LB SEAN SPENCE – MIAMI – 5-11, 231
Highly productive LB. Not a great athlete. Not a great playmaker. Just a flat out LB. Lacks ideal size, but tough and physical. Strong tackler. The heart and soul of the Miami defense for 4 years. Spence is a pure WLB. Lacks the bulk and strength to play in the middle. Lacks the frame and cover skills to handle TEs as a SAM.
Spence is good run defender. Gap sound. You won’t see him flying around guessing. Gets in his gap and works his way to the ball. Very good at moving through trash to get to the ball. Attacks up the field when run plays come at him. Can slide laterally when plays go away. Spence is a physical tackler. He attacks the ball carrier with everything he’s got. There is nothing passive about Spence. Out in space he’ll wrap up guys cleanly. In traffic he’s more of a body tackler, but still uses his arms. Can fill vs the run. Up and down when it comes to shedding blocks. Spence is tough enough, but put on the BC game and you’ll see him struggle with their OL. Can’t just “tough” your way through size/strength issues.
Smart, instinctive player. Takes good angles to the ball. Has good field vision and finds the ball, whether inside run or WR screen. Made tackles all over the field. Finished his career with more than 300 tackles, including 46 TFLs.
The downside is that he only had 1 INT and 3 FFs. In today’s NFL you need WLBs that can make plays, not just tackles. Spence is not a gifted coverage LB. He can play in space, but is much better between the tackles. Spence lacks the athleticism to excel in coverage. You see this on tape and in his Combine workout. He only ran a 4.71 40 and then had a terrible 3-cone time of 7.46. Those aren’t good figures for him. Also only did 12 reps on the bench.
Watch the game tape and you see a good player. He’s absolutely more football player than athlete. Watch the Ga Tech game to see Spence at his best. Played the run really well. Fiery leader of a defense who shut down a deadly triple option offense. Still, you can’t ignore the concerns. Spence is highly competitive and if anyone is going to make it as an undersized LB, it’s him. There is a lot to like, but the issues are going to hurt his value. Should go in the late 2nd or early 3rd round.