|Class:||RS Senior||40 time:||N/A|
After the 2010 college football season, Stanford middle linebacker Shayne Skov looked to be a lock to leave early, and be a high first round pick in the NFL Draft. Through his true freshman and sophomore seasons in Palo Alto, Skov, playing in Jim Harbaugh‘s rugged 3-4 defense, accumulated 146 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, 6 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles. He was simply a beast.
Then the unthinkable happened, and three games into his junior season in 2011, Skov tore his ACL, MCL and fractured his tibia, missing the rest of the season and taking a redshirt. Even after playing in every game last year, Skov wasn’t quite what he was in ’10, leading him to return for a fifth and final season at Stanford in 2013, where he’ll try and get his draft stock back up to what it was prior to his injury.
- By and large a good kid who has had to overcome a lot of difficulties in his personal life.
- Outstanding student both in the classroom and in his film studies.
- An emotional and fiery team leader. Watch a few of his half-time speeches on YouTube, and tell me you don’t want to play next to that guy.
- Very high football IQ. A very smart, instinctive player who regularly makes his proper reads.
- Consistent producer when healthy. Has been a tackling machine since the moment he stepped foot on campus in 2009.
- Ferocious hitter who can really lay the wood and set the tone for the defense.
- Has the size and bulk to take on blockers and hold at the point of attack.
- Very strong run defender. Has a nose for the ball, and plays downhill with good anticipation.
- Outstanding interior blitzer. Has the speed, strength and timing to be burst through and collapse pocket.
- Has quick feet and fluid hips while dropping back into coverage.
- Is efficient playing zone coverage, but is a liability in man.
- Experience playing both inside and outside linebacker spots in an odd front.
- A classic old school, blue collar, throwback kind of linebacker in the mold of Brian Urlacher (though not quite as strong in coverage).
- While a strong blitzer, doesn’t have a wide variety of pass rushing moves or polish.
- Can be a major liability in man coverage, especially depending on matchup.
- Doesn’t have elite agility or straight-line speed. Not a sideline to sideline playmaker.
- Good at shedding blocks at the college level, but will need refinement for the professional level.
- Too often looks for the highlight hit, and doesn’t focus on properly wrapping up.
- Tends to take on ball carriers too high. Needs to play with a lower pad level.
- Injury history an obvious concern. Major knee injury in 2011 (torn ACL, MCL, fractured tibia). Can he regain the explosiveness he showed prior to injury?
- Can he be a three-down linebacker at the NFL level? Or will his limitations in coverage force him to be a two-down thumper (a la Jasper Brinkley playing in a 4-3)?
- Was suspended from the team following a DUI in January of 2012, causing him to miss first game of the season.
2013 Season Outlook
Skov managed to come back healthy from his knee injury in ’11 to play every game in ’12 (minus the first game suspension), but he clearly wasn’t as explosive as he was prior to the injury. Heading into the 2013 season, after further rehab and strengthening exercises, all indications are pointing towards an even bigger, faster and stronger version of Skov. Considering the talent (especially in the front seven) Skov will be playing next to this fall, I have very high expectations for both Skov and the Cardinal. If all goes according to plan, he’ll be in contention for a multitude of postseason awards and All-American status.
In terms of pro prospects, it all comes down to the knee for Skov. Before the injury, he looked like an early first round prospect. Last year, his first back, he looked more like a 3rd or 4th rounder. But this fall, if he can get back that explosiveness he showed in ’10, he could jump back up into first round consideration. His knee is the key to where he’ll be drafted. He’s definitely better suited to play MIKE in a 3-4, but could potentially play MIKE or even SAM in a 4-3, given his strength playing the run (and limitations in coverage).
2014 NFL Draft Projection: 2nd Round, depending on continued recovery from knee injury.
Film Watched: v. Cal (2009, 2012), v. Oklahoma (2009), v. USC (2010, 2012), v. Notre Dame (2010, 2012), v. Virginia Tech (2010), v. UCLA (2012).