Prospect Profile: Ricky Sapp's NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber profiles the top prospects eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft. Learn about Clemson outside linebacker Ricky Sapp inside.

Ricky Sapp
School: Clemson
Position: Outside Linebacker
Height: 6-4
Weight: 248
Projected 40-Time: 4.62

Star Rating: Grade: 90
Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Star rating is based on a prospects standing (as of March 5th) in the 2010 Draft Rankings. A prospects grade is measured on the following scale:

85-100 = 1st - 2nd Round
_70-84 = 3rd - 4th Round
_55-69 = 5th - 6th Round
_40-54 = 7th Round - UDFA

Sapp has great upside, but is an undersized defender.
Clemson Athletics

Strengths: Sapp is an athletic defender who has the size/speed combination that makes him a perfect fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He has an elite frame, long wingspan and the speed to be effective as a pass rusher. He’s versatile and possesses sound technique and hand placement to gain an advantage off the edge. He has great instincts and a nose for the ball and possesses the lateral agility to quickly change direction and attack the opposition from any angle.  He’s rangy and flashes the ability to drop in coverage. He gets some depth on his drops, features a burst of closing speed and collapses in on the ballcarrier. He’s a hard worker who gets the most out of what he has physically, plays with toughness and gives maximum effort.

Weaknesses: He has to add bulk to his frame and improve his upper-body strength to even be considered as an option at defensive end. He possesses sound technique, but relies on one or two of his moves to beat the opposition; he must develop a larger repertoire. He struggles to disengage consistently and can be completely wiped out of a play. He has to improve his tackling technique and show a willingness to take on the opposition head-on; he’s more of a side tackler. Durability is a concern.

Steuber Says: A three-year starter at Clemson, Sapp posted some impressive numbers and displayed tremendous versatility during his time with the Tigers. At 6-foot-4, 248 pounds, Sapp is more of an athlete than a football player, who is still developing physically and fundamentally. While he has plenty of experience - playing in 50 career games and starting 36 - Sapp is still learning his craft and will most likely have to adjust to a 3-4 structure where his primary responsibilities will come from the linebacker position and not with his hand in the dirt. Sapp usually played on the defensive line at Clemson, but had experience dropping back to linebacker on occasion. As athletic and dynamic as Sapp can be off the edge, he only managed 17 sacks during his four-year career. A lot of that has to do with his lack of upper-body strength and inability to get off blocks consistently. But, he was a factor in the backfield, registering 41 tackles for a loss. Sapp’s draft stock is all over the place; he could go as high as the mid-first round and as low as the end of the second round. Where he ultimately ends up will be determined on how he performs this offseason and the results of his medical evaluations; Sapp has suffered multiple injuries during his career, including a torn ACL in his right knee.

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 network and on If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.

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