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 Post subject: Craig Stevens, OLB, Auburn
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2004 3:03 pm
Posts: 25777
Location: North Carolina
CRAIG STEVENS
6-2/230
Auburn Senior
40: 4.65e

PROS:

Has good speed and flashes the ability to match up in coverage when covering backs or tight ends in the flat. Does his best work in coverage when he can keep things in front of him or get a good jam at the line. Can work in pursuit and make stops there. Willing to take on the lead blocker in the hole, and shows ability to wrap up at the point of attack. Shows some recognition, sniffing out a screen and getting upfield to bust up a reverse.

CONS:

Undersized and lacks ideal awareness. Undersized tackler that won't consistently make the stop in the open field and needs help at the point of attack. Gets swallowed up by blockers vs. the inside run and has trouble getting off blocks at the second level. While he'll take on the lead blocker, rarely wins the battle. Takes poor angles in space at times and will give up the cutback lane for the runner. Gets beat in coverage by quicker backs in the flat and lacks ball skills.

OVERVIEW:

Stevens flashes the speed and range teams like at outside linebacker in the 4-3. He plays strongside for Auburn, but rarely made any plays during his senior year after being considered a commodity during his earlier seasons as a starter. He has potential to develop and get better in coverage and might eventually develop into a decent nickel linebacker, but he projects most likely to be a career backup at the next level. After a strong junior campaign with 95 tackles, 8 for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, and 3 PBU, his production fell as a senior with 62-3.5-0.5-0-1. A four-year starter at OLB for Auburn.

NFL FORECAST:

Stevens has a chance to stick in the pros as a reserve. If he can impress on special teams, teams will be willing to keep him around for depth purposes. If that occurs, then you can think that with improvement he can develop in coverage and be a decent nickel option. He has the speed and range to be a factor in both man and zone coverage, just lacks the ball skills and awareness as of yet. If that gets better, then he can potentially add depth at either outside spot. He's a more natural fit as a WILL in most 4-3 schemes, but certain schemes that prefer speedy guys across the board can also utilize him as a SAM linebacker. He's the type of player that sits the bench all four years of his rookie contract, adds some depth and then is let loose in free agency. He signs with another team, they have an injury and they are forced to start him. He'll be an OK starter at that point in his career, but not good enough where that position won't be a need going into the next season and he'll be relegated to backup and/or journeyman after that point.

ATL FORECAST:

Stevens can add depth here in Atlanta and is comparable with a player like Robert James on the roster. He is good enough and flashes enough speed and potential in coverage that he can make the Falcons roster as a rookie. But he'll be exclusively a special teams player, and while he can develop and by the end of his third or fourth year might be a decent stopgap option in the case of injury, he has little upside to be developed besides being a role player in Atlanta. The best you can hope for is he develops into a lesser version of Coy Wire in three or four years.

VALUE:

Because he can add depth, Stevens might merit looks in the late seventh round. But you'd be much happier if you got him as an undrafted pickup.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Speed: 3.5
Tackling: 2.5
Coverage: 3.0
Point of Attack: 2.0
Instincts: 2.5
Pass Rush: 2.0

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