ILB, James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
|At A Glance|
|Position 1: Inside LB||Height: 6-2|
|Position 2: Outside LB||Weight: 244|
|Class: Senior||Age: 23|
|Projected Round: 1st||40time: 4.59|
|Bench Reps: 22||Vertical: 33|
|20yd Split: 2.75||Broad Jump: 9'7"|
|10yd Split: 1.59||20yd Shuttle: 4.24|
|3 Cone Drill: 6.93|
Pros: Excellent athlete, size. Terrific tackler, generates good hitting explosiveness from lower body.
Cons: Not a refined player, could add bulk, relies too much on natural athleticism to get into position, a drawback that could be exposed at the pro level.
Styg's Broncos Fit: If ever there were an aristocrat of the LB position, James is it. What he brings to the game is an above average LB instinct, with a workmanlike attitude and a dedication to the craft. He uses his hands very well, understands zone coverage and has adequate hips and feet to cover his responsibilities. Where he shines is in the tactical department, baiting QBs, evading offensive blockers. He is excellent at technically defeating blocks and he can contribute in sideline-to-sideline pursuit with his knack for finding the ball and keeping his legs clean. If there is a knock against Laurinaitis, it is that he comes across as a more cerebral MLB and less of a pure athlete. Questions about his ability to adjust to the physicality of the NFL, and what that would mean to his already lackluster production, make him a top prospect to consider, but at five stars, not six.
James Laurinaitis, MLB, Ohio St.
A tackling machine who decided to come back for his senior year despite possibly being a Top 10 pick. Since then his stock has slipped a bit due to no fault of his own. Critics will say he's not the most superstar athlete, but if this year's Broncos team has thought us anything it's that the simple plays not being made are the ones that really cost you.
From Scouting Report at Mocking the Draft:
A top prospect since his sophomore season, Laurinaitis is about as solid of a linebacker prospect as there is in this class. Laurinaitis is a high-effort player who just finds a way to get it done during the game. A good athlete, Laurinaitis reads and reacts to plays very quickly. Moves fluidly sideline-to-sideline. Good zone coverage middle linebacker. Gets nice drops and has the ability to make a play on the ball. Gritty, high effort player who reportedly played his senior year hurt. Great character and a leader. Has every intangible a team will want.
SBNation Ohio State Buckeyes blog, Around the Oval, on Laurinaitis' achilles heel, prior to the team losing to Penn St.:
James Laurinaitis's biggest weakness is getting off blocks.
And that is about it.
Scouting Reports and Offsite Links:
- The senior inside linebacker is one of the most highly decorated defenders in the history of college football, and came back for his senior season to collect even more hardware. Laurinaitis is nothing short of a monster in the middle of the field. He possesses great sideline to sideline speed, so he always seems to be in on the tackle. [see more...]
- Very instinctive, great vision, always around the ball, great LB speed, great LB size, and a good-form tackler. [see more...]
- A well-rounded player who never has to leave the field...Capable of playing all three linebacker positions but his best fit will likely come in the middle or on the weakside in a 4-3 scheme...Not quite in the same league as a prospect that his former teammate and #5 overall pick A.J. Hawk was coming out of college but awfully close. [see more...]
- A natural leader. Was named captain as a junior, first time that has happened since Jim Tressel has been coach at Ohio State. [see more...]
- Following in the steps of recent Buckeye linebackers such as A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter, James "Little Animal" Laurinaitis is probably a little overrated by the general public but still projects as a solid NFL starter. Laurinaitis is one of the most decorated collegiate linebackers in recent history, including a Butkus Award win. He can probably start in virtually any scheme but projects best on the weakside or in the middle of a standard 4-3 defense. [see more...]
- A smart, instinctive linebacker who reads and reacts quickly and consistently flows toward the football. Showcases good footwork inside and displays ideal technique at the point of attack. Is very smooth and compact in his back-pedal and does a good job getting in and out of his breaks. Does a good job click and closing on the pass with the ability to consistently make plays down the field. Great open-field tackler, rarely misses in space. [see more...]
- Eight offensive tackles were picked in the first round last year. Eight inside linebackers were picked in the first round in the past six years combined.
Ohio State middle linebacker James Laurinaitis and Southern California's Rey Maualuga might be worthy heirs at the iconic position, but they likely will be ignored during the first two hours of the draft April 25. Each is projected as a mid- to late first-round pick, and no other inside linebackers are creating buzz this weekend at the scouting combine.
"I think my production on the field can speak for itself, but I'm excited about an opportunity like this," Laurinaitis said. "When we do drills without pads on and you're in space and you're breaking and cutting, I'm not afraid to do it and I'm going to hopefully be an eye-opener at that."
That said, Laurinaitis knows that he is unlikely to climb too far up teams' draft boards. Outside linebacker, not middle linebacker, is "what's hot right now," he said. [see more...]