Mack Brown swears Vince Young told him in the locker room after Texas' national title victory over USC that VY was coming back to UT for his final year of eligibility. What if VY really did come back? How would things be different for Texas, for Young, for Mack Brown, even for someone like Ramonce...[details]
The Good: A smart, instinctive linebacker who reads and reacts quickly and consistently flows toward the football. Showcases good footwork inside and displays ideal technique at the point of attack. Is very smooth and compact in his back-pedal and does a good job getting in and out of his breaks. Does a good job click and closing on the pass with the ability to consistently make plays down the field. Great open-field tackler, rarely misses in space. The Bad: Needs to add more bulk and power in his base. Has an ability to take on blockers in the hole but struggles shedding their blocks consistently. Doesn't always take the best angles in pursuit.
Positives: Good instincts and intelligence. Extremely competitive and elevates the play of teammates. Does not take plays off. Sees plays developing and is not easily fooled by play-action fakes. Flows fast to the ball. Good lateral pursuit. Plays with consistent intensity. Knee bender who plays with nice balance - protects his legs and plays on his feet. Gets great fits. Fights to get off blocks. Is a secure, wrap-up tackler. Good coverage skills - reads the quarterback and shows a good feel for zones. Always around the ball. Very durable - has not missed any time to injury. Student of the game. Very motivated to improve. Outstanding character. Led all inside linebackers in the 3-cone drill (6.93) at the Combine. Negatives: Not stout at the point of attack and gives ground to get off blocks. Stays blocked too long and lacks violence in his hands. Has thin ankles. Does not sift through traffic efficiently. Can be late disengaging from larger blockers and lacks power inside. Could be more aggressive pressing the line of scrimmage and playing downhill. Not a striker. Just an average blitzer - struggles to gain the edge. A respected, vocal leader with a passion for the game, Laurinaitis would have been a top-10 selection had he declared as a junior. Will not be the first linebacker drafted this year but will not last beyond the first round thanks to a desirable makeup. Although recent products have watered down the reputation of Ohio State linebackers, Laurinaitis is a low-risk prospect whose consistency and dependability will give decision makers comfort knowing exactly what they are getting. Was not special at the Combine, but he is too instinctive, assignment-sound and versatile not to contribute immediately. Lacks the physicality required to play in a 3-4 but has the speed and range to play all three spots in a 4-3 and likely fits best on the weak side for a team like the Buccaneers, Colts or Saints. A better football player than athlete, Laurinaitis is similar to Vikings 2006 18th overall pick Chad Greenway. Grade: First-round talent.