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2011 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College

Since we have already talked about Boston College outside linebacker Mark Herzlich today, it makes sense to have him as the subject of our 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile for today.

Obviously, almost everyone here agrees that we would like to see the Giants try to upgrade the outside linebacker position. Is Herzlich the guy to do it? I don't know, none of us do. The Boston College connection and the Herzlich story, beating cancer and possibly at this point being a guy who may slide some in the draft and wind up being a low-risk, high-upside guy later in the draft, might make him the kind of player GM Jerry Reese would be interested in on draft day.

Scouting reports after the jump.

Mark Herzlich
OLB, Boston College (Sr.)
6-foot-2, 238 pounds
Projection: Round 2 or 3

From Draft Countdown:

- Good size with a rangy frame, long arms and big hands
- Athletic with fine speed, quickness and a burst
- Very instinctive with a high football IQ
- Has a non-stop motor and does a great job in pursuit
- Covers a lot of ground sideline-to-sideline
- Excels as a pass rusher and blitzer
- Able to take on blockers and then disengage
- Nice ball skills and more than holds his own in coverage
- Has displayed a knack for making the big play
- Fiery, intense and is extremely competitive
- Super tough and has a fantastic work ethic

- Durability and long-term health are major concerns
- Needs to hit the weight room and get stronger
- Struggles in space and will miss some tackles
- Marginal agility and change of direction skills

Ultimate grade will be dependent upon medical exams conducted at the Scouting Combine and the opinions of team doctors concerning the risks involved with investing a premium draft choice on this prospect considering his medical history could vary widely --- May slip a bit on Draft Day if teams aren't completely comfortable with his health situation but could turn out to be a steal if he returns to the form he displayed back in 2008 --- The type of quality player and person all good teams need --- Possesses the physical tools and intangibles to stick in the NFL for a long time.

From Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Plays with fire and intensity, a natural leader at the linebacker position who embraces that role... Has ideal frame to play inside in 4-3 scheme, but in athletic enough to drop into zone coverage and make plays in a 3-4... Loves to hit, never shies away from contact, forced seven fumbles in four years at Boston College... Fearless and very instinctual on the field, generally stays with gap assignments and isn't often fooled by misdirection plays... Does not give up on plays, always wants to make the tackle.

Negatives: Tends to tackle too high, needs to lower pad level when making hits near line of scrimmage... Does not drive feet particularly well when tackling, uses upper-body strength to wrestle opponents to the ground instead of driving through with legs... Has decent speed, but not as quick as top players at the position... Does not have a big arsenal of pass-rushing moves, mostly relies on upper-body strength to shed blockers instead of utilizing spin and rip moves to disengage... Is able to run with most TEs in college, but may have difficulty keeping up with NFL TEs, is probably best suited in zone coverage.

-- SB Nation's Mocking The Draft also has a report on Herzlich today.