Scouting the NFL Draft: LB Darron Lee | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Scouting the NFL Draft: LB Darron Lee

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    Darron Lee of the Ohio State Buckeyes forces a fumble during the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium Dec. 6, 2014. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

    Darron Lee, LB, Ohio St.
    Ht. 6'1", Wt. 232, Arm: 33 ¼", Hand: 9 ¾", Bench: 17
    40 yd: 4.43, 10 yd.: 1.55, 3 Cone: 7.12, Vertical: 35.5", Broad: 11'1"
    Games Watched: Alabama (2014), Michigan St., Notre Dame

    If you think other games better reflect this player’s ability or you want to request a profile on a specific player, email me or hit me up on Twitter.

    Darron Lee did it all for his Ohio high school, playing quarterback, wide receiver, safety and kick returner. As a senior, he split time as the team's quarterback and also earned all-state honors as a cornerback. He committed to Ohio State as a the country's 29th-ranked safety in 2013 and played two games there before injuries ended his season.

    After returning from injury, and gaining more than 40 pounds, the Ohio State coaches moved Lee to linebacker and he quickly took a liking to the position. He finished the 2014 season with 81 tackles, 16.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks and two interceptions and was named the Defensive MVP in a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. Last season, he tallied 66 tackles, 11 TFL and 4.5 sacks and earned All-America honors.

    Strengths

    • Speed - Downhill runner, closes quickly
    • Length - Checks box despite height
    • Instincts - Quick to diagnose
    • Man Coverage - Sticky for a LB
    • Disciplined - Reads keys, stays with assignment
    • Penetration - Quick through hole against run and blitz
    • Attitude - Tenacious, competitive

    Weaknesses

    • Angles - Beaten to edge, overpursues at times
    • Size - Small frame, may be maxed out
    • Strength - Overpowered too often
    • Tackling - Missed 12 of 72, according to Pro Football Focus
    • Zone Coverage - Inexperienced
    • Raw - Only played position for two years

    Verdict: Second-Round Pick

    Lee's game is built on speed and he does everything really quickly. He has some issues, but nothing that can't be corrected with experience and coaching. He has the potential to grow into a complete linebacker, but he can step in right away and be a nickel defender in a league where defenses are in nickel more than 60 percent of the time, according to SI's Peter King.

    Lee replaced first-round pick Ryan Shazier as Ohio State's SAM linebacker, but he looks like more of a WILL in the Cowboys defense. He's not a three-down linebacker and he might never be, but he'd get enough snaps in nickel looks to justify using a second-round pick on him — though he probably won't fall that far. Plus, he'd provide insurance for Sean Lee.