness in the north-south play. Needs to take better angles at tackling. No real evidence of coverage skills.

My Broncos Evaluation: I kind of like what I saw on his videos. He’s aggressive and when with motor on, he really looks disruptive. Didn’t face the best competition but made plays in important moments. He’s not the most athletic prospect but in this LB class he shows more instincts than most. I like the sense of urgency I saw in his videos. I think that regardless of his size, he could be draftable, given the lack of quality of this LB class.

  1. De’Vondre Campbell (Minnesota, rSr, 6’4”, 234 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
5th – 6th 5th

General Overview: great size and very good athleticism for a 6’4” guy. Has some speed and quickness, not elite but has some. He’s able to take good angles at tackling and has good awareness. Could be more physical, using his size, but he’s lean and tall and that does not help him. Could be more aggressive too, but to a certain degree that is due to coaching and game plan. Shows some good instinct and strength. Has some lateral movement also.

My Broncos Evaluation: has some good experience playing in special teams too, where he showcases his pure speed. I like his size, his instincts and the athletic skills for a guy of his size. Has quite acceptable tackling technique by NFL standards, could get better and will, what bothers me a bit by a Broncos point of view is that he was not as dominant physically as he could be whit these athletic skills and size. This is the reason why I have a middle round pick on him and not a 2nd or third. I still like a lot what I saw, I think that the Broncos could and should be interested, barring character concern that I’m not aware off, and he could be a great addition to the LB group.

  1. Antwione Williams (Georgia SouthernSr, 6’3”, 247 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th 6th – 7th

General Overview: great size, has some explosion and instincts playing against the run. Has some good tackling technique and plays very aggressive and physical. Played at Georgia Southern and faced high level of competition sparingly but was super productive. NO real evidence of his pass coverage skills.

My Broncos Evaluation: I think he could be a two downs linebacker in the NFL. He has really great size and looks fluid in his movement and hits hard. Plays well against the run. I think the Broncos might get a look at him if they are interested in draft a two downs LB.

  1. Terrance Smith (Florida State, rSr, 6’3”, 219 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th – CFA 6th – 7th

General Overview: interesting prospect that lacks elite athleticism but plays aggressive and likes to hit. Has some coverage skills and has instinct to locate the ball and run towards it. What I like is that he’s able to go for the turnover and not just only the tackle. Also experience in special teams that could help him getting drafted or at least impress in training cam

My Broncos Evaluation: Maybe his potential is limited, but he plays with the nasty streak that the Broncos wants to have on defense and looks for creating turnover more than the plastic tackle. Has to get better overall and adapt to the speed and power of the NFL offenses but could stick around and make the team. Has instinct that is what it matters and has great size for a 3-4 ILB.

  1. TT. Barber (Middle Tennessee, Sr, 6’1”, 230 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th – CFA 6th – 7th

General Overview: dropped in coverage a lot in a zone defense scheme. Lacks explosion to the ball but is solid and hits hard the ball carrier. Has some instinct. Physically he’s thick and well built with some room to gain more lower body power that could give him a bit more of explosion. He looks to me to be able to run around the field and has a good tackle technique.

My Broncos Evaluation: I know he played at a lower level of competition but fared really well there. To me he looks like a developmental player that could be a 3 downs player on the Broncos 3-4 scheme. I like a lot what he could bring and a lower round pick could be really spent on him.

  1. Jared Norris (Utah, rSr, 6’1”, 239 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
6th 6th

General Overview : dynamic player that plays with urgency. Has to get a much better tackling technique and better functional strength to be able to play with his aggressive and nasty way in the NFL. No real evidence in coverage skills, so is to assume that these skills will have to be developed. Lacks elite athleticism but looks to be a football player.

My Broncos Evaluation: I think he is a god prospect for the Broncos because of his aggressiveness and his playing with a sense of urgency. The tackling issue is there but a 6th round is doable. He might become, after one year of special teams, a solid and then good starter in the 3-4 playing 2 downs as a rookie after a first full training camp so that next year they could evaluate his progresses. A lot of upside and no downside.

  1. Reggie Northrup (Florida State, Sr, 6’0”, 231 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th – CFA 7th – CFA

General Overview: smaller size of LB that plays physically and is really aggressive. Has a ton of assisted tackles. Has some interesting quickness and hits hard. Plays quite well against the run, both inside or outside the box, accelerating into tackling the ball carrier. Will need to become stronger, did a lot of tackles helping his arms with his body, thing that just would not happen in the NFL.

My Broncos Evaluation: he’s a two downs LB with average or below average size that plays hard and has explosiveness and quickness. Lacks pure speed and the short area quickness to become a complete LB and play coverage. I do like what I saw from him. He had ACL injury at the end of 2014 season but came back and become the leading tackler for the second time in two years for Florida State. All his assisted tackles are a good indicator that he plays always until the whistle and is looking for creating turnovers. I think that the Broncos could be really interested because his style of play, but I don’t know about his knee situation and it’s not to be forgot that he won’t play passing downs if he won’t get better in coverage. He could need one year or two of development but under the right coaching I think he could become a good and effective player in the NFL.

  1. Zeek Bigger (East Carolina, rSr, 6’1’’, 231 lbs):
Projected Round My Broncos Big board
7th – CFA 7th – CFA

General Overview: aggressive undersized LB that has some speed and instincts. Plays well against the run although he’ll have to become more powerful especially in his lower body. Has good change of direction in open field, has some pass coverage skills but is still really raw. Played against lower level of competition and didn’t put up huge numbers.

My Broncos Evaluation: I like what I saw on his video and under the Broncos point of view he has speed, can run side to side a bit, has some athletic skills even not being the best athletic in the draft, plays hard and physical. He’s raw, needs to learn how to cover in the NFL and will have to become stronger and more powerful. Still a late round pick could be enough to assure him coming to training camp and allowing the coaching staff to see if and how much he could still develop.

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