As we prepare for the draft, we are all looking at players that could potentially be drafted by Green Bay with the 23rd Overall selection of the draft. The 2 popular positions brought up in various blogs including this one calls for the Packers to draft either an Offensive Tackle or an Outside Linebacker. For this fanpost, lets focus on the outside linebacker position. I thought it would be interesting to compare the 3 most popular names that are more likely to be available around our selections. The 3 OLB's I listed are Sergio Kindle from Texas, Jerry Hughes from TCU, and Brandon Graham from Michigan. Although they may have played the DE position in the 4-3, they fit the mold of being successfull 3-4 OLB's.
To make it interesting, I dug out a scouting report of Clay Matthews III from last year so we can compare. What amazed me is that Clay's scouting report from college is virtually identical to how he plays in the NFL. With that in mind, we can have a good idea of how Kindle, Hughes, and Graham may translate into the NFL.
A quick summary of the 3 players are this: Kindle is believed to be the best 3-4 OLB prospect in the draft by popular belief. Hughes is the most explosive off the line and has a motor. Graham plays with power and clearly has the best bull rush. With that said and comparing them to Clay Matthews if you want, who would you prefer if we are to draft an OLB in the 1st Round of the upcoming draft?
USC LB Clay Matthews Scouting Report Height: 6-3, Weight: 240
Strengths: Shows good upper body strength...hard worker with a non stop motor...demonstrates an ability to close when he gets to the QB...pretty good first step...explosive...offers a lot of versatility...sideline to sideline range...exhibits good awareness....smart player who comes from a family of NFL stars...special teams standout...has some upside?...natural pass rusher...
Weaknesses: Probably just an average natural athlete...going to struggle matched up with tight ends as he is stiff through the hips and does not have a lot of experience in space...not much of a threat in coverage...one year wonder...played with great talent at USC and was never asked to be the man....a bit of a tweener...has trouble shedding blocks at times...needs some development
Overall: Son of former
6′2, 248 pounds | Outside linebacker/Defensive end | Texas Christian
Pass rush: Plays two yards deep outside. Very good footwork. Properly adjusts his feet to get around the corner quickly. Pass rush moves are ordinary. Mostly a speed rusher. Never really showed consistently that he was comfortable with his spin move.
Pursuit: The effort Hughes displays is outstanding. He’s a very aggressive player who always plays until the whistle. Has good speed in pursuit. Lateral movement is solid.
Quickness/Explosion: Good first step off the snap. With his hand down, Hughes has as good of a burst off the snap as any pass rusher in the nation. Easily fires past linemen who don’t quickly get into position.
Run defend: At defensive end, Hughes really struggled at times against the run. Tackles could easily lock him up and shut him down. Did a much better job against tight ends and fullbacks, where he could use leverage and disengage. Can be fooled by fakes and misdirection plays.
Size: Has ideal size for a 3-4 outside linebacker but would be considered slightly undersized as an end. Looks to have long arms and is high cut. Not especially tight skinned.
Strength/Ability to shed blocks: Has good functional playing strength for a linebacker. If he wants to stay at end, Hughes will have to get much stronger. He struggles to get of blocks and can be engulfed by linemen.
Tackling: A very good, aggressive tackler. Uses his length nicely as a tackler. Showed he has a nose for the ball by forcing eight fumbles over his final two seasons.
Technique: Stays low to the ground coming around the corner. Shows a good rip move. Needs to use his hands better to stack and shed.
Versatility: Played defensive end exclusively for his first three years. During his senior year, Hughes would often take his hand off the ground and play more of a traditional linebacker. A good 3-4 outside linebacker option who may not be able to play anything else.
Final word: As a pass rusher, Hughes is very good. But he’ll need to do a better job against the run and learn how to drop into coverage. He shows a solid first step, which helped him lead the nation in sacks in 2008. He shows above average lateral quickness, but needs to learn how to shed blocks better.
Ht: 6-1 3/8 | Wt: 268 | Sp: 4.74 | Arm: 32 1/4 | Hand: 9 7/8
Positives: Good upper-body strength. Natural bender with pure pass-rush ability. Rushes with power (strong bull rush), gets underneath blockers’ pads and uses his hands very well to rip off blocks. Has a very quick first two steps. Consistently powers through contact and slip-sheds. Strong physical tackler. Good instincts - feels blocking pressure and has a knack for making plays in the backfield. Very good football temperament - intense, competitive and tenacious. Plays hard and gives consistent effort - motor always runs. Strong tackler. Very productive and opportunistic and stood out at the Senior Bowl. Matched up favorably against better competition. Bench-pressed 225 pounds 31 times at the Combine.
Negatives: Lacks ideal height and arm length - lets blockers into his frame and can be washed by larger offensive linemen. Lacks elite athletic ability, fluidity of movement and closing burst. Can be late off the ball. Is best when assignments are simplified and he can be turned loose to rush the passer. Can do a better job protecting his legs.
Ht: 6-2 7/8 | Wt: 250 | Sp: 4.68 | Arm: 33 1/4 | Hand: 10
Positives: Looks every bit the part with length and pro-ready musculature. Good instincts. Good athletic ability, balance and body control. Strong and powerful. Has explosive edge speed to bend the corner. Rips off blocks and%2
Negatives: Is tightly wound and shows some hip stiffness when moving laterally. Tends to play too upright. Needs to develop a wider array of countermoves. Has some growing up to do, and character will require scrutiny given past incidents involving alcohol. Lacks leadership qualities.