Mark is a smart player who understands situational football and has exhibited leadership qualities through his play on the field. He shows solid quickness and is the type of linebacker that was born to play in a 3-4 defense. Mark shows excellent mental toughness and is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler. He has a good burst off the line but rushing the passer from inside the defensive formation allows him to impact more than from the outside. Mark's greatest asset to a team is his ability to deal with adversity and lead others through by example. He is a remarkable human being and should be a solid core player and fan favorite for the team that drafts him.
Mark, as we all know, has medical concerns, but to his credit, he is on the field, making tackles and participating at an athletic level. That shows me if he can stay healthy and continues to play he will continue to improve. Right now his thinking is ahead of his reaction abilities. That will change with repetitions. If Mark can stay healthy, there is no doubt he can become a starting player in the NFL.
I think of all the clowns in this draft that are being considered and then I hear someone say, "It's a shame about the Herzlich kid" and I want to pull my hair out. What is the problem? The kid got sick and he is coming back from it. It doesn't mean you should not draft him! There are teams that are going to draft criminals and they won't draft Mark because he got sick! Can someone please explain that to me? When Mark was healthy, I remember seeing him play and thinking that he should be a good 2nd round pick that could squeeze into the first round because he is a system linebacker and he was a little heavy legged. Now, I have a 4th round Talent Board grade on him because he is still heavy legged, he fits a system and he will need a year or two more of building his body up to take the rigors of an NFL season. Right now, he does not have the ability to play at a high level for a 16 game schedule and travel in the air. I would guess the biggest issue for Mark will be how fast his body can recover from one game to the next. Remember he has a lot of flying to do along with playing games and that takes its toll on a healthy body. I know Mark is healthy, but is he NFL healthy? I would think not because most rookies are not. You've heard the expression "the rookie wall?" Mark will have to recover from that, so I don't expect much from Mark the first year. However, after that, if he stays healthy, you've drafted yourself a starter. Right now, all you can expect is special teams and a fill in linebacker, but remember this profile because I'm telling you in a couple of years this kid is going to be one of the main cogs of a coach's defense. He has the ability to be a Mike Vrabel type of linebacker except he is better in pass coverage. If I'm an owner, I look for players like Mark to add to my team and if he never fully recovers enough to play consistently in the NFL, I would consider that part of the process of the type of person who Mark Herzlich is going to become. You can't lose in selecting Mark. The adversity that he has gone through will serve him well. I remember in the 2005 draft in the 3rd round the Denver Broncos drafted Maurice Clarett knowing full well all of his problems and still, in spite of the facts, they drafted him. That's all I can think about when some fool says to me, "It's a shame about the Herzlich kid," because I know exactly the underlying meaning. I'm here to tell you a scout that says that is a bad scout and doesn't know people. With Mark being a Boston College kid, he might be a perfect fit for the Patriots.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart March/11