NFL Draft 2014: Scouting Linebacker Jordan Tripp

Jordan Tripp makes a tackle during a Senior Bowl workout. - Stacy Revere

Scouting Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp, one of the most intriguing mid-round linebackers in this year's draft. How might the versatile linebacker fit into the Broncos' defense?

Jordan Tripp is a fifth year, red-shirt senior from Montana in the FCS, where both his father and grandfather also played football. Tripp started four seasons for the Grizzlies, where he ranks fourth all-time in tackles (335), and first in fumble recoveries (10). Tripp, a co-defensive captain at Montana, started 38 games, and played in 53 during his college career. In his final two seasons, 2012 and 2013, Tripp was nominated for the FCS Defensive Player of the Year award, and was only the second player in the history of Montana football to be invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl.

Tripp is a physical specimen at linebacker, looking and playing the part of a workhorse linebacker. At Montana, Tripp won awards for being work ethic and being the team's most inspirational player, exemplifying leadership and toughness in his game. Currently, Tripp is being projected as a third round pick, 92nd overall (CBS). So far, Tripp has visited with the Eagles, Falcons, Panthers, and Patriots, also meeting with the Texans at the Senior Bowl, but the Broncos figure to be a suitor for the versatile linebacker as well, with his skill-set likely to translate into a starting role in the NFL, something that the Broncos are in need of. He compares favorably to current NFL linebackers, KJ Wright (SEA) and Paul Posluzny (JAX).

Jordan Tripp

Linebacker, Senior (5th Year), Montana

Height: 6'3" Weight: 243 lbs. 40 yard dash: 4.67 seconds

Arm Length: 30 3/4" Hands: 9 5/8"

Bench Press: 22 reps Vertical Jump: 37.5 inches

Broad Jump: 120 inches 3 Cone Drill: 6.89 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 3.96 seconds

College Stats

Season Tackles Tackles for Loss Sacks Interceptions
2009 24 0 0 0
2010 99 9.0 3.5 1
*2011 18 1.5 0 0
2012 95 13.5 5.5 1
2013 100 5.5 2.0 3

*injured for all but three games

Film Room

Jordan Tripp vs. Coastal Carolina

Jordan Tripp vs. Eastern Washington

Scouting Report

Positives

Impact: Always around the ball, seems to be involved on every single play. Makes plays all over the field, closing quickly vertically and horizontally. Plays a solid east-west and north-south game.

Run support: Plugs running lanes well, using solid instincts to anticipate runners' paths and quick closing speed to bring the carrier down. Gets off blocks very well, using quick footwork and arm length to separate himself from blockers.

Pass coverage: Very fast and capable in coverage. Can run flat out with receivers on the outside, and has the size and strength to match up to tight ends.

Raw potential: Prototypical NFL linebacker frame, with room to build onto. Size, speed, and instincts are a scary package.

Agility: Changes directions very well, containing mobile quarterbacks back and forth across the field with ease.

Negatives

Build: Could use some extra weight to compete in the NFL, but definitely has the frame to build onto.

Tackling: Tends to dive below the waits to make tackles. Over-commits to a tackle from time to time, which leads to cutback opportunities for ball-carriers. Must break down and wrap up the ball-carrier once he uses his speed to close in.

Injury concerns: Missed nearly an entire season (2011) with a shoulder injury. Not a huge concern, considering it was two seasons ago, but still slightly disconcerting.

Fit for Broncos

One of the Broncos' most pressing needs in the upcoming NFL draft is at linebacker. With the loss of Wesley Woodyard and Paris Lenon, the two players who took the most snaps at middle linebacker for the Broncos in 2013, Denver is in need of someone to fill that role. It has been suggested that 2011 third-rounder, Nate Irving will be able to step into the position, after showing some promise in his first two seasons in teh NFL. Whether or not Irving can step into this position is up for debate, but regardless of whether he can or not, it is not debatable that the Broncos are in need of depth at linebacker.

While many fans would like to see Denver wind up with Ohio State's Ryan Shazier in the first round, the reality is that he'll likely be gone by the time the Broncos are on the clock with pick 31. Jordan Tripp is a more realistic option for the Broncos, being projected as a high round three pick; projected at 92nd overall, the Broncos could reach for Tripp at pick 62, or hope that he falls into their hands with the 93rd pick.

Adding Tripp would give the Broncos a group of formidable young linebackers, including Von Miller, Danny Trevathan, Nate Irving, and Quanterus Smith if he can get healthy. Tripp is a player who has the potential to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL. He can cover, play the run, and avoids blockers well on the blitz. Tripp figures to be a Will (weak-side linebacker) or Mike (middle linebacker) in a 4-3 scheme in the NFL. The Broncos play a 4-3 and could use Tripp in a rotation with Trevathan and Irving to create a scary combination to work alongside Von Miller. Tripp addresses the Broncos needs at linebacker, while allowing them to address another need in the first, and maybe second rounds, before having to spend a pick on him.

What do you think, Broncos fans? Do YOU want to see Jordan Tripp drafted by the Broncos? Answer in the poll below.

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