Diamond in the Rough?
This is the first article of my “IDP Deep Sleepers” segment, which I am beyond stoked to be doing. This article will focus on division I-AA, William & Mary, Inside Linebacker, Luke Rhodes.
The 2016 NFL Draft is now upon us and before it gets here only a few more hours, I’d like to start my IDP deep sleepers’ column on this four year, all-conference honored linebacker. From what I have read and scoured for on the World Wide Web, there is not much info on this young man like there is with the more well-known players. With multiple players possibly coming in to the NFL this year from this program, I would have thought there would have been more coverage. Well… that’s why I am here – to put the word out on a solid inside linebacker that can stick his nose in the correct running lane and pile up the tackles for your IDP squad in the near future.
Rhodes is 6’2 and 240 lbs. and possesses great muscle definition. He has the build of a gritty inside linebacker. He was a former high school running back who can get his wheels moving quickly in the straight-line speed department. He was an outstanding vocal leader in the huddle, which in turn got him elected captain two years in a row. Additionally, he possesses plenty of strength, which enables him to not give up ground at the point of contact, while in the hole. Rhodes has decent pass coverage skills and can take the right angles to snuff out cut lanes. Luke plays with amazing passion and hustles on every snap, like any underrated player/prospect should.
Pro Day results:
35-inch vertical jump / 9’10” broad jump / 4.32 in the short shuttle drill / 29 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench press.
Often times by playing with amazing passion, a player can overcompensate and go a little over board in their pursuits. To that point, Rhodes sometimes over shoots his intended target and is too stiff to change direction quickly. As I was watching him in the NFLPA Collegiate bowl, I noticed Rhodes wasted too much time on his keys instead of hunting for the ball. Hopefully these tendencies can be fixed with the proper pro coaching. The last two things I noticed was that his hands need to be more violent, while taking on second level blocks and he has to understand how to maximize his play with better control of his momentum, especially when focusing on bringing downhill violence.
Pro Day results:
4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash/ 3 cone drill: 7.13 seconds
2016 NFL Draft Projection: 7th Round or a priority free agent signing.
2016 IDP Draft Projection: late, Late….LATE round draft pick or waiver wire steal/stash.
If Mr. Rhodes can really put time in on his hands and his cultivate a structured and controlled violence, it could improve his run-stuff game and he will make an NFL roster. His playing grit and covering skills alone should put him on many GM’s radars. I see him taking the Terrell Davis route and making a huge tackle on a kickoff-to show us that he is the real deal and deserves a shot at being a solid NFL and IDP inside linebacker.
Thank you for reading! If you have any dynasty/fantasy football or especially IDP questions, follow me on Twitter @FatAdamSchefter.