AJ Klein   LB   Iowa St   

TALENT BOARD ROUND  2

 

STRENGTHS

AJ Klein has good size, strength and speed to play as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense or as a middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense.  He has excellent leadership skills and is a coach on the field making the players around him better.  He does a very good job as a zone cover linebacker, making the correct drops and watching to see the crossing routes coming and anticipating making the hit.  He is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler and does an excellent job meeting big offensive guards and tackles, shedding and making tackles. AJ shows on film to have a good burst to the ball.  I believe he will play faster than he times because of his football intelligence and instincts. He takes good angles and has the speed to makes tackles from the middle of the field to the sidelines.  This kid is a quality football player and the type of player all teams need to make the playoffs.  He is a coach on the field who will be a core player and fan favorite.  If AJ is in a defense at the next level that allows him to flow to the play uninhibited, he will impact big time just as Jonathan Vilma did for the Jets when he was first drafted.... only smarter.

 

CONCERNS

AJ needs to get his pads lower and gain more leverage when he's meeting blocks in the middle of the field so that he doesn't lose ground.  He also has to be more aggressive in meeting blocks and learn better technique to get off his blocks more quickly than he does right now.  AJ plays too cautiously, always looking for the cut back to shut down the running play.  This makes it look like he is not getting to the play quickly enough.  My guess is, this is exactly what the coaches want him to do.  AJ  is being used by his college team to allow his teammates to react, then read and AJ to read, then react.  It's a smart defense, but it makes AJ look as if he is not as athletically talented as others are on the team.  

 

CONCERNS

In the movie "Clash of the Titans", there was a mythical creature who was considered the secret weapon of the gods.  He was called the "Kraken".  I think if you release the inner "Kraken" in AJ Klein, he will surprise a lot of people with his overall athletic talent.  He has the agility to be used in more ways than his college team used him and although he likes to keep the play in front of him, I believe allowing him to get to the play in a more aggressive manner will make him more of an impact player.  If it doesn't happen, you got yourself a pretty good linebacker anyway.  I think there is something that is hiding in this player and just dying to get out and cause all sorts of havoc.  I believe the team that drafts him will need to develop both of these worlds.  The cautious AJ that works in "cover up the mistakes" world and the hidden, aggressive AJ that operates in "cause havoc" world.  What I'm saying is this:  to take advantage of AJ's talents, the team that drafts him must "Release the Kraken" and allow AJ to cause some havoc.  This might be difficult at first, but the team that drafts him and allows this to happen is going to have themselves a top notch inside linebacker.  Now, that's what I call value.  This is one smart, athletic football player and if you let him, he will become the secret weapon of your new playoff defense. 

 

Drew “ The B.S. Detector” Boylhart

Feb/2013