Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Draft lust - engaged. BRB's Brett Kollmann takes a look at A&M's Sean Porter in preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Sean Porter #10 , ILB, Texas A&M
Weight: 233 lbs.
– Very good footwork and fluid hips.
– Has deep speed to compete with wide receivers down field, and excellent short area quickness to stay with crafty route runners.
--Very physical and has great power for his size.
– Utilizes quickness and natural bend well in pass rushing.
– Good pedal and awareness in zone coverage.
– Has the power to stack tight ends and fight off second level blocks.
- Understands how to use angles and leverage against offensive linemen to keep contain on the edge.
– Tends to lock in on the QB in zone coverage and ignore receivers, which causes him to be late to break on the route at times.
– Sometimes pulls off a receiver too early before passing him off to another zone and gives said receiver a huge opening.
– Has a bad habit of slowing down before the whistle if he thinks the play is over, and it has lead to a couple big gains.
– Could use more hand development when blitzing inside rather than just using power moves.
Sean Porter might not be selected in the top 32 picks, but he easily has the talent to justify a first round selection. As a junior in 2011, Porter was expected to be Von Miller’s successor as A&M’s main pass rushing terror in their 3-4 defense. He did not disappoint, posting 17 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. In 2012, A&M changed to a 4-3 front, and Porter was able to flaunt a well developed skill set that showed he can handle almost any position in any defensive scheme. In particular, Porter showed off his superb coverage ability in both man and zone situations. His pedal is very smooth, and his hips were as fluid and flexible as any DB in this class (00:53, 5:30, 5:54, 6:03 vs. Alabama - 1:13, 2:40, 4:14, 4:28, 4:55, 5:02, 5:32, 6:02, 6:57 vs. Arkansas - 1:02, 1:57, 4:52 vs. LA Tech) . Even more impressive was his speed and superb ability to stop and accelerate at the drop of a hat. Often times A&M lined him up as a slot corner simply because they could. At over 230 lbs., you would be hard pressed to find any traditional slot receiver that could out-muscle Porter, and that kind of versatility showed up regularly versus the screen and run games (2:40, 3:59 vs. Alabama).
When pass rushing, Porter’s main weapon is his off-the-charts quickness and great natural bend. He likes to build off the speed rush and then deliver sharp jab steps outside before cutting inside (2:50, 3:39 vs. Alabama - 1:04 vs Arkansas). Porter’s first step is so explosive that often times he is able to dip underneath the tackle before the tackle can even think about power stepping to cut him off. Against Oklahoma, Porter was able to beat future first round left tackle Lane Johnson with some of the nastiest jab steps you’ll find in this class. At times, he almost looks like a wide receiver trying to get a clean break against press coverage, and many tackles will have trouble handling Porter’s sheer explosiveness. His agility is also very effective on stunts and when racing pulling guards to the hole.
One of the most impressive aspects of Porter’s game is just how powerful he is despite being undersized by inside linebacker standards. He is strong enough to stack tight ends and hold containment on the edge, and he has the power to fight through the outside shoulder of a pulling guard and force cutbacks into the teeth of the A&M defense. In terms of highlight reel plays, Porter’s crown jewel would easily be a red zone sack scored on a beautiful bull-jerk move against Alabama guard Chance Warmack, widely considered one of the ten best prospects in all of college football (6:15 vs. Alabama). It takes a tremendous amount of power for 300 pound interior defensive linemen to beat a hoss like Warmack, never mind a 230 pound linebacker. That moment alone sold me on his ability to hold up in the NFL against even the nastiest offensive linemen that the league has to offer.
Despite how well rounded Porter is against both the run and pass, he does not come to the NFL without some faults. For starters, he sometimes has a tendency to get tunnel vision on the quarterback and not notice receivers breaking away from his coverage (1:39 5:42 vs. Alabama - 4:10 vs. LA Tech). Part of the problem came from his pre-snap alignment on the field in the A&M defense, where he would start inside of a receiver and thus already have to keep track of the quarterback and the receiver at the same time on two different sides of his vision. Depending on Porter’s team’s scheme, he might be aligning differently; regardless of where he goes in the NFL, he has to drill himself into floating from the middle of the field into the path of his man’s route and securing the receiver before focusing so intently on the quarterback. Too often receivers would simply stem four yards out of his line of sight off the snap, make an unimpeded cut, and gain instant separation because he was so busy mirroring the quarterback’s reads.
Porter is a very, very talented linebacker with the speed, quickness, power, and versatility to play in every scheme in the league. 3-4 and 4-3 teams alike will love him as a Sam linebacker that can lock down tight ends and provide good complementary pass rush, but his terrific athleticism lends itself well to him being a stud 4-3 Will or 3-4 Mo as well. No matter where he is drafted, or what round he is drafted in, his future NFL coaches can expect a huge improvement to every aspect of their defense.