Top 10 Sleeper Inside Linebackers For The Bears In The 2016 NFL Draft
Raphael Kirby-Miami (FL)- Before he suffered his devastating knee injury with a torn ACL Kirby was expected to be a late first rounder in this years draft, so he can be a good value pick for the Bears on day 3. At the combine he was said to be at 70 percent and was running and cutting at slow speeds so he should be able to compete in camp and some pre-camp activities. He did do 33 reps on the bench press so his upper body strength is certainly there. He was among 51 players named to the Butkus watch list for the 2015 season before the injury.
MEASUREABLES AND PRODUCTION:
Not much to tell as far as measureables are concerned as Kirby was unable to perform in any of the pre-draft workouts, but he did bench 225 lbs 33 times which is very strong, so he wasn’t sitting on his ass while rehabing. As far as production it’s a bit incomplete as well as he was the backup to Denzel Perrymen, and was the replacement starter for him, but got injured in mid October and cut his senior season short. Before going down he was the team leader in tackles and has 124 career tackles in 39 games. click on link for Kirby’s career stats here.
Positives: Ideal size for the 3-4 inside linebacker position at the next level. Great leader and on field general. Took over the role for Miami after mentoring under decorated alum Denzel Perrymen. Without the benefit of pre-draft workout numbers it appears Kirby’s play speed on the field was very good. Fills the hole and closes in on tackles with great force and impact. Is very fundamentally sound and for the most part does a good job wrapping up on tackles. Does a great job with his pre-snap reads and relaying it to teammates. Good football IQ and character.
Negatives: Has a tendency to get caught up in the wash far too often. Once he makes up his mind to hit a hole he commits to it whether properly diagnosed or not. Needs to do a better job of scraping the line. Plays a little over aggressive at times and can get caught out of position. Zone recognition needs to be better in coverage. Can get caught out of position on play action, and misdirection boots.
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