2006 Draft Preview: DeMeco Ryans

Seahawks.NET's Kyle Rota continues our look at the linebacker's available in this year's draft by looking at Alabama's DeMeco Ryans a standout player who's heart and intensity more than make up for his lack of ideal size.

6. DeMeco Ryans, LB Alabama 6-1, 235 (4.63)

NFL Comparison: D.J. Williams, Denver Broncos

Overview –

Ryans was a standout on one of the best defenses in the country the past two seasons. Isn't an elite athlete, but is an outstanding football player seemingly always around the ball. Has excellent quickness and intensity. Oozes leadership qualities and is very versatile.

Against the run –

Ryans is excellent against the run. Possesses exceptional instincts and takes smart angles to the ball. Shows great acceleration in pursuit of the ball-carrier. Plays faster than his forty time. Very good at shedding blocks, both to sneak into the backfield on run plays and to avoid fullbacks going to the second level. Excellent tackler. Wraps up with his arms and explodes into the runner. Has a tendency to get engulfed by blockers because of his lack of ideal bulk.

Against the pass –

Outstanding coverage linebacker. Has the ability to re-route tight ends with his hands and when he turns to run with backs out of the backfield he is able to stay with them and spot the ball while it's in the air. Was not used as a blitzer much in the Alabama scheme, but he has the speed and quickness necessary to excel in that phase at the pro level. When he did blitz he showed great acceleration to the quarterback.

Roster impact on Seattle –

Would be a great fit in Seattle. The Seahawks have had some trouble with the more athletic tight ends in the league (Jeremy Shockey, Ben Troupe, Jason Witten) and Ryans would help eliminate that problem. Underrated as a blitzer, Ryans and Leroy Hill coming off the edge would be a welcomed sight to most Hawk fans' eyes.

Final Analysis –

I won't deny it, I have a man-crush on Ryans. The only flaw I see in this player is that he lacks ideal size and he doesn't possess elite, top-end speed. That being said, he is a real Tim Ruskell-type player. He is very intelligent (Academic All-American) and has a ton of heart and desire. Very mature player who has the ability to take over a game if he sees he needs to. His versatility, tackling and attitude put him in an elite class of linebacker. Right now he's earning mid to late first round grades.

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