If someone can get this kid's head out of his hindquarters, he could be as good a linebacker as Ray Lewis (LB, Ravens). He is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler with an excellent burst to the ball. He shows solid change of direction skills and in spite of playing out of position for his college team as a defensive end, he is very strong against the run. Ronnell will meet his block and stand up 6'5" 320 lbs offensive linemen to and shed, block or stuff them up on the line, so others behind him can make a tackle. At 6' 2" 240 lbs, that is some feat. You can not throw a screen pass to this kid's side or run a sweep at him. He will find a way to disrupt it. He will run down plays forty yards down the field and does a solid job (when used in other years) in zone coverages and drops offs, in pass defense. This kid is football smart and although he does not show very much leadership-wise, he plays very well with his teammates, understand his responsibilities on the field and makes very few mistakes. Ronnell has very quick feet and his play on the field sends no signals to me that he has any problems learning. He could play more than one linebacker position at the next level. His impact positions should be as a MLB or OLB in a 4-3 or an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. My guess is that Ronnell thinks the college process is a joke and is most likely bored with it. All I know is something doesn't make sense. Ronnell will have to take responsibility for what is being said about him, but the information about him does not match up with what I see on the field.
I don't doubt that Ronnell has made himself academically ineligible but, I don't know what "Academically Ineligible" means in this case? Does it mean Ronnell did not go to class at all? Does it mean he did go to class, turned in his papers and got a failing grade? Does it mean he was supposed to take classes during the summer and could not because he went home and took a job? Does it mean he is a total screw-up or are there other reasons why he is struggling in school? What does it mean? On the field, he is smart enough to learn a bunch of different positions and be an impact player when playing any one of them. On the field, he doesn't take a downs off or not do what is expected of him. On the field, he shows no let down once he makes an impact play and he seems to play well with his teammates. I just don't know what to think about his academic ineligibility. As I said before, what I see on the field does not reconcile at all with a lazy person, who is not smart and a troublemaker if that's what Academically Ineligible in this case is suggesting. It always makes me curious when a coach is so media friendly about the negatives of a player.
As a head coach of a college program, if I had a player who had the talent that Ronnell shows on the field and he was not going to class, I would assign the biggest, baddest player on the team the job of making Ronnell go to class. If I knew that all he wanted to do was play football, I would tell him every time he missed a class and missed turning in an assignment, he would not play in the upcoming game. I really think that if you care about a kid's future, that's the deal you would make with him. You would not make the deal that you can play until the school catches up with the fact you didn't go to class! The search I did on Ronnell suggested no off field issues except for this Academically Ineligible situation. If there are other issues, the school and coaches are covering up with no way to warn the NFL about this kid; if that's the case, then shame on them. For me, there are too many questions to answer. Ronnell has 1st round linebacker skills, but I'll give him a second round TBR grade because there are some issues and I'm just not sure how those issues are going to affect Ronnell at the next level. He might feel like I do: this is a joke and it's time to make some money and move on. Nothing wrong with that attitude as far as I'm concerned. Ronnell could be one of the steals of this draft. At worse, you will have a core player to help your defense become outstanding because this kid is a natural.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Feb /12