As we continue our 2012 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles series let's add another outside linebacker to the early round mix. Today we look at Miami outside linebacker Sean Spence, projected to be taken somewhere around the late third round.
"An extremely football-smart, interchangeable, three-position linebacker and four-year starter who always could be most ideally suited for a backup role. Could make a living as a core special-teams player. Always will be best if he's protected and free to roam," says Pro Football Weekly.
Wes Bunting of the National Football Post says:
A gifted sideline-to-sideline athlete who can play in space and make plays off his frame. Size is a concern, but looks like a starter in a cover two scheme who can play three downs in the NFL.
Sideline Scouting says:
Positives -- One of the most athletic linebackers in this year's draft class, has fluidity, speed and quickness in nearly every facet of the game... Flies all over the field, plays with intensity and passion for the game, willingness to give effort not an issue. ... ay find best fit as a cover linebacker on passing downs, NFL coaches should be intrigued by coverage ability, could see immediate playing time on passing downs and special teams.
Negatives -- Below average height for an NFL linebacker, is also very thin, definitely needs to bulk up to ensure durability and productivity as an every-down player at the next level... Does not fit the mold of durable NFL linebackers, is more of a tweener prospect, fit and versatility a bit of a question mark, there were some rumblings prior to this season that he may project better as a strong safety at the next level.
Although undersized, he makes up for this deficiency through speed, instincts and overall athletic ability. He is a great defender on outside runs, as he can effortlessly run down the ACC's fastest players. He is stellar in coverage, can blanket tight ends and tackle from various angles. He makes quick decisions and executes on them. While size will be a concern as he enters the NFL, Spence will be defined by his ability to play free and get off blocks to make plays on the ball. While he was suspended in the fallout from the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal at Miami, there is little doubt of his true character and likewise, his overall athleticism and ability in terms of production translating to the NFL. Look for him to be taken in the mid-rounds.
Sean Spence Profile
Height: 5-foot-11 3/8
40 time: 4.71
2011 stats: 106 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 pass defensed