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Arizona Cardinals Rookie MLB Kevin Minter Should Impact Defensive Unit

July 31st, 2013 at 12:00 AM
By Steve Smith

'University of Phoenix Stadium, Home of the Arizona Cardinals (3)' photo (c) 2009, Ken Lund - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Now that training camp is underway for the Arizona Cardinals, a player to keep an eye on is Kevin Minter, the rookie linebacker from LSU. The Red Birds drafted him with their second round pick in this year's NFL Draft.

The 6-foot, 246-pounder will add quality depth to a position that will be missing Pro Bowler Daryl Washington for the first four games of the NFL season due to a suspension for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Minter was a first-team All-SEC linebacker for the Tigers last season and will be joining one of the best young defensive units in the NFL.

Let's take a look at his overall profile via nfl.com:

Strengths: Attacks blocks with extension and hand use. Very good feel in trash, subtle moves to weave through bodies and recognize run, gets to the ball carrier before teammates despite starting from the opposite side of the formation. Not afraid to make contact with lead blocker between the tackles, keeps outside arm free to scrape off to running back. Takes very good angles and lines. Stops momentum of blockers, rolls into them with an anchor to not lose ground. Finishes off tackles very well. Fights as a blitzer, good motor, attempts to run through or get around contact. Sniffs out screens. When the play is visibly in front of him, the click and close can happen very quickly. Looks very comfortable when using hands to work through blockers. Has just enough speed to undercut blocks and make tackles for loss. Remained on the field in nickel packages.

Weaknesses: Occasionally overruns misdirection and draw plays, gives up inside shoulder. Lacks desirable range in coverage because of lost ground when forced to open up hips, turn, and run. Fast enough in a straight line, but lateral speed may be questionable. Despite good angles, likely won't win a foot race to the edge. Too flat footed on play action and misdirection, but at least that prohibits wasted steps. Does not show the quickness to get to screen as or soon after the ball arrives despite seeing it early on. Sees pass and reacts to it in coverage, but doesn't move any sooner.

NFL Comparison: Takeo Spikes.

Bottom Line: He might only have one full season in the starting lineup, but Minter was easily the most consistent defender on a very talented LSU defense during the 2012 season. The junior fills lanes with force and takes great angles to work through trash while finishing tackles authoritatively. Some evaluators may have a concern with his lateral speed since Minter seemed to reach running backs with just enough time to spare, not to mention his tendency to lose ground when forced to open his hips and drop in coverage. 

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Daryl Washington, Football, Kevin Minter, NFL, Takeo Spikes

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