Jonathan Goff did OK at middle linebacker in his first year as a starter in 2010. But, is OK good enough? It wouldn't shock me if the New York Giants give last season's fourth-round pick Phillip Dillard a chance to win the job in 2011. Or, draft someone along the way to add to the competition.
That said, let's use today's 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at a middle linebacker who is a potential late-round selection. The Giants held a private workout with Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent, so we know they were at least curious. That means we should be, too.
Scouting reports after the jump. In all honesty, they don't have much great to say about Dent's NFL future.
6-foot-2, 233 pounds
Projection: Late rounds, UDFA
From National Football Post:
A high cut linebacker with a broad upper and thin lower half. Isn't real physical initially off the snap when asked to play over the tight end in the run game. Gets a bit too upright at the point of attack, loses the leverage battle and can initially be driven off the football vs. the in-line run game. However, exhibits good balance on the move, is sudden on contact and displays a violent set of hands when asked to shed blocks. Does a nice job fighting to string out plays on the perimeter and eventually will work himself free vs. the in-line game. But, most of his tackles still come five-plus yards down the field when run at.
Is stiff in coverage and lacks the ability to quickly redirect/open up his hips and get back up to speed quickly. Isn't real coordinated when asked to press off the line, lacks the lateral agility to slide his feet and get a good punch on tight ends and consistently gives up too much initial separation out of their breaks. Isn't real sharp or explosive when asked to change directions. Is routinely forced to round off his breaks and it takes him awhile to get back up to speed. And even than, lacks the natural range/closing burst to consistently put himself in position to make plays on the football.
Impression: Lacks ideal power vs. the run and fluidity/range vs. the pass. Doesn't look like an NFL draftbale prospect to me.
From Sideline Scouting:
Positives: Extremely productive senior season in 2010, Georgia's leading tackler with 125 tackles while adding 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles... Has a stout frame and a strong lower body... Has a consistent motor, does not give up on plays until after the whistle is blown... Is a very hard worker and good leader, defensive teammates look up to him for his good work ethic and desire to make plays... Stepped up to a challenge from new inside linebacker coach Warren Bellin to be the leading tackler on the team this season, shows willingness to be a coachable player and to get better every year.
Negatives: Not particularly fast... Has some problems eluding blockers and getting through traffic, will get pancaked when eyes are locked in the backfield, does not protect legs very well against cut blocks... Needs to take better angles when moving laterally toward the ball carrier, lack of speed makes taking good angles a necessity... Missed some time prior to the start of the 2010 regular season after undergoing surgery on his foot after an "off-field accident," missed some games in 2009 as well... Not much of a threat in coverage, mostly a run-stopping linebacker, has not recorded a single interception in college... Lacks elite instincts, will get out of position and can be fooled by misdirection plays... Limited upside, is not a complete player at this point.