One of the highest risers due to the results of the NFL Combine is Clemson’s linebacker Stephone Anthony. He posted an impressive forty time of 4.56, ran a 4.03 seconds 20-yard shuttle, and jumped a 37 inch vertical. This caused many draftniks, including myself, to review more of his work to see if these numbers translate. I watched his games against Florida State, Syracuse, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio State to get a better feel for the skills he brings to the next level. Here is what I thought:
LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson 6′ 3″ 243 lbs.
Cons: His Combine results do not show up to that extent on the game film. Anthony possesses tremendous straight line speed, but does not change directions that quickly. He seems to be tightly hipped and runs a bit too high. I thought he took a lot of bad angles and had to run around blockers, instead of stepping into them and shedding on the way to the ball. The linebacker, at times, appeared flat-footed and did a lot of his damage as a clean-up tackler. This means he usually was not the first to arrive, but made sure the ball carrier got brought to the ground. Anthony has limited pass rushing moves and got quite handsy out in pass coverage. There is a reckless abandon to his game.
Pros: Anthony played all four linebacker positions. He has decent vision, breaks quickly on the ball, and is a solid wrap-up tackler, especially in the open field. The backer has good lateral quickness, spins away from blockers with good balance, and seems to really enjoy smashing people. When the defensive coordinator sent him on run blitzes, he found the ball carrier quickly and made quite a few tackles for loss. As a pass rusher, he came from outside the tackles mostly, but I thought he was most effective going right between the center and guard by getting skinny. Anthony shows tremendous second effort on plays, such as I saw him get knocked down to the ground and immediately bounce back up to make a big tackle. He is good at creating turnovers whether it’s stripping the ball or making an athletic one-handed interception. The linebacker drops back into coverage with a decent back pedal and can get into the flat in a hurry. Anthony reads the potential receiver’s eyes well and can bat the ball at the last second in pass protection.
Overall thoughts: Although Anthony flashed the occasional big play on his college tape and performed well at the Combine, I still see him as more of a two down thumper like the Bengals Rey Maualuga or a pass rushing outside linebacker. This isn’t to say that he won’t have great value to an NFL team, but unless he finds himself in a great IDP situation, I won’t be selecting him in my dynasty drafts.
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