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Prospect Profiles: Quan Sturdivant

QUAN STURDIVANT, ILB, UNC

Triangle Numbers: 6-2, 230, 4.7

Scouting Reports:

Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Incredible production, had a huge sophomore season with 122 tackles (87 solo), two sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble… Has solid speed, is fast enough to cover most tight ends and get sideline to sideline with ease… Good zone coverage defender, reads quarterbacks well and is fairly instinctual in coverage… Scrapes very well, keeps eyes up going through traffic with a good feel for where blockers are… Above-average athlete, is not the fastest or strongest linebacker, but plays with fluidity in his hips and feet… Quick to diagnose plays and get to the ball carrier, does good job of readjusting to misdirection plays… Very consistent productivity regardless of opponent, recorded no less than four tackles in any game in 2009 or 2010.

Negatives: Lacks explosiveness, does not drive through ball carriers, needs to do a better job of moving feet after contact instead of tackling high and dragging ball carrier to the ground… Could stand to add more bulk and upper-body strength, somewhat undersized for an NFL inside backer… Is not a heavy hitter, will not force a lot of fumbles or push ball carriers into backfield… Does not blitz often and often struggles with disengaging from blocks at first, needs to develop more pass-rushing moves… Small character concerns including an arrest for marijuana possession before start of 2010 season… Does not have the size to play inside in a 4-3 and needs to develop more pass-rushing capabilities if he is to play outside backer in 4-3, looks to be best suited for ILB in a 3-4… Missed five games this season with a hamstring injury.

NFL Gridiron Gab:

Strengths: Plays with consistently good technique and gap discipline. Natural when taking on blockers, extends arms and bends at the knees to properly disengage. Played all three linebacker positions. Good overall instincts, and goes through his read & keys before releasing in pursuit. Reacts well to the cutback lane and is steady with containment. Attacks downhill against the inside isolation runs. Good footwork in his shuffle. Has the hips/ feet to be effective in underneath coverage. 3-down linebacker who played zone coverage regularly and was asked to spy athletic quarterbacks. Takes good angles to the ball carrier and has the speed to consistently get out in front (when healthy). Has been a starter since his freshman year. Team captain.

Needs Improvement: Doesn’t show burst in his release or when closing on the ball carrier. Isn’t always quick to disengage from lineman (despite technique) and will need to improve his overall strength. Could improve his aggressiveness, at times it looked as if he was going through the motions; won’t always attack lineman or run hard against plays away from him. Tackling technique was off/on. Wasn’t used much close to the line scrimmage or on blitz calls.

Bottom Line: Sturdivant missed 5 games this season and didn’t look fully healthy until his final game once he returned. When he’s healthy and playing loose his physical abilities are very sound. He was clearly a better player last season, and the season prior, as he had better support along the front four. Sturdivant’s instincts, technique, and gap discipline are professional level. His size and overall athleticism are starter caliber if placed in the right system.

The best fit for Sturdivant would be to remain in a 4-3, zone dominant scheme, which is employed by many NFL teams. Playing the weakside in a Tampa-2 would be an ideal spot, as Sturdivant would be free to roam and have the protection up front to be the player he was the two previous seasons. Overall, Sturdivant isn’t a dynamic or powerful linebacker but is a consistent, solid football player with good measurables, who won’t give up many big plays due to missed assignments or inabilities.

Draft Projection: Mid 2nd to mid 3rd round.

FF Toolbox:

Do-it-all linebacker Quan Sturdivant did not spend any time learning on the sidelines at North Carolina. As a true freshman he played in all 12 games and earned five starts, tallying 47 tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, one interception and even blocked a punt. That set the stage for his breakout sophomore campaign. In 2008 Sturdivant started every game and led the team with an incredible 122 tackles, including an NCAA FBS high 87 unassisted tackles.

For the 2009 season Sturdivant moved to the middle of the linebacker corps and his leadership has led to a stifling Tar Heel defense. He was not asked to do as much as far as tackling is concerned from his new position thanks to an improving defense around him, but he still led the team with 75 tackles during the regular season and did a great job getting into the backfield, totaling 12.0 tackles-for-loss, one sack and six quarterback hurries. Sturdivant has turned into a leader during the 2010 campaign after many of the other stars on defense have been suspended. However, a hamstring injury has limited him to just three games so far this year.

What makes Sturdivant so valuable is his versatility. He can play any linebacker position, and once he is there he can do everything one would want a linebacker to do. He can obviously use his 6-2, 235 pound frame to fight his way into the backfield, but he is also more than capable of dropping back into coverage.

2/8 Update: Sturdivant came back strong at the end of his senior season. Despite missing time with the hamstring injury, the linebacker finished third on the team in tackles. He even wrapped up his collegiate career by picking off a pass on his last play on the field. The result was a 30-27 double overtime victory for the Tar Heels over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. Sturdivant can still improve his stock, but he is a solid second or third round selection right now.

Video:

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id-whIyM9AA[/pro-player]

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_S_ZUk-YKc[/pro-player]

GiantsGab Thoughts:

Quan Sturdivant is a very productive linebacker prospect from a talented UNC team. Can play all three linebacker positions. Probably best suited for weakside, but was a MIKE backer in college. Will be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. He’s good in coverage, but can’t really fight through traffic. Might be best in a Tampa-2, but the one the Colts run, not the one the Giants run. Interesting guy, but I’m not sure if he fits the Giants. Lots of talent, needs some seasoning, but I think he would be a perfect fit in Indy, not in New York.

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One Response to “Prospect Profiles: Quan Sturdivant”

  1. plektor says:

    Nice to have all those profiles.

    I just found Giantsgab and I think I’m gonna stick around 🙂

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