Associate scout Ray Dahlke takes a look at an undersized linebacker making his way up our big board when he scouts Nebraska’s Lavonte David.
Lavonte David | OLB | Nebraska
6’1” 225lbs
Coverage/Zone Defense Skills
David’s athleticism and overall awareness serves him well in coverage. He has enough speed and fluid enough hips to cover running backs coming out of the backfield and tight ends down the seam. In zone, he displays good footwork and balance when breaking on the football and routinely gets a hand on the football to break up the pass although he doesn’t come away with as many interceptions as you would expect.
Instincts/Recognition
If I could describe David’s game with one word, it would be instinctive. The guy just always seems to be around the ball and rarely will you see him away from the ball in the run game. He diagnoses the information quickly and uses his athleticism to get to the ball carrier. He racks up a very high number of tackles and pass break ups.
Pass Rush
This is an area he can improve in. As a junior he did rack up six sacks from his linebacker spot but most of them were on blitzes when he wasn’t picked up by the offensive line. One he engages with a blocker, he has little pass rush moves to speak of and prefers to try and use a bull rush but his lack of size and strength often makes it a futile effort.
Pursuit/Lateral Movement and Agility
David is fast in pursuit but doesn’t get out of control and over run plays to the sidelines. He takes the proper angles to the ball carriers and does a good job of sifting his way through traffic. He changes directions quickly and stays under control because of his good balance.
Quickness/ Explosion
Displays above average explosion after diagnosing the play and closes in on the ball carrier quickly. I don’t think he has elite speed but he has more than enough to track down runners in the open field.
Strength/Ability to Shed Blocks
He definitely isn’t afraid to take on big offensive lineman in the run game and shows some good pop and a nice punch. If he can use that violence, he can disengage but when he gots locked up he can get pushed back because he just doesn’t have the strength and size to anchor and hold his own at the point.
Versatility
David doesn’t have the type of scheme versatility you would like. He doesn’t have the pass rush skills you would look for in a 3-4 OLB, nor the size you want from an inside or SAM ‘backer. He will probably be best suited in a cover 2 scheme.

Final Word
LaVonte David transferred to Nebraska after playing JUCO for two years so he doesn’t have a lot of big time college football experience. However, in that short amount of time he has been able to make a name for himself. In his first year playing in the Big 12, he racked up over 150 tackles, 10 pass break ups, and 6 sacks. He is very instinctive and a tackling machine but his lack of size and scheme versatility may hurt him come draft day and he may not be drafted as high as most initially thought.