Von has what you want in size, strength,speed and burst to the play to be one of the better defensive players in this draft. He shows me on film that he has good football intelligence. He is an excellent pass rusher and has the quick twitch off the line of scrimmage that could make him a powerful pass rushing OLB for the team that drafts him. He possesses strong lateral agility and change of direction skills to cover tight ends and running backs coming out of the backfield. Right now, he plays a position that is called the Joker in this defensive scheme. That position is usually manned by a versatile, athletic player who shows the same type of talent that Von has. It is a perfect position for Von and his abilities fit that position very well.
Von makes the mistake of thinking that his position's only responsibility is to attack and tackle anything behind the line of scrimmage and that once his opponent passes the line of scrimmage, that opponent becomes someone else's problem. Of course, that could just be how A&M wants to use Von. He does not use his hands to free himself from his opponent when rushing the passer -- he is just faster and quicker than his opponents. He doesn't tackle very well in the open field and will turn sweeps to the inside, but will not fight to make a tackle. He just is faster and quicker than most of the players he plays against and when he is not, he moves to a position and goes up against a weaker athletic opponent. I get the feeling (win or lose) the stat sheet is his measure of success.
Von must feel that it is a waste of his time to tackle players after they get past the line of scrimmage. His effort off the snap is excellent, but if the play goes the other way, he gives a half hearted effort and lets others do the work. He has the talent to be a good cover linebacker, but it looks like to me that it is not a priority or he just doesn't care. All I can say is that I think Von is interested in two stats: "sacks" and "tackles behind the line of scrimmage". If he can add an interception or two to the mix, then that's all right with him, but it's not a priority. Being able to play football at the next level successfully starts by playing football at the college level to the best of your abilities on every play and not just the ones you decide you want to play. Von is a smart kid who thinks that if he does one thing and does it well that this will be his ticket to success at the next level. I just disagree. I know Von with all his awards and workouts will be drafted early, but as I say all the time, "it takes more than talent to play in the NFL" -- it takes heart, character and hard work as well.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Dec/10