Cowboys’ Potential 2013 Draft Picks: Kevin Minter, Manti Te’o, Lane Johnson
I posted three more scouting reports today, the first on LSU linebacker Kevin Minter.
Minter is an instinctual linebacker who sees and anticipates plays. He’s frequently a step ahead of the other defenders on the field, rarely getting fooled by a play-fake. Minter’s aggressive, downhill style of play is certainly a positive, although he can over-pursue at times, leaving cutback lanes.
At 6’1’’, 245 pounds, Minter is a somewhat short, well-built linebacker who is strong at the point-of-attack. He takes on blocks as opposed to running through them, and he does a really good job of fighting through traffic to make plays. He’s also one of the best blitzing inside linebackers in this class.
Read the entire scouting report at NBC.
At Dallas News, I published an analysis of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.
Manti Te’o was an extremely productive player at Notre Dame, averaging 122 tackles over the past three seasons. At 6’2’’, 250 pounds, Te’o has prototypical inside linebacker size, capable of fitting into either a 4-3 or 3-4. He’s a strong, powerful player who stands up well against the run; he’s probably the best run-defending inside linebacker in this class.
Te’o is an instinctual player who follows the ball well. He’s rarely fooled, diagnosing plays as well as any linebacker coming out this year and often a step ahead of everyone on the field. Te’o is strong enough to stand up at the point-of-attack, yet possesses enough lateral quickness to pursue ball-carriers down the line. In terms of run defense alone, he’s a first-round talent without a doubt.
Te’o isn’t quite as reliable in pass coverage. To his credit, the linebacker shed a lot of weight after the 2011 season to improve his quickness in coverage, and he led all linebackers in college football with seven interceptions in 2012. While Te’o’s straight-line speed is average, he can still make plays as a pass defender, especially when he’s asked to move laterally.
Also at DMN, I analyzed Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson.
One of the knocks on Johnson is that he’s not that stout at the point and could benefit from adding some strength. While I don’t think adding five or 10 pounds of muscle will hurt Johnson, the concerns over his strength aren’t warranted. It’s very popular to look at a player’s measurements and make claims about him based off of that, but the idea that Johnson isn’t strong is incorrect, in my view.
In pass protection, Johnson is a super-quick player that mirrors defenders with ease. He can cover a ton of ground in his drop with his long legs, and he’s a natural bender. He really looks like part as a former tight end, comparing favorably to Patriots left tackle Nate Solder.