Sean Spence   LB/S   Miami 

TALENT BOARD

 Round 3


STRENGTHS

Sean has the instincts and football intelligence to play more than one position for the team that drafts him.  He has excellent athletic talent and shows leadership skills through his play on the field.  He has quick feet and his burst to the ball is one of the best in this draft.  Sean shows effort on every play and will run down players to make a tackle down the field.  He is a good tackler when he tries not to make the big hit and will put the fear into any receiver crossing in front of him.  Sean is very good in zone coverage and although he struggles to flip his hips and run with receivers, he possesses excellent make up speed to help out covering receivers deep.  He does a great job taking on blockers, shedding them and making tackles and using his smaller stature to his advantage when doing this.  Sean looks to be a tough kid and a good teammate; he shows leadership skills through his play on the field.  For the next level I believe Sean's impact position is as an in-the-box safety or two-deep zone safety.  I think Sean has the ability to be a Bob Sanders style of strong safety and, if used that way, will be an impact player for the team that drafts him.  

 

CONCERNS

The reason I like Sean as a safety and not as a linebacker is because of his lack of upper body strength.  Although he does a good job meeting a block, shedding and making tackles, he will lose ground.  Against bigger offensive linemen for a 16-game schedule in the NFL, this will become a problem that will be magnified.  He has excellent strength for his size, but will need more bulk and strength if he wants to stay as a linebacker for the next level and I think that will cut into his athletic talent too much.  When he gets tired, he struggles and is a sloppy tackler.  He is also vertically challenged and although he plays bigger than his size, covering tall slot receivers and tight ends will be very difficult for him when he is up on the line because he doesn't flip his hips quick enough.  That, combined with their height advantage on him, will leave them open just about every time.  As a deep safety most of those players will be peeking to see where Sean is coming from and drop a lot of balls and make a lot of fumbles when he goes to tackle them.  Of course he is smart and can overcome some of these situations, but to me playing him as a safety is the smart way to use all of his talents.  Sean has had some off field issues that need to be addressed, but I'm not sure he is a high enough draft choice in the first place to affect where he would be drafted. 

 

BOTTOM LINE

I don't think it will take much time for Sean to get accustomed to playing safety instead of being a linebacker.  It will take a coach who sees the possibilities and of course the correct defense to take advantage of his skills.  He is limited in coverage to keeping the play in front of him, but because of his speed and burst, Sean will be a better zone coverage safety than most who play in the same scheme now. That means this kid has the potential to fool and bait a lot of QB's into interceptions.  He has the speed and lateral agility to play as a single free safety as long as he keeps the play in front of him; however, if he takes a wrong angle or misses a tackle, that's all she wrote!  Of course, you can say that about any free safety!  I see this kid impacting on special teams and in nickel/dime packages and if the player in front of him gets injured, I don't see him coming off the field.  He will make too many impact plays and at that point I think most coaches will know that Sean needs to stay on the field.  I see a bigger, stronger Bob Sanders style of player and if you remember when Sanders was healthy, the Colts defense was so much better.  In fact, when he was not on the field, it was unbearable to watch the Colts defense.  It's amazing how a safety can make a whole defense so much better.  So remember, Sean might be listed as a linebacker, but in my mind, he has the potential to be an impact safety...in the right style of defense...with good coaching...with the right team.  He will also be a solid special teams player.  If I'm a team that uses a lot of zone and two deep coverages, I might draft Sean as high as the 2nd round because there are not many safeties with the ability to have an impact like Bob Sanders did.  I profile for 32 teams with 32 different defenses, multiple fronts and varying styles of coverage so I think the third round is a smart time to select Sean.  If Sean does well in his workouts, he could be selected at any point after the first round!  That's why we use a two board system.  For me personally, if my team has a bad defense I would be tempted to draft Sean and change my coverages just to get him on the field.  He just might be the difference maker you are looking for.     

 The BS Detector 

 Drew Boylhart   Feb /12