Sean Weatherspoon – Missouri
Scout: David Syvertsen
Pro Potential: David Harris – New York Jets
Coverage/Zone Defense Skills: Moves well in coverage and can reach the deep third quickly. Gets by in zone coverage based on reading ability rather than athletic ability. Instinctive mover that gravitates towards the intended target.
Instincts/Recognition: Easily fooled on playaction and counters, likes to move downhill a bit too much. Will lose track of keys. Has a nice feel for the game from the middle, consistently found in the right position on basic runs and passes.
Pass Rush: 12.5 sacks over the past three seasons, a respectable number for a player that did not blitz a lot. He does not offer much as an edge rusher but he is a powerful blitzer that stays low to the ground and accelerates quickly, making him a difficult defender to block for linemen and running backs.
Pursuit/Lateral Movement/Agility: High effort when playing laterally, can reach the sideline in a blink and meet the ball carrier at the lateral-to-vertical point. Does not have wiggle or ability to change direction in space however. At his worst when in the open field one on one against a shifty ball carrier.
Quickness/Explosion: Can explode from his starting point whether he is moving downhill or laterally. Closes on the ball carrier fast and can reach the line of scrimmage before a running back when he diagnoses well.
Strength/Ability to Shed Blocks: Very stout as an inside run defender. Shows no hesitation in taking a block head on. Delivers a jolt to the blocker, hits and sheds with power.
Tackling: Sure tackler in traffic that makes a lot of solo stops. Finished with well over 100 tackles each of the past three seasons. Will struggle to take down a shifty ball carrier out in space as his hips get tight and he does not explode forward.
Versatility: Capable of playing all three linebacker positions within a 4-3 defense or either inside position in a 3-4. Has the athletic ability to play well enough out in space, but also stout enough to play inside and pound with the big boys. His best position will likely be in the middle of a 4-3.
Final Word: Sean Weatherspoon is one of those prospects that will give a team exactly what they think he is going to upon drafting him. He is a reliable inside-out defender that will make plays because of his consistent ability to always end a play near the ball. He is a natural leader that never stops his mouth, keeping his teammates motivated and on track. He has physical limitations, especially out in space, but he is athletic enough to start in the league right away. If a team is looking for a MIKE linebacker that will end each year with 120+ tackles, then Weatherspoon will be high on their board. Probable first rounder that could sneak in to the top 20.