Projected 40-Time: 4.80
Star Rating: Grade: 90
Draft Projection: 1st - 2nd Round
Star rating is based on a prospects standing (as of February 1st) in the 2010 Scout.com Draft Rankings. A prospects grade is measured on the following scale:
85-100 = 1st - 2nd
_70-84 = 3rd - 4th
_55-69 = 5th - 6th
_40-54 = 7th Round - UDFA
Strengths: Spikes is an aggressive and versatile linebacker who brings the complete package to the field. He has great size, quick feet and the instincts to always be around the ball. He enjoys the physical part of the game, initiates contact, sheds blocks well and demonstrates proper tackling technique defending against the run. He has good lateral agility, takes good angles in pursuit on the perimeter and brings down the ballcarrier on initial contact. He breaks down well in space. He’s forceful at the line of scrimmage and shows patience in blitz packages. He’s surprisingly fluid for a linebacker of his size, gets good depth on his drops, reads the quarterback well and flashes on the scene with a purpose as the ball arrives to the receiver. He has a pedigree, plays the game with passion and is popular among his teammates.
Weaknesses: He’s more quick than fast and has questionable straight-line speed. He tends to be undisciplined at times and will miss tackles because he over pursues. He gets off blocks well, but he has to improve his hand placement against a bigger opposition.Steuber Says: A three-year starter at Florida, Spikes enters the NFL with a tremendous amount of experience, as he’s played in 47 games, starting 39 during his four-year career with the Gators. As illustrious as Spikes’ career was at Florida, the fact of the matter is that after his standout sophomore season (2007) where he recorded 131 tackles, 16 for a loss and 1.5 sacks; his tackle production has dropped significantly. As a junior, Spikes amassed 93 tackles, and this past season he had just 68. Spikes made headlines in ’09, not for his play on the field, but for the eye gouge incident he initiated against Georgia running back Washaun Ealey. For his actions, Spikes received a one-game suspension; he isn’t known as a trouble maker and that was the only questionable instance he had at Florida. While Spikes primarily played middle linebacker in college, he has the attributes that will allow him to play outside if needed. He will attract interest from 3-4 and 4-3 teams in the draft, but he’s being a bit undervalued, because of the questions surrounding his straight-line speed; Spikes is a gamer and plays much faster than his timed speed. Spikes is a borderline first round pick, just as James Laurinaitis and Rey Maualuga were in the 2009 draft. Laurinaitis and Maualuga fell to the second round after scouts had concerns about their speed and ability to be every down linebackers; Spikes could experience a similar fate.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: email@example.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.