2017 NFL DRAFT

Darron Lee, OLB

School: Ohio State  |  Conference: BIG10
College Experience: Sophomore  |  Hometown: New Albany, OH
Height/Weight: 6-1 / 232 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
1121

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.472.60-17 35 1/2-4.207.12
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.462.601.5417 35 1/211'1"4.207.12

Mock Draft Expert Analysis

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Player Overview

A two-year starter in Ohio State's versatile 4-3 base defense, Lee was a 195-pound quarterback in high school and although the Buckeyes coaches weren't sure where he would play, they knew he could play.

After starting his Buckeye career at safety, he added muscle and moved to linebacker during his redshirt year, taking over for the departed Ryan Shazier at SAM linebacker in 2014 - played the "walkout" linebacker role so he was asked to cover, blitz and consistently play in space.

He redshirted as a scout team linebacker and safety in 2013 before earning the strong-side linebacker job as a redshirt freshman in 2014, filling the shoes of Ryan Shazier. Lee tallied 81 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions, earning Defensive MVP honors in the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.

He started all 13 games in 2015 as a redshirt sophomore, finishing with 66 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks to earn Second Team All-Big Ten honors.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Above-average range, speed and athleticism. Unlocks his hips to instantly accelerate and close. Makes himself skinny and shoots through gaps on the line of scrimmage. Needs to do it more consistently, but flashes violence in his hands to punch, lock out and keep himself free from blocks.

Explosive tackler and doesn't need a runway, striking low and leading with his shoulder. Performs with an instant reactor and diagnoses play speed well. Quick-minded, recognizing tendencies and play-calling trends.

Smooth hips to turn and run in coverage. Agile pass rusher to blitz, stunt and loop. Adequate bulk and has worked hard to fill out his frame (was a 195-pound high school senior). Self-assured presence on and off the field with a competitive swagger that seems to shine when the lights are the brightest.

Versatile experience as a blitzer, run defender and cover man - often lined up across from the slot receiver in coverage. Durable and started every game the past two seasons with consistent production. Will contribute right away on special teams.

WEAKNESSES: Leaner-than-ideal features for the position with a narrow torso and maxed out build. Physical mindset with pop in his hands, but lacks ideal play strength to consistently unglue himself from blocks. Stonewalled and engulfed by offensive linemen and needs to improve his take-on technique to stay clean and gain body position.

Overaggressive and will over-run angles. Needs to better come to balance and break down on the move. Needs to mix up his moves and show a better plan as a blitzer. Needs to eliminate the dumb, avoidable penalties (roughing, facemask, etc.).

Only two full seasons at the linebacker position and still learning different nuances of the position. Doesn't have an indestructible body type.

IN OUR VIEW: Lee is a fantastic athlete with long arms and aggressive hands, but needs to develop his functional strength to consistently stack and shed at the line of scrimmage and keep himself clean. Although he is still young in linebacker years, he is a high character competitor, playing with sky-high confidence and natural football instincts to pick things up quickly. In the mold of Ryan Shazier or Kwon Alexander, Lee is a versatile run-and-hit linebacker with an attacking mind-set that fits today's NFL.

COMPARES TO: Kwon Alexander, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Their size and take-on skills aren't strengths, but Lee compares to Alexander as rangy run-and-hit defenders who can excel in today's NFL.

--Dane Brugler (2/13/16)

 
 
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