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PFF scouting report: Devonte Fields, LB, Louisville

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 31: Devonte Fields #92 of the Louisville Cardinals in action against the LSU Tigers during the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium on December 31, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. LSU defeated Louisville 29-9. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Name: Devonte Fields

School: Louisville

Position: Outside linebacker

Stats to know: Had a stretch of four games to cap off his junior season where he compiled nine sacks.

What he does best:

  • Comfortable playing through contact. Just because he loses first punch battle, doesn’t mean he’s finished on a play.
  • Flashes agility as a pass-rusher. Can swiftly cross the face of slower offensive linemen.
  • Wins routinely with his hands. His strike zone versus both run and pass is already at an NFL level.
  • Junior tape showed a far more consistent game to game pass-rusher.
  • Flashes considerable burst to the edge at times even if it’s inconsistent.

Biggest concern:

  • Slight build with little strength throughout frame may limit him to a designated pass-rusher.
  • Zero threat of a bull rush even against college tackles. Everything winning off shoulders.
  • Gives up far too much ground when engaged with offensive tackles in the run game. Moved off line of scrimmage consistently.
  • His first punch rarely jolts an offensive tackle. Forces him to win by getting the tackle to miss their punch entirely.

Player comparison: Dadi Nicolas, Kansas City Chiefs

Fields has no business being on the field on run downs early in his career. He often relies on quickness to beat tackles, yet doesn’t even have the athleticism to match Nicolas in that regard. That’s not a combination that suggests he’ll add much early in his career.

Bottom line: The best one can hope for is that Fields packs on 10-15 more pounds of muscle and that is paired with a much more physical style of play. Until then he’s limited to a designated pass-rush role. At his size without overly impressive athleticism, Fields may only have success against the most plodding of right tackles in the NFL. There’s still something to work with here though and if added strength comes with added explosiveness, there will be a spot for Fields in an NFL rotation.

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