NFL Draft Spotlight: Ricky Sapp, OLB, Clemson

by Cory J. Bonini on April 14, 2010 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp will be converted to a 3-4 outside linebacker after he is chosen in the 2010 NFL Draft. The undersized collegiate end will have to transition to playing standing up full time at the next level after a consistent career for the Tigers (139 tackles, 16.0 sacks, 54 QB pressures ).  

Strengths

  • Consistent production
  • Extremely athletic
  • Good closing speed
  • Instinctual
  • Has natural awareness in coverage
  • Should transition well to the 3-4
  • Capable of playing effectively in space
  • Solid tackler

Weaknesses

  • Better athlete than football player
  • Creates pressure off the edge but logged only 16.0 career sacks
  • Lacks strength
  • Despite consistent production, it was low productivity
  • Injury concerns (torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2008 and a host of minor ailments)
  • Doesn't disengage blockers well

Expected draft placement

We haven't seen the dominance from Sapp to be a great pass rusher in the NFL, and questions about his transition to outside linebacker are present. If he's not drafted until the third round, don't be alarmed. Sapp's name value exceeds his on-field value, but that doesn't mean he won't blossom into a regular contributor at the next level - the star power just isn't there, however.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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