2006 Draft Preview: LB Ernie Sims

Seahawks.NET's Draft coverage continues as Scott Eklund continues a series on the outside linebackers available in this year's NFL Draft. In the spotlight today is Florida State's Ernie Sims, a player who isn't physically imposing, but whose intensity rivals some of the NFL's greatest linebackers.

3. Ernie Sims, LB Florida State 5-11, 235 (4.48)

NFL Comparison – Ian Gold, Denver Broncos

Overview –

While not the most physically imposing linebacker, Sims plays bigger than his weight and hits like a ton of bricks. Stories from his junior year were that Florida State coaches had to pull him out of fall practices because he was causing too many concussions on his teammates. Super-strong, relentless in pursuit with a nasty attitude, Sims has exactly what coaches love when they are looking at intangibles.

Against the run –

His strength more than makes up for his lack of size. He's able to hold up well at the point of attack and has the necessary speed to pursue the ball anywhere on the field. At times he can get too aggressive in open space, trying to attack the runner rather than breaking down and making a sure tackle. Has a tendency to let blockers get into his body or run around blocks instead of taking them head-on, but when he does and he uses proper technique he is able to shed blockers well.

Against the pass –

Sims' speed allows him to run with backs and tight ends downfield, but he doesn't have a smooth hip-turn. He is excellent in zones because he has incredible instincts and reads routes well. Sims gets very deep on his drops and has excellent acceleration when breaking on a pass. As a blitzer, Ohio State's A.J. Hawk may be the only player in the Draft who is better rushing the quarterback.

Roster impact on Seattle –

Sims is an excellent Cover-2 linebacker. He plays well in zones and since the Hawks defense spends most of their time in the Cover-2 scheme, he would be a perfect fit for Seattle. His abilities would mesh nicely with Leroy Hill on one side and Lofa Tatupu in the middle. His speed also lends him to being an excellent headhunter on special teams. He's an ideal strongside linebacker, but he could play weakside and fit in nicely with Seattle's other linebackers.

Final Analysis –

After Hawk and Iowa's Chad Greenway are taken in the first half of the draft, it depends on how far Sims will fall and if teams are willing to gamble on his size. He is an excellent athlete that loves to play and loves to hit. Teams need intense players with Sims' abilities and it will be a waiting game for Sims and the Hawks to see if he falls far enough for Seattle to have a shot at him.

Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.

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