Zack Follett Scouting Report

LB Zack Follett (California) - Round 7, Pick No. 235

One of my favorite picks of the draft came in the seventh round. After already selecting an offensive tackle with their first selection of the seventh round, the Lions decided to draft their second linebacker of the day with the 235th pick. Like DeAndre Levy, the LB selected earlier in the day, Zack Follett was technically an outside linebacker in college. The difference between the two is that Follett played some MLB at Cal, though I believe that was mainly in the 3-4. Regardless, Follett has a ton of potential and is a big hitter. I don't care what people say about his technique, he gets to the ball and makes his target pay when delivering a hit. The best way to describe his play is by saying that he has a mean streak at all times.

Experts' Opinions

Best trait per Scouts Inc.:

Flashes effective power moves coming off the edge and quick enough to turn the corner working against most NFL right tackles but doesn't show a variety of pass rush moves and could do a better job of setting offensive tackles up to the outside before redirecting inside.

SI.com:

POSITIVES: Instinctive linebacker who plays with good instincts. Breaks down well, quick in his head, and immediately locates the ball. Effective in run defense, fires up the field, and wraps up tackling. Tough, and works hard to get involved in the action.

NEGATIVES: Displays marginal skill in pursuit and lacks speed to the sidelines. Struggles in coverage, displaying a poor backpedal and average ball skills.

Avinash of California Golden Blogs:

Zack's best strength is his pass rushing ability, to get off the edge and plant the quarterback down. He loved coming off the side and taking the quarterback out when he was called upon to do so. He's very athletic. He gets very pumped up for games, and he's capable of making game-changing plays on defense (he played a huge part in several California victories last season). He has played in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, so he is flexible in terms of understanding each formation regardless of where you put him.

Some of his more noticeable weaknesses include coverage and passing defense; he sometimes lets the receiver fall behind him and he plays the scheme rather than the man. His huge aggressiveness can sometimes be a detriment, because once he makes a big play he struts a little bit and doesn't exactly listen to the whistle (you'll see examples of this in the highlights).

Also, the fall in the draft for Zack might have been due to his neck issues.

For more on Follett from California Golden Blogs, click here.

Videos

Career highlights:

Senior Bowl practice (includes Follett making a play on Pettigrew in coverage):

More:

Outlook for 2009

Follett is a versatile linebacker that will probably be nothing more than depth this season. He definitely has potential, though. If he can stay healthy and work on his technique, he may be able to climb up the depth chart someday. Like I said already, he gets to the ball and makes plays. If he can improve his technique, then he will have a great skill set to go along with his aggressive, hard-hitting attitude.

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