4. OLB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
6-4, 256: One year. That’s the concern.
Actually, that’s one concern – there are some reporting about a medical concern with his neck. However, that appears to be more rumor than fact.
The guy only did it for one season at Boise State, but it was a great one, making 141 tackles with four sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss with four forced fumbles and two picks last year.
The season before? 27 tackles.
Smooth as glass, he’s an athlete who could turn into a devastating hybrid pass rusher with the quickness and closing ability to get in on everything. And once he gets there, he delivers the tone-setting hit that can change games.
All of the basics are there to play around with, He can run all day, hold up against power, and is instinctive beyond his experience – he’s a true football player who plays like he knows what he’s doing.
He’ll have to harness his aggressiveness and speed at times, but that can be fixed. He’ll also have to learn how to play bigger, with the frame to handle at least ten more pounds of good weight.
So what’s the problem? If he’s not a disruptive force on the outside, can he be the high-volume tackle player needed to justify where he’s going to go?
Size-wise, you’re hoping for the next Clay Matthews, and praying he’s not the next Shea McClellin.
Projected Round: First Round
Real Value: Mid-to-Late First Round