Kevin Minter (part 1 of 2)
In an earlier post my mock included LSU LB Kevin Minter. I try to focus on the first pick as said pick must be a hit. At 17, you want a Pro Bowler. This is where our stars come from because we are never in the top 10 come draft time.
Although i like the "potential" of Barkevious Mingo and Dion Jordan, the lack of "sand in their butt" scares me. Our players are mostly well rounded "football players that can cover, pass rush, and defend the run; regardless of their position, LB, CB, or S. Pure speed alone doesnt make the player. This is not the Al Davis Raiders. Outside of these two i dont see any other olb to draft this early. Also, when was the last time Pitt took an OLB in the first round (Huey Richardson), and that being so....how well have our outside linebackers faired over the years vs other teams olb's... pretty good i think. I played the game although only in HS but i was and I am still a student of the game. Both of these two get washed out in the run game way too easily and are not aggressive/strong enough engaging linemen attacking them. They both ALWAYS choose to run around, dance, or absorb too much of the block. In order for them to be effective one would have to scheme way too much. Mingo's hand use is pretty good while using his speed rush. Jordan's ability to move in the open field in coverage is also pretty good. They both have something to offer....just not at 17.
Manti TeO - I would like TeO as a consolation prize. TeO has made many plays this year, improving his pass coverage from last year. Although he played on a good team I like to single out his individual matches/accomplishments on the field. Against lower competition he was great. Against Oklahoma, he was really good. All the nuances of playing the position, he has.
Kevin Minter - Has all the qualities TeO has but a bit better when attacking or taking on an Offensive lineman. In a Walter Payton like fashion, he attacks/shocks OL when being engaged. I think he has less wasted motion when diagnosing a play and acting upon it. I also like to see that he uses his weight well when tackling, shedding blocks, or change of direction ( i believe he is a step quicker than TeO). Mind you, I didnt have Minter in the first round even a month ago. I was pulling for Vaccaro, Mingo, then Jordan, then TeO prior to settling on Minter. I went back and reviewed isolated matches (on yes, mostly YouTube video's - not the most reliable) but i compared not so much the splash plays but again what the player did while running, tackling, block shedding, coverage, and reaction time as well as the complexity of the offense they played against. Oh...and dont forget the level of competition. After looking at all the above, Minter rose to the top of my list.