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Middle linebackers do not necessarily have to be great athletes, but many are productive because they are tough, smart, short-range guys who are physical and set the tone for the defense.In the 3-4 defense, the inside linebackers must be the same type of player, but his needs change and he only has to play half of the field a lot of the time. He also has to have more range and the ability to play in space since he will be asked to play in pass coverage. Linebacker Grading System
2. Versus outside run: Can they ward off a block? Do they have the speed to get to the sideline? Do they take good angles in pursuit?
3. Blitz/pass rush: Are they a power rusher or a finesse rusher? How is their hand use? Do they have good feet?
4. Key and diagnose: Can they read and react quickly? Do they get a good jump on ball? How are their football instincts?
5. Lateral pursuit: Can they get over trash? How is the movement in their hips? Can they chase sideline to sideline?
6. Tackling: Do they wrap up well? Do they tackle low or high? Are they able to drag down? Do they tackle with power and are they punishing?
7. Pass drop: How are their hips and their turns? Do they get adequate depth? Do they show the ability to play in zone coverage?
8. Pass coverage/hands: Can they cover man-to-man? How are their hips and turns?