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Prospect Profiles: OLB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri)

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Sean Weatherspoon

Measurables

Born December 27th, 1987. 6-2, 245 pounds.

Stats

Career: 388 tackles, 3 FF, 4 INT, 12 sacks.

2009: 103 tackles, 4 FF, 1 Sack, 1 INT

2008: 149 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 INT, 2 Touchdowns.

Big Games in 2009:

@ Illinois 9 tackles, 1 sacks

vs Bolwing Green 14 tackles

vs Texas 11 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT

@ Colorado 12 tackles

@ Kansas State 9 tackles

vs Iowa State 8 tackles, 1 sack.

Weatherspoon had some monster games this years, especially the game against Texas.

Weatherspoon had a monster YEAR last year. 149 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 INT and 2 touchdowns in 14 games is excellent.

He had a 20 tackle game in 2008 and a vs Buffalo (they were pretty good in 2008) and a 17 tackle game vs Northwestern in a bowl game.

Suffice to say Weatherspoon’s production warrants his potential lofty draft status.

Scouting Reports

Walterfootball.com

Strengths:

  • Outstanding production
  • Instinctive player and anticipates
  • Eliminates space quickly
  • Covers a good amount of ground when dropping into zone
  • Very fast and explosive athlete
  • Always around the ball
  • Terrific change of direction
  • Smooth hips
  • Form tackler; approaches with near leg and near shoulder
  • Explodes through ball-carrier; lays the wood
  • Fires out of stance
  • Finds a way to make plays
  • Good ball skills
  • Good football IQ
  • Solid pass-rusher
  • Vocal leader
  • Three-year starter and durable
  • Good amount of upside
  • Weaknesses:
  • Needs to get more extension with arms when shedding blocks
  • Occasionally overpursues play
  • Needs more gap discipline
  • Average height and bulk
  • Could fill harder against run
  • Hand use needs to be improved
  • Sometimes gets out of control
  • Summary: Weatherspoon is an extremely talented weakside linebacker prospect who brings the playmaking ability and athleticism a lot of teams are looking for. His ability to blitz gives him scheme versatility, but he isn’t a 3-4 outside linebacker. Weatherspoon is going to be drafted in the top 40 picks with the potential to go in the top 15 or 20.Player Comparison: Ernie Sims. Both WILL linebackers have outstanding athleticism and playmaking ability.
  • ESPN’s Scouts Inc

    Production 1 2006: (13/0)  17 tackles, 1 TFL 2007: (14/14)  130 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 3 sacks 2008: (14/14)  155 tackles, 18.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 3 INT, 2FF
    Height-Weight-Speed 1 Is blessed with an excellent combination of size and speed. Is thickly-built and has the top-end speed to play inside or outside depending on NFL scheme.
    Durability 2 Played through a torn labrum in shoulder during 2008 spring practice. Had surgery prior to 2008 regular season but played all 14 games. He has now started 28 consecutive games the past two seasons (2007-08).
    Intangibles 2 Nicknamed ‘Spoon’. He’s the unquestioned leader of the Missouri defense. Has shown toughness in willingness to play through injury. No off-the-field issues to our knowledge.
    Instincts/Recognition 3 We have some concern regarding his recognition skills. He can be seen taking a lot of false steps versus the run, especially on misdirection and counter plays. Is a quarter-count late diagnosing too many plays. Gets away with it frequently in college b
    Strength/Toughness 3 He is big and has adequate overall strength. He does not shy away from contact and he is not afraid to enter the phone booth with bigger blockers. However, we just don’t see that viciousness in his game that is present in elite NFL LBs such as Ray Lewis
    Range vs. Run 2 Covers more ground than most LBs at the college football level. Displays good lateral quickness and generally takes solid angles. However, it should be noted that while his straight-line speed is good, he does not show the closing burst to ball carriers
    Tackling 2 Overall tackling skills are adequate-to-good but not great. Does a nice job of breaking down in the open field. While it’s not always pretty, he consistently wraps up and gets his man down. Only real knock here is that he does not display explosive ini
    3rd Down Capabilities 2 Good range in coverage. Shows a deep drop in zone. Has better-than-average instincts in coverage and does a nice job of reading the quarterback’s eyes. He’s becoming more of a playmaker when the ball is in the air. His ball skills are adequate.

    Draft Board Insider

    Scouting Report:  Weatherspoon certainly passes the eyeball test for linebackers.  Sort of a squatty frame with thick limbs and good muscle and low body fat.  He’s really an intimidating figure on the field.  Once the ball is snapped, you see why Weatherspoon is the top linebacker for many draft pundits.  He’s sort of a jack of all trades and master of none.  He is very good at stopping the run, able to disagnose the play, and get penetration.  He’s also a very good tackler and uses good form on his tackles, not looking for the big hit.  He’s adequate in coverage and does a decent job running with backs and tight ends, and is a good situational player in the blitz and is strong enough to work through blocks.  But in a league that undervalues linebackers, you need to have a hook to be a first round pick, and I am not sure that Weatherspoon has that hook.

    Draft Status: In terms of what kind of pro Weatherspoon could be, he’s a first round talent.  But when you look at first round linebackers in recent drafts, they are either pass rush specialists on the outside for the 3-4, or they are more traditional linebackers who are so outstanding or explosive in their play, they cannot be passed on.  Weatherspoon is a great player, but probably lacks the explosive playmaking to get him into the first round.

    Final Analysis: I have been up and down on Weatherspoon this season.  Some weeks he looks like he’s going to be a great pro, and the next he almost looks like the system masks his flaws and he’s going to struggle at the next level.  Weatherspoon doesn’t have elite speed at linebacker but looks to be a smart enough player to overcome some of that, but the team that drafts him, will be rolling the dice on just how good he can be.  In the right system, he could put up great numbers, but in the wrong one, and he might not be able to start.  A move inside might be just what the doctor ordered for Weatherspoon.

    Reminds me of: Curtis Lofton, LB Atlanta-Lofton was one of the most productive linebackers in the country his final season at OU.  But his lack of ideal size and explosion and straight line speed pushed him to the 2nd round.  But he ended up in Atlanta where they can work off his strengths and he’s been able to excel.  The same could certainly happen to Weatherspoon.

    CBS Draft Scout

    The Texas product led the team in special teams tackles as a true freshman in 2005. He stepped into a starting role on the weak side as a sophomore, making 127 tackles (75 solo, 9.5 for loss) to earn second-team All-Big 12 honors.His reputation as a tackling machine grew in 2008. He was an All-American and consensus first-team all-conference selection with 155 tackles (76 solo, 18.5 for loss, five sacks). He also earned defensive MVP in the Alamo Bowl (17 tackles) against Northwestern.

    As a senior, Weatherspoon was named first-team All-Big 12 after making 104 tackles, 14.5 for loss, and 4.5 sacks.

    Not all NFL scouts are convinced that he can be an elite linebacker at the next level. He has only adequate size and tends to run around blocks. But Weatherspoon’s speed and productivity will convince a team to pick him early in the draft.

    Analysis
    Read & React: Good instincts and reaction speed — knows the game and plays very fast. Reads plays quickly. Easily identifies screen and bootleg and takes away the open check-down receiver in the flat. A bit overzealous against the run. Will take false steps, bite on play-action and run past the ball in the backfield.Run defense: Very good chase defender who comes downhill in a hurry, especially if the play goes east-west. Scrapes down the line and finds the opening to attack the running back. Physical but tries to avoid linemen in traffic, picking his way through to the ball. Spies the quarterback to prevent long runs on scrambles, and will beat them to the corner from the middle. Usually takes the right chase angle, but is quick enough to recover if the ballcarrier cuts back. Will take on fullback and lineman blocks inside, but does not have the size or punch needed to regularly disengage. Also has troubles getting off run blocks from larger receivers.

    Pass defense: Recognizes routes in zone coverage, and is quick enough to lay a lick on receivers coming into his area. Gets deep in his drop and covers a lot of ground. Good enough change-of-direction agility in space to stick with receivers on the edge and run with backs and tight ends over the middle. Runs down the seam with almost any receiver. Natural athlete with very good hand-eye coordination for the interception or pass breakup. Uses quickness and hands to avoid cut blocks by receivers in space. Will face matchup difficulties against taller, faster tight ends at the next level.

    Tackling: Wraps up elusive ballcarriers in space. Can line them up for the explosive tackle if given the chance. Pounds receivers coming over the middle, using his shoulder to lay them out. Will overpursue plays or hit a hole before the runner has reached it, opening a cutback lane. Relies on hitting with his shoulder, which will be an issue at the next level. Undisciplined breaking down in space, allowing elusive runners to go around him.

    Pass Rush/Blitz: Effective blitzer who finds a hole and explodes through it. Quick enough to elude fullbacks in the hole to get to the quarterback. Can close quickly on quarterbacks and puts on major hits. Works through blocks from tight ends on the edge and linemen or running backs inside to rush the passer. Times jumps to knock down passes on his way to the quarterback.

    Where the Mocks Have him Falling (2/10)

    Todd McShay 32nd to the Saints

    Walterfootball.com 32nd to the Saints

    Draftek.com 19th to the Falcons

    CBS Draft Scout 27th to Dallas

    Big Board Rankings (2/10)

    Draftboard insider 15th

    ESPN’s Scouts Inc. 39

    Drafttek.com 37th

    Footballfan Spot 17th

    CBS Draft Scout 38th

    Bartolis Summary and Final Verdict

    The best way to sum up Sean Weatherspoon is that he’s pretty good at everything, but is not great at anything. He’s solid. He has  good athleticism, pretty good football intelligence, pretty good blizter, a pretty good guy in coverage, a pretty good guy vs the run. Not great at antyhing.

    The other way to sum up Sean Weatherspoon, and the most intriguing aspect for him as far as me being  a Giants fan is that he’s a leader.

    Final Verdict

    The thing that you love about Weatherspoon is that he’s a leader. That’s probably his best characteristic, that’s not a bad one. He’s a solid football player, who has pretty decent upside.

    The thing you wonder about Sean Weatherspoon though is what is his position?

    Can he really play Inside? To a lot of people he seems well suited as a 4-3 OLB.

    If the Giants are to garner any serious interest in Weatherspoon they have to know whether or not he can move inside…or whether or not (and this is something I’ve been pushing a bit) Clint Sintim can move inside.

    Weatherspoon is a fiery player who is a hard worker with pretty good athleticism. Hard worker+ legetimate N.F.L. athlete+ very coachable=success.

    I think Weatherspoon, will be a solid, even if unspetacular pro and he is someone that could interest the Giants IF (and theres the caveat) he can play inside or Sintim can move insider.

    And IF he is available in round two…because I think #15 overall would be a tremendous reach.  Maybe moving back into the mid twenties and drafting him then.

    Intangibles: Upbeat, infectious attitude on the practice field translates as the team’s emotional leader.

    Previous Profiles:

    S Eric Berry

    OT Bruce Campbell

    ILB Daryl Washington

    DT/NT Dan Williams (Updated with K.C. Joyner’s Draft Lab 2/7)

    CB Kyle Wilson

    DT Jared Odrick

    DE Carlos Dunlap

    ILB Micah Johnson

    DT Arthur Jones

    OT Bryan Baluga

    OT Anthony Davis (UPDATED 2/5/10)

    DT Brian Price

    ILB Brandon Spikes

    S Earl Thomas

    ILB Rolando McClain

    RB C.J. Spiller

    S Taylor Mays


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    9 Responses to “Prospect Profiles: OLB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri)”

    1. Jeremy says:

      Jesse you keep mentioning that perhaps sintim can move inside to MLB, but wouldn’t that take away from his edge pass rush ability? I was thinking maybey move boley to the middle. He’s our best linebacker anyway and he’s use to wearing the headset, wouldn’t that make more sense?

    2. I think that makes sense if we play a lot of Tampa two coverage where that system values speed over size and strength.

      But generally middle linebackers have to fight through more traffic than OLB do, who get to play a little bit more out in space (especially weakside linebacker where Boley plays now)

      Boley (listed at 223 pounds) might be too small to fight through the traffic to do well vs the run as a middle linebacker in my opinion

      but Sintim is bigger and stronger and I think could play well inside (nearly 260 pounds).

      For example Weights of MLB: Beason 240, pierce 240, Patrick Willis 240, Ray Lewis 250, Urlacher 260,

      It’s not a rule or anything, but I think Boley might get pushed around a little more in the middle, but I could be wrong, he could do well in the middle.

      I like Clint Sintim as a prospect either way.

      I hope he takes a huge step forward this year…if he does that could really solve a lot of our problems.

    3. Steve B says:

      Looks like he is a good prospect, but can he play inside?

      And once agian I am completely stumped on the answer to the question that is, Who is going to be our MLB in 2010? I have no idea.

      Cant wait till Combine coming up, and then FA right after

    4. Michael S says:

      this offeseason is improbable and out of the way but here it is……

      Trade osi to ny for Kerry Rhodes and a 2nd or 3rd rounder. Then our safety situation is shored up.

      Pick up Julius peppers in free agency and sign him to a monster deal before Dan snyder doubles it. Pay him the money. Well have the best d end combo in the league with kiwi, tuck and peps.

      Lastly, since we have those extra picks, we will be able to trade up and draft Rolando mcclain. Then from then on, we draft the best player available.

      That’s a revamped defense…… Who likes that idea and who doesn’t??

      • Jeremy says:

        If we sign more free agents, we won’t be able to sign our own players. I say keep Osi and trade him next season. Sign kiwi how many linebackers do we have on our roster, we aren’t drafting one in the first round unless a monster falls to us ie mcClain. Rather I believe we will be drafting lineman either offensive or defensive. There is loads of talent in this draft moving up in the first round is pointless now if we want to move up in the third or back into the second round I’m all for it. I don’t belive this team has as many holes as everyone thinks. We did go 12-4 two years ago with a much harder schedule. Our offense will be much improved, our defense will be healthy again let us not turn into raider fans. We were in two superbowls the last decade relax guys the wheels haven’t fallen off yet like in Cleveland.

    5. Gmen says:

      I dont like your offseason because with free agents there are answers to mlb with karlos dansby and gary brackett.

      For DT there is Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour and Casey Hampton or you can draft Jared Odrick,Terrence Cody,Tyson Alualu,Tyson Alualu and Lamarr Houston.

      For safety draft Earl Thomas in the first round.

    6. MIAGMAN says:

      I am of the opinion that Spoon can play inside in a 4-3 that values speed and has strong DTs.

      With the new DC in NY I would expect more cover 2 zone concepts to be integrated. The Giants need a way to cover the quick slot receivers and smaller faster tight ends which who are becoming prolific in this day an age of the NFL where DBs must keep their hands off opposing players for the most part.

      With Spoon you get a player who weighs more than Antonio Pierce but is probably as fast as Terrel Thomas. Check his twitter the guys will clock a sub 4.5 -40 and have similar height/weight combo to Patrick Willis. FYI Pat Willis ran a 4.49 at the combine.

      I should point out that Spoon is not Rolando Mcclain as far as absorbing oversized guards at the point of attack but thats not a fair comparason because McClain is really a 3-4 inside linebacker who lacks range and will be a liability when asked to play zone.

      I wouldnt minde McClain myself because it would allow us to draft a 3 technique DT who could really add to our pass rush instead of a space eater. But we have a big body guy in Goff already on the roster.

      Spoon loves football and love of the game was missing from this D last year. Draft Spoon and never look back.

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