Baltimore Ravens' 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Kenny Ladler

By Jermaine Lockett
Kenny Ladler
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There is plenty of talk about the Baltimore Ravens selecting a safety first with the 17th pick in this year’s draft.What happens if the player they had in mind gets snatched up early and they take someone else based on best available player?The need for a ball-hawk will still remain, and they will have to wait until a later round to grab someone else. Fortunately there are good players all throughout this draft, and one who needs to be up for consideration is Vanderbilt’s Kenny Ladler.

I watched the tape on this gentleman and I am not blown away like I was when watching Deone Bucannon or Calvin Pryor; however I see an intelligent football player who knows how to bait QBs into making a mistake. Five interceptions during the 2013 season speak to that.Not to mention his five forced fumbles to add on.He is definitely an opportunistic safety with a nose for the ball.

There are a few snags that come with drafting this center fielder.Ladler tends to cheat up a bit once the ball is snapped.As a safety you are the last line of defense.If you get beat, the scoreboard usually will change. Ladler has a habit of letting players get slightly behind him in coverage; he relies on closing speed once the ball is in the air to catch the receiver.That will not fly at the next level with his lack of speed as Ladler ran a 40-time of 4.70 at the combine.

Ladler takes inconsistent tackle angles and sometimes pulls up when making the tackle.I know free safeties are more about getting after the pass, but Ladler is a timid tackler who may get destroyed by NFL running backs if he doesn’t man up and hit someone with some passion. You figure at 6 feet tall, he’d be bringing a bit more thunder behind his blows to the ball carrier.I am not saying he doesn’t tackle because his 60 solo stops from 2013 prove that he can wrap up.I am saying he needs to send a message when he hits an opponent.

Overall Ladler is a smart, safe player who needs to be more aggressive.I project him being selected by the Ravens in the fifth round.Once he gets to Baltimore, hopefully the leaders there can get him to be more aggressive.

Jermaine Lockett is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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