- A closer look at the 49ers' picks: Round 5/165 -- Darius Fleming OLB, 6-2, 245 Notre Dame...Will start out on special teams and could become a third-down pass rusher. - The Sports Xchange
Full Darius Fleming News Wire
Size and speed were never Flemming's strong suit, so scouts were more mindful of his memorable play during the Senior Bowl practices than they were his largely forgettable data from the Scouting Combine.
In college he was a two-time first team All Big 12 player because of his impressive combination of tenacity and natural man coverage skills. Even when coaches asked him to play off in Senior Bowl workouts it was easy to see his instinctive movement and great ball reaction.
At the Combine, Flemming had a pedestrian unofficial clocking of 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, but his 60-yard shuttle time of 10.75 seconds led all defensive backs. His college career included some academic issues that forced him to attend junior college and miss spring practices in 2009 and 2011.
Strengths: Good all-around athlete with very good short-area quickness and fluidity. Very good playing strength and has worked hard in the weight room, adding bulk and filling out his frame. Does a nice job locating the ball and sticking with the play while working off blocks to get to the ballcarrier. Physical and finishes. Works hard to get better and gives top effort on every play. Heads-up defender and shows good field awareness ... gets his hands up in passing lanes. Has enough athleticism to drop in coverage and penetrate the pocket. Has good experience as a four-year starter (36 career starts) and offers versatility, lining up in both the two- and three-point stance ... also played on special teams coverage each season.
Weaknesses: Not explosive and lacks the needed initial burst or change of direction skills for the position. Chase speed is below average and he gets too upright as a pass rusher ... needs to play with better leverage. A poor open field tackler and plays with inconsistent awareness ... too many missed assignments and doesn't show much anticipation. Football instincts are average at-best and I can't help but think his growth has been stunted by all the turnover on the Irish's defensive coaching staff and different philosophies ... still learning how to utilize his skills. Doesn't disengage blocks as quickly as a player with his kind of strength should ... raw technique. Had subpar production for pass rusher with only 14.5 sacks ... didn't even average a 0.5 sack per start.
NFL Comparison: Danny Batten, Buffalo Bills
-- Dane Brugler