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Prospect Profiles: Sean Spence


TRIANGLE NUMBERS: 6, 224, 4.59


National Football Post:

An athletic, but undersized backer prospect who possesses a narrow frame and could be confused for a bulked up SS prospect. Nevertheless, he exhibits excellent natural movement skills. Has the ability to fluidly open up his hips to turn and run down the field with receivers/tight ends and backs. Needs to do a better job leaning and looking for the football a bit earlier, but is tough to separate from vertically. Can be out physicaled vs. tight ends underneath on contact and will lose a step and give up initial separation, and he needs to be a bit more physical on contact in coverage. Keeps his feet under him, drops his pad level well when trying to click and close and exhibits an impressive burst toward the football. Takes good angles towards the throw, but his ball skills are only average. Lacks great hands and isn’t a lock for coming down with the pick. Keeps his head on a swivel in zone coverage, but can be a split second late at times feeling routes develop around him. Exhibits good speed sideline to sideline and works hard in pursuit, but exhibits only average awareness in zone.

Demonstrates good instincts inside vs. the run game, is quick to diagnose the run, doesn’t take many false steps away from the action and knows how to pick his way through traffic. However, he isn’t real physical at the point of attack, and will struggle to handle full backs who can take a proper angle on him, becoming overwhelmed on contact. He isn’t going to stack and shed vs. NFL offensive lineman either. However, he gets early jumps on the ball and does a very good job dropping his pad level once he gains the angle, keeping his balance and fighting his way under the block, accelerating toward the football. Exhibits great range in pursuit and will tackle in space and in the hole. He possesses a natural snap from his lower half into contact, uncoiling well form the hips and using his length well to wrap. However, he’ll struggle at times to breakdown in pursuit. He’s not the most physical of backers and tends to overrun plays at times, lacking the power to get into the body of ball carriers. Had a really tough time trying to bring bigger, more athletic athletes down in space at times.

Impression: 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:

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… Excellent production in last two seasons at Miami (217 tackles including 31 for a loss, 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles)… Is an elusive player in traffic, is shifty enough to avoid blockers and stay with the ball carrier… Is a very heady player, reads and diagnoses quickly, shows good awareness and the willingness to put in time studying opponents… Has not had any major character issues, is a hard worker and a good leader… Excels in short zone coverage, has good instincts and the ability to anticipate throws, reads the quarterback’s eyes and gets to the football… Although not especially good at driving through tackles, has a good amount of pop at impact, shows the ability to knock the ball loose at impact… May 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… Has good coverage skills but only picked off one pass in his four-year career at Miami… Will likely have issues with tackling in the NFL, is not a drive-through tackler, wraps up too high at times and will struggle to bring down larger backs in open space… Gets blocked away from plays far too easily at times, simply lacks the upper-body strength to out-muscle blockers, can get sucked up at the line of scrimmage and taken out of plays… Not a versatile pass rusher, is very quick off the snap and can beat some slower tackles on the edge, but does not display a very versatile array of pass-rushing moves.
FF Toolbox:

Spence burst onto the national scene as a true freshman in 2008. He ended up third on the team with 65 total tackles and added 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and three pass breakups. While those are very impressive numbers for a freshman at Miami, it was Spence’s big-play ability that made his freshman season so memorable. Spence’s first career interception resulted in a touchdown against rival Florida State and he forced a fumble late in a victory over Virginia. As a result, Spence was named to just about everybody’s All-Freshman team and earned the conference’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Spence followed up his impressive freshman campaign with what is best described as a sophomore slump. Battling injuries and missing three games, Spence tallied just 36 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks. Nonetheless, the linebacker was on fire over the past two seasons. He finished fifth in the ACC with 111 tackles and led the team with 16 tackles for loss. As a senior in 2011, Spence led the Hurricanes with 54 solo tackles, 106 total tackles, and 14 tackles for loss.

The Miami, FL native is generously listed at 6’0”, but there are questions about that. He has good speed (4.5s in the 40-yard dash with a fastest time of 4.46)and impressive instincts and he always seems to be around the ball. With his size and ability in coverage, Spence could even fit in as a strong safety in some NFL schemes. Look for Spence to be a third-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.


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GiantsGab Thoughts:

Sean Spence is an undersized, but fast linebacker prospect. Could probably even play safety. Great cover skills. Good instincts. Can make plays all over. Good speed. Good production. The issue with him is size, as bigger tight ends are going to manhandle him. However, not many linebackers can cover like him, and he can easily play all 3 downs. He, to me, fits the “Bison” role that Deon Grant played. He can cover pretty much anyone. He can play on 3rd down. If Spence is drafted, the 3 safety look doesn’t have to be used as much. Spence, essentially, is a safety, in size and will be used like Grant. I think he does need to bulk up a bit, just so he can withstand the beating he’ll take, but Spence, as a third round pick, can readily play on third downs and make an impact.






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4 Responses to “Prospect Profiles: Sean Spence”

  1. Kaz says:

    While I was reading those reports I was like wow, PERFECT fit for the Bison role and then wham you said it. Go Team.

  2. […] Rumors « Prospect Profiles: Sean Spence […]

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