2012 NFL Scouting Report: Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

by Cory J. Bonini on February 9, 2012 @ 11:06:23 PDT

 


Alabama's Courtney Upshaw is a disruptive pass rusher and is as versatile as any defender in the 2012 NFL Draft class. The senior can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up and has been productive, especially against stiff competition. 

Courtney Upshaw, OLB/DE, Alabama
Amazing versatility

Strengths

  • Extremely versatile - can play rush or inside linebacker in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defensive end
  • Great awareness - locates the ball with ease
  • Plays with hustle - pursues plays with tenacity
  • Natural pass rusher
  • Excellent swim move - also has a strong rip move because of his violent hands
  • Explosive tackler - powerful drive, strong upper body
  • Agile for his size (6-foot-2, 265 pounds)
  • Special teams coverage experience
  • Charitable - set up the 411 Fund to help tornado victims
  • High motor - relentless player

Weaknesses

  • Was arrested for domestic violence against his girlfriend in 2009 - charges were ultimately dropped
  • Will struggle in man-to-man coverage
  • Initial burst isn't particularly impressive
  • Is not overly athletic
  • Short arms - lacks overall size of a prototypical 3-4 edge rusher

Expected draft placement

Upshaw will draw interest from a variety of teams because of his versatility. The Buffalo Bills (No. 10), now employing a 4-3 alignment, will strongly consider him to play defensive end. He could be selected in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys (No. 14) if Anthony Spencer defects in free agency. Upshaw may also be on the radar of the Arizona Cardinals (No. 13), New York Jets (No. 16) and San Diego Chargers (No. 18).

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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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