It’s been a long ride since the end of the season, but the 2019 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away. During that time frame, one of the key areas fans have been hoping the Denver Broncos address early on the draft is the inside linebacker position. While the team has a handful of quality players on the roster, finding a prospect with sideline-to-sideline athleticism is paramount for Vic Fangio’s defense.
Throughout the process, LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush have been linked to the franchise the most with their first round selection. At this point in time, it seems like White is a mortal lock to go well before the Broncos pick at tenth overall. Furthermore, it has yet to be determined if John Elway and his scouting staff have a high grade on the former Wolverine.
If the Broncos opt to forego addressing linebacker in the first round, they will have to seek out options later on in the draft. NC State product Germaine Pratt is someone they will likely consider. For his first two seasons with the Wolfpack Pratt was a free safety, but transitioned to linebacker after his 2016 season which was missed due to a shoulder injury. He only started one game for their defense in 2017, but ranked fourth on the team in tackles. Pratt saved his best for last once he became a full-time starter in 2018 — posting 104 tackles, 10 for loss and 6 sacks.
Though he is not yet the sum of his parts, Pratt’s athleticism and nose for the football stand out on tape. He is a prospect who has an incredibly high ceiling and many scouts and analysts believe his best football is ahead of him. Let’s take a deeper look at what Pratt has to offer and where I feel his overall value in this year’s draft.
Germaine Pratt — Inside linebacker — NC State
Height: 6’2” Weight: 240 lbs.
Bench Press: 24 reps | Arm Length: 31 5/8” | Hands: 9 1/8”
40 Yard Dash: 4.57 | 3 Cone Drill: N/A | 20 Yard Shuttle: N/A
Film Room and Highlights
Hart’s Scouting Report
Positives: Former safety recruit with top-end athleticism and three-down ability at the next level. Boasts incredible range, short area quickness and closing burst. Experienced and comfortable while dropping into coverage. Shows quality ability to blitz the quarterback. Effective run stopper who rarely misses tackles and finishes plays with tremendous pop. Has been a productive reserve role player, especially on special teams. Also sports multiple defensive scores on his resume throughout his career.
Negatives: Only has one year of experience as a starter and is still getting acclimated to the linebacker position. Much work is needed with respect to block shedding and processing what is going on in front of him. Needs to be more diligent attacking downhill and sticking to his gap assignments. Shoulder injury that required surgery caused him to miss the entire 2016 season.
Overall: Top 100 prospect. As mentioned earlier, Pratt is still developing his overall game as a linebacker with just a dozen starts underneath his belt at the position. His sideline-to-sideline athleticism and coverage skills match up incredibly well with what Fangio asks of his linebackers in his defensive scheme. If he is able to grow mentally and improve upon his play development and diagnosis skills, he has the tools to become a very good starter in the league.
Does Germaine Pratt make sense for the Broncos?
Absolutely. If the Broncos don’t address linebacker with their first two selections, Pratt should be on their priority list late on Day 2 in this year’s draft. He may not come in right away and start due to the deficiencies mentioned above, but by his second season in the National Football League, Pratt should cement himself as a starting caliber player manning the middle of a franchise’s defense.