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With their first of four fourth round picks, No. 99, the Browns selected LB Joe Schobert of Wisconsin. After losing the likes of Karlos Dansby, Craig Robertson and Scott Solomon, the Browns needed to add depth at the linebacker position. Schobert is expected to play on the edge as an outside linebacker, but he could possibly even play at inside linebacker. In 13 games as a senior last season, he notched 79 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and one interception.
So, what are the Browns getting in their new linebacker? Let’s take a look at the film of LB Joe Schobert’s to examine his strengths and weaknesses.
Movement in Space/Quickness
This play is a good example of Joe Schobert’s ability to move in space. On the play, he takes the punt snap and runs up the middle for a huge gain. The play illustrates his athleticism to outrun many of the opponents. He also shows a change of direction that caused a potential tackler to fall down. Schobert can move in space well, allowing him to play sideline to sideline. He has the quickness to close on ball carriers and make a tackle. His short area quickness allows him to surprise ball carriers before they can react. He can play in coverage (more to come), moving in space while in coverage. This ability also allows him to play on special teams both on punt and kick coverage. Schobert’s ability to move well, allows him to play on all three downs for a defense, along with multiple positions.
This play shows an example of Schobert’s ability to play in coverage. On the play, he is assigned to cover the Alabama running back out of the backfield. He immediately picks up the running back and is able to stay right on his hip as he runs the route up field, allowing little area for the quarterback to complete a pass to the running back.
As I noted earlier, he has the ability to move in space, which helps him in coverage. He can stick with tight ends, running backs and even some receivers in coverage. Schobert is also able to play in zone coverage because of his athleticism.
This clip against Iowa shows Schobert’s ability to shed blocks to get free and make a play on the ball. He first uses his hands to rip the blocker to the side of him controlling where the blocker is going. He then uses body positioning to screen the blocker out of the way, so he can get to the ball carrier and strip the ball away. Schobert has several moves to get away from blocks. As you can see here, he can use his strong hands and body positioning to evade and shed blockers. His strong and active hands allow him to break away from the blockers. He can stun defenders with his powerful punch, getting free of their grasps. He also can use quickness to slip blocks and be too fast to get a hand on to block squarely. This ability helps Schobert get free from blockers to make plays on the ball carrier.
This play shows the excellent balance that Schobert possesses. On the play, he is able to slip past the Alabama offensive tackle, keeping his balance as he pushes through the hole. He is then able to take on a big punch from the running back and then continue to rush the passer, slipping past the back and staying balanced enough to take down the quarterback. Schobert displays his balance throughout his game, infrequently being on the ground. This balance allows him to take on contact, but keep his feet to still have a chance to make a play. Schobert’s balance could be one of his best skillsets of his entire game.
This play shows how Schobert’s lack of great size and strength can hurt him. On the play, Alabama designs a run to the left side, which Schobert is lined up on the edge. He is immediately bulldozed out of the play by the offensive tackle. This play shows that his size at just 6-foot-1, 244-pounds, could cause problems for him as an edge defender.
With the size of NFL offensive tackles, he could have trouble competing against these bigger linemen potentially making him a better fit inside. The lack of size and great strength can hurt him as an edge setter, because he will see a lot bigger and stronger offensive tackles at the next level. His ability to be stout could be hampered more in the NFL because of this. His lack of length and strength also limits his pass rushing skill.
Pass Rush Skills
This play shows Schobert’s shortcomings as a pass rusher. On the play, he is lined up against the Iowa left tackle on a pass play. He gets off the line and is completely stunted by the tackle. Schobert did not have any type of pass rush move to try and get free of the tackle’s grasp. He only tried to swipe the tackle’s hands, but that only freed him for a second. He had no answer. Schobert is not a speed rusher, nor a power rusher. He produces his sacks with effort, body positioning, hand usage, and quickness. He does not possess moves to stun blockers like a spin move or swim move. He is just not an advanced pass rusher at this stage of his career.
This play shows some of Schobert’s struggles as a tackler. On the play, he is in coverage when Alabama passes the ball to its tight end who is running an underneath route. Schobert is in the area of the tight end and should be able to make the tackle in space. But, he takes a bad line to the tight end and instead of driving to make the tackle, he dives to try and take down the tight end. He is only able to get a hand on the tight end’s feet, which the tight end is able to break through and gain extra yardage. Schobert struggles in several areas of tackling. He can take bad angles on plays, which causes him to miss the tackle. He can dive to make a tackle rather than going through the player and wrapping him up with his entire body. He far too often uses just his arms to try to make the tackle. Schobert will definitely need to improve his tackling technique, but even with these deficiencies, he still was a productive tackler in college.