Khaseem is the type of player who might not do anything great, but does everything very well. He is a very smart player who seems to know where he is on the field and why each down is important. He understands how teams are trying to attack the defense and seems to be a step ahead of them (thinking-wise) on most plays. Khaseem is a solid tackler who does an excellent job when used in zone coverage within ten or twenty yards. He has the foot speed and quickness to be used in a blitzing linebacker scheme and when he is used that way, you can see the explosion that he has to the play. He also has the unique skill of not taking on blocks and sneaking through them to make tackles of running backs before they can get started full speed up the field. He looks very relaxed when he plays which is another unique skill that seems to work very well for him. Khaseem looks on film to be a quality football player who will become a core player and a coach's favorite for the team that drafts him.
Khaseem plays the linebacker position a little "differently" than most. He doesn't explode to the play and he doesn't make great plays, but what he does do is make plays in a "bend don't break" style. He looks relaxed and some teams are not going to like that. He doesn't shed tackles or blow up the blocking assignments, but he does sneak through and make tackles. The problem is that it can be very difficult to ascertain how well he will do that in the NFL. He looks like he has excellent leadership skills, but seems not to be very vocal and gives the impression that he is only worried about his assignment. Nothing wrong with any of these issues except when you add them all together Khaseem makes it hard to evaluate how much of an impact he will have at the next level. Add to that his lack of size and you have teams seeing a very good player whose talents may not translate very well to the next level.
I sense this kid has more explosion and talent than he is showing on the field. That said, I'm as confused as most in evaluating Khaseem for the next level. I see the talent, the explosion and the foot speed, but then I see him standing flat footed at the snap of the ball and I think, "What the hell is he doing?" Then he makes a play. He stands flat-footed, but sneaks through all the blocks on sweep right at him and tackles the running back after only a two yard gain. After seeing that play, I stop the film and said to myself, "How did he do that?" He took on no blocks, made little movement towards the play and yet he makes a tackle almost at the line of scrimmage. I have seen him do this at least 2-3 times in every game. Every time I run the play over in slow motion, I still don't understand how he does it. It's almost like the blockers don't see him. He moves like a ghost right through with very little body movement to get the tackle. For me personally, I think he is an OLB in a 4-3 defense. When I see him in the middle, he struggles understanding the angles and making the tackles. On the outside, he can be a little flat footed at the snap and not have to worry about angles, etc. He also does a better job sneaking through the trash and making tackles when he is on the outside. In zone defense, I like him in the middle because of his intelligence and understanding of down and distance and the passing game in general. He seems to have the speed to handle being a MLB in a 4-3 defense, but that will have to be something the coaches would evaluate for the future and Khaseem will have to get a lot stronger and play with more instincts. All of that will only come with more repetitions and experience. Khaseem could be drafted by some teams who run a 4-3 defense earlier than other teams that run a 3-4 defense and do not project him as a possible inside linebacker. That means Khaseem could be selected in any round in this draft depending on his workouts. Look for him on Rob's board for the likely round he will be drafted in, but for me, I like his overall talent and play. I believe he would be a good addition to a team's defense and just maybe, a more impacting pro player than he was a college player if he plays in the right system.
Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart