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Each year are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the NFL Draft; the 2017 NFL Draft is no different.  Today we will be looking at a scouting report for senior outside linebacker Devonte’ Fields, Louisville Cardinals.

OLB-Devonte’ Fields, Louisville 6’2” 236 lbs.

Fields was a four star recruit out of high school and started off his college career at TCU with great promise as the Associated Press Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. Then things started spiraling down in 2013 missing all but three games due to off-field issues and injuries. This led to him transferring to Trinity Community College in 2014 and then finishing off his last two collegiate seasons at Louisville. Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the five games I reviewed of the junior play maker: 2016 contests versus Charlotte, Florida State, and Clemson along with 2015 games against Texas A&M and Kentucky. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:

Cons: Character is a huge concern with this young man as he punched his college girlfriend and threatened her with a gun in 2013 which helped lead to his departure from TCU later that year. I’m a bit surprised he was allowed to attend the NFL Combine with these character concerns, but TCU allowed him to take anger management classes for his transgressions. Fields missed two games in 2016 due to unknown injuries, but apparently had shoulder (labrum) issues in February (he did not bench in Indianapolis). For an athlete with his tall and lanky frame, his 4.72 40 yard dash and 7.4 second three cone do not exactly inspire confidence with regards to NFL play speed. The former Cardinal takes off too many plays not going to his side and does not do a good job anchoring versus the run. He has issues shedding blockers, because he lacks the power/strength to battle offensive tackles. Fields also takes a lot of bad angles in the run game and doesn’t look very natural dropping back in pass coverage.

Pros: The defender lined up in a two or three-point stance usually off tackle, but did sometimes line up outside when the defense was in a three receiver bunch formation or even more rarely as a middle backer. He flips sides and spots around the field effortlessly. Fields has a quick first step across the line of scrimmage, can bend around blockers with his loose hips, and has limited pass rushing moves: a swim and a spin that he doesn’t use often enough. The defender uses his arms well to keep blockers away from his body. By using his nimble feet and athleticism, the former Cardinal can make up for mistakes by recovering and changing directions quickly. When focused, Fields will dive through double teams to trip up the quarterback bringing him to the ground. I thought he was most effective stunting inside against guards and center where his athleticism and quickness made a difference.

Overall impressions: It’s hard to get excited about a tall, lanky outside linebacker who is more quick than fast and can get physically dominated at the line of scrimmage that also comes with personal baggage. His best rushes that I saw were from the inside, a position that he would have problems playing due to his lack of ability shedding blockers and handling the physicality of the position. Fields is too small to play defensive end, even in a 4-3. There is something there that I like, but am only willing to explore it in the last round of a rookie draft.

Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next few weeks, please keep checking the site for more of my content. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.

 

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One Comment

    • GPT
    • Posted April 10, 2017 at 1:06 PM
    • Permalink

    It smells like Bakevious Mingo around here…


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