Name: Ben Gedeon
Position fit: 3-4 inside linebacker
Stats to know: Allowed receptions on 30 of 37 targets between 2014-2016; he did not break up a single pass in that time span, and gave up a QB rating against of 123.2.
What he does best:
- Sifts through trash well, consistently finds the ball on run plays.
- Stays square to the line of scrimmage when pursuing laterally, allowing him to change directions efficiently and break down to make open field tackles.
- Missed just one tackle in eight Big Ten games in 2016.
- Possesses the length and bulk to take on and defeat larger blockers, and also uses his natural leverage to create an advantage.
- Physicality with blockers makes him a viable blitzer on passing downs; posted six sacks, 16 total pressures in 2016.
- Timed speed (4.75 40 at the combine) is better than playing speed, which can be exploited in space when in coverage both in terms of recovery and ability to run downfield.
- Speed also hurts him on outside runs when he has to chase, as he has to adjust his angles in order to prevent backs from winning the edge cleanly.
- Will bite on play-action, putting him out of position on coverage plays.
- Lacks the burst, explosiveness to effectively attack the QB off the edge.
Player comparison: Todd Davis, Denver Broncos
Davis has missed just five tackles in 1019 career snaps (just two misses in 697 snaps in 2016), but has defended just two passes in 61 targets against, while opposing QBs have enjoyed a rating of 122.3 when throwing into his coverage.
Bottom line: Gedeon is a two-down linebacker who likely played at his athletic and physical capacity in 2016 due to the strength of the Michigan roster around him. He is quick to diagnose and attack run plays in front, and is a sound tackler because of his ability to stay square to his targets, but his lack of playing speed and instincts in coverage make him a liability on the back end. His physicality against blockers does give him some viability on inside runs and on blitzes, but he shouldn’t be taken until the middle of Day 3.