After addressing a number of relatively highly-rated prospects over the past few weeks, we have been trying to dig into players who are more likely to get selected on days 2 or 3 of the 2014 NFL Draft. Today, we break down linebacker Shayne Skov from Stanford.
Skov... that sounds far too much like Skol, he's not from Minnesota right?
Fortunately he is not (no offense to Packers fans from Minnesota, you guys are alright). Shayne Skov hails from Pawling, New York, having attended Trinity-Pawling High School. Skov committed to Stanford in 2009 and started seven games his freshman year at outside linebacker. By his Sophomore year, Skov was a full time starter, accumulating 84 tackles (10 for a loss), 7.5 sacks(!!!), two forced fumbles, and a five pass defenses. In a tragic turn of events, Skov lost most of his Junior season when he suffered an ACL tear (yikes) in week 3, but was able to obtain a medical redshirt. Skov returned for his redshirt Junior year to post 81 tackles (9 for a loss) and 2.5 sacks, clearly lacking a bit of the explosiveness he previously possessed. In his redshirt senior year, Skov bounced back to post 109 tackles (13 for a loss) and 5.5 sacks. Skov played outside linebacker at Stanford in a 4-3 defense and would likely slide to inside linebacker in a 3-4.
More injured players. PEACHY! At least he's productive. Measureables?
Shayne stands at a solid 6'2 and 245lbs. Skov did not participate in any testing at the combine but did take part in Stanford's pro day. At the pro day, Skov ran a slow 5.09 forty with a 1.72 10-yard split. He also posted a 31 inch vertical, 9'5" broad jump, and 28 bench press reps.
5.09?! Holy cow!
Yeah, his 40 time isn't the greatest you're going to see, but straight-line speed is only so important for an inside linebacker and good instincts and a high motor can make up for being a bit slow. Those qualities are precisely what makes Skov fun to watch on film. Though he isn't the cream of the crop athletically, he seems much quicker and more athletic than he actually is because he's playing all-out all the time, doing everything with a sense of urgency. Skov combines his intense play with a nose for the football and the ability to quickly diagnose running lanes and blocking schemes which add up to an above average run defender.
Skov is also a good tackler in most instances, staying low, firing through the opponent's hips and wrapping up. The exception to this is his tackling on the parameter or open spaces where Skov has a bad tendency to leave his feet and lunge when he tackles, usually because he couldn't react and/or change directions quickly enough to keep up with the movement of ball carrier. Aside from some troubles tackling in space, the knock on Skov in run defense are that he does have a tendency to get swallowed up by linemen reaching the second level. This isn't to say that Skov can't disengage from lineman, he just isn't as consistent at it as some linebackers.
Where Skov really truly shines is as an inside blitzer. Skov has remarkable anticipation of the snap and got several pressures and sacks on his ability to time the snap alone. Skov is also good at getting skinny to slip through lineman and is fully capable of powering through running backs attempting to block him.
Unfortunately, most NFL players have their Achilles heel and for Skov that's his ability in coverage. It's actually a little bit deceiving when you watch Skov on film; you would get the impression that he's actually quite good in coverage. When he drops back into zone he seems to have a good sense for where opposing receivers are and positions himself accordingly to clog up passing lanes. He also was able to turn and run with most of the tight ends he faced off against in man coverage. Sounds great right? Well, the problem is that Skov looked very tight hipped and also didn't have the greatest change of direction ability. This means that despite the fact that he might have good positioning, he will likely will struggle to keep pace with slot receivers or to turn and run with more athletic tight ends in the NFL. I don't think that Skov will be an utter train wreck in coverage in the NFL, as his instincts and technique are too good for that, but he simply doesn't have the right athletic tool set to escape being below average at it.
What's the verdict?
If I were judging Skov on his tape alone, I would peg him as a high second round player. That said, a player's tape, while certainly the most important element in his evaluation, doesn't exist in a vacuum. The slow 40 yard dash time and ACL injury that he suffered is likely effecting his draft stock and most outlets I looked at pegged him as somewhere between a 3rd and 5th round selection. However, I have a feeling that some team will fall in love with what they see on tape and his productivity enough to take him somewhere in the late second round or very early. Could that team be the Packers?
Bad music, blah blah blah.
Shayne Skov Stanford Highlights (via Harris Highlights)