The Red Birds went 10-6 last season and things are looking up in Glendale under head coach Bruce Arians.
Rookie linebacker Kevin Minter played in just five games this season for the Red Birds but coaches and management love his potential.
Strengths: Attacks blocks with extension and hand use. Very good feel in traffic, 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.
Bottom Line: Solid potential. 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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