2016 NFL Draft Profile: LB Darron Lee
In this 2016 NFL Draft profile, we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of linebacker Darron Lee out of Ohio State.
A two-year starter on defense at Ohio State, Lee entered the Buckeye’s 4-3 base defense as the replacement for former 2014 first-round pick Ryan Shazier. Heading into Ohio State as a former high school quarterback and cornerback, Lee started all 15 games for the Buckeyes as a red shirt freshmen. The first year linebacker recorded 81 tackles with 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Lee’s impressive production carried over into his sophomore campaign where he recorded 66 tackles, 11 for a loss of yards and 4.5 sacks, earning Second Team All-Big Ten Honors.
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During his time at the 2016 NFL Combine, Lee ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.20 seconds, finished the 3-cone drill in 7.12 seconds, had a 35.5 inch vertical jump, a 133 inch broad jump, and recorded 17 reps on the bench press. Lee currently stands at 6’1″ tall, weighs in at 232 pounds, has a 33 1/4″ arm length, and 9 3/4″ hands.
Feb 28, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Darron Lee participates in workout drills during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Quick feet. Great speed and burst. Versatile player, has experience playing cornerback and quarterback in high school. Impressive hands. Solid tackler. Strong against the blitz. Powerful linebacker. Doesn’t give up on a play until it’s whistled dead. Confident and passionate football player. Skinnier linebacker which makes it easy for him to squeeze through gaps in the defense to make plays. Quick thinker, able to read play calling. Experience as a blitzer, run stuffer and in man-to-man coverage. Started every game the last two seasons at Ohio State with extremely consistent production.
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Tends to be overaggressive with his play which causes him to overrun angles.
Only had two full seasons as a linebacker, still learning the fundamentals of the position.
Could take a season or two for him to fully grasp it in the NFL.
Smaller linebacker. Entered college as a 195 pound player unsure of what position to play. Spent the last two seasons not only learning a new position but adding on 37 pounds to his frame. Body build could be maxed out. Body type mirrors that of a big strong safety. Needs to improve his balance. Scouts are concerned about his size and his short experience as a linebacker.
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DRAFT DAY PREDICTION
Overall, Lee is a tremendous athlete with incredible heart and strength. Although he’s still learning the linebacker position and has some fundamentals that need to be polished, Lee is projected as a potential first-round selection. The draft is one that is stocked with a plethora of talented edge rushers as Lee shouldn’t have a problem finding a home anywhere between picks 15-31.