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OLB in the 2008 Draft: Round 2 cont.

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Posted 04-02-2008 at 10:53 AM by hagan714
Updated 06-12-2008 at 07:17 AM by hagan714

6. Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech, 6018, 232, 4.69 (ILB/OLB/S)

Few players can match the productivity of Xavier Adibi. He used his speed to get to the quarterback and earned three sacks and seven quarterback hurries as a senior and he proved to be an effective player in coverage as well, intercepting seven passes during his Hokie career. Instinctive player who finds a way to the ball, as he can get to the line with suddenness, taking on the inside run with his shoulder downhill. Runs to the ball well and plays with good effort. Plays until the whistle and shows toughness taking on bigger blockers. He has the body control to fit in space and the quickness and speed to squeeze the edge on blitzes. Has the speed to chase and close on the move. Excellent sideline-to-sideline range. Really fluid and looks like a natural in coverage. Plays with good football intelligence and awareness. A play maker a tight midsection, very long arms, with a good reach and natural hands to extend and catch the ball outside his frame with. Adibi has no problems mirroring the run or pass, very instinctive . Has a feel for his area in pass coverage, with the range to cover the field, as he shows alertness in zone coverage, reacting quickly to throws. Focuses on the quarterback's eyes during his pass drop, using his quickness to get proper depth. He is very athletic, on fire, and one not to show lag at any point in the game. Solid on the punt unit and uses his speed to be a solid contributor on the coverage squads. Very confident. Leads by example and can handle hard coaching.

Extremely undersized and really needs to add weight. Lacks the strength to play in the middle or on the strong side, but will combat at the point of attack. Is much better reading hats and tracking the ball when aligned outside than when working through trash inside. Struggles to shed when blitzing inside. Can get covered up by the bigger blockers when playing inside. Does not have the hand strength needed to reroute tight ends and backs in the passing game. Has to work on his tackle technique, as he does not always attack the outside leg of the ball carrier and spends more time grabbing at the runner rather than driving through with his hits. Has good field vision, but is a bit slow reading and reacting to the play and must be quicker in his diagnostic skills. Gets a bit reckless in his pursuit and, while he has good foot speed, he takes false steps and needs to throttle down a bit to redirect when he outruns the play. Durability's a concern

The problem for Adibi heading into the NFL is his size and he will have to be a weak side linebacker, but with his speed and agility, combined with the fact he is very aware of what is going on in front of him, makes him a solid pick for a weak side linebacker position. He does have the loose hips to get depth in pass drops, and could make the move to strong safety. With a mid-to-late second round pick, some team will find themselves with a quality weak side linebacker who will work hard and contribute on special teams.

Sat out 6 games with a torn tendon in his right biceps muscle.

2/28 Update: For a player who depends mostly on speed, Adibi's 40 time at the Combine was a little disappointing. He was by no means slow, but he was not the flat-out burner many were expecting. However, Adibi did show off his great instincts and solid coverage ability in the position drills.

7. Shawn Crable, Michigan, 6049, 245, 4.64 (OLB, DE, DT)

Shawn Crable may lack a true position, but wherever he lines up, he is a difference maker for the Michigan defense. Crable played outside linebacker, defensive end, and occasionally defensive tackle for the Wolverines this season. Played with his hand on the ground as well as SAM linebacker. With Crable's tall and rangy frame with long arms, some talent evaluators feel he could bulk up for a possible switch to the defensive line, where his pass rushing and pass coverage skills could excel as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end. Crable is a truly remarkable athlete, possessing excellent speed for his size and extraordinary strength. Crable plays on his feet and is effective at wrapping the ball carrier in closed quarters, generating good pop on contact. He has the speed to make plays around the perimeter, and when he gets through traffic. He has an outstanding blitzing ability off the edge or on an inside dog, as he chases hard and shows good intent to deliver the blow. Very good on stunts, as he has the knack for finding the open lane. Shows more quickness than speed as a speed rusher, but has a long stride and range to get to the ball. With his pass rush skills, he can create havoc in the backfield, but must be more conscious of sinking his hips to generate the extra burst needed to seal the deal. Shows better coverage skills across the middle and outside the box vs. the tight end than he does in the zone. He does an adequate job in coverage. Still improving and has upside.

Crable may be too big for linebacker, not big enough for end. Has good upper body development, but is slender in his thighs and legs, appearing to lack the bulk to anchor vs. double teams. Because of his lanky frame, he fails to generate good pad level, getting too tall in his stance and the result in him getting washed out. Needs to play with better leverage. Must be more active with his hands in attempts to disengage. Crable can get lost in zone coverage as he struggles handling switch-offs and will bite on pump fakes. Not really fluid in his backpedal and is prone to taking extra steps in transition, causing him to be a bit behind when trying to mirror the tight ends and backs in space. Too stiff in his hips to work fluidly down the line, needing to gather before changing direction. Slow to read and react. Not a natural hands catcher, as most passes that he gets to are deflected rather than intercepted.Sub par ball skills. Has little experience in pass coverage. Pass rush repertoire is limited, lacks swim and rip moves. Does not have a great motor and his work ethic has been questioned. Intelligence may be a concern?

Crable's type of versatility will make him highly sought after during this year's draft. Brut strength, scary size. Above average football acumen. Playing experience. Speed(track star in high school). Nasty. Crable projects best as a pass rushing OLB, particularly in a 3-4 defensive scheme. However, his coverage skills and experience at DE could lead a team to use him at DE on third downs. Crable has the potential to be an Adalius Thomas type defender in the NFL.

A real interesting prospect with a unique set of physical tools. But may need to be pushed in order to fulfill his potential. Teams are drooling at what Crable can bring to a defense; toughness, size, speed, he is really a hybrid defender who can get the job done.

Shawn Crable showed up in Indianapolis for the combine and had a great day. Crable ran a 4.64 in the 40 yard dash, an excellent time for a man of his size. He managed 29 reps on the bench press, showing off his good upper body strength. Crable has shown he's one of the top four or five 3-4 outside linebackers available this year.
Posted in 2008 NFL Draft
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