Steelers Linebacker Measurables Over The Years Compared To 2012 Top Linebackers

I was doing some research on measurables of linebackers that the Pittsburgh Steelers have drafted over the years just for comparison purposes and I figured I would go ahead and make a post out of the results and add in the top linebackers this year for comparison purposes. Let me disclaimer here that combine and pro day results are numbers that should reflect what a scout sees on tape. You can\’t judge a player on how fast he runs and how well he jumps in shorts. The numbers are fun to play with, but tape of a player does not lie.

The numbers below show the best result a player had at either their combine or pro day. Remember that times are subjective too, as it all depends on who is timing the player, or how accurate the timing equipment is being used. Also a player could have run a 40 on a fast track with or against the wind in addition. Numbers like bench press reps, vertical jump and broad jump, are what they are.

The last two columns represent the players lateral agility number and explosion rate. The explosion rate is calculated by adding together bench reps, vertical jump distance and broad jump length distance. The lateral agility number is derived by subtracting the short shuttle time from the 40 time. The greater the numbers, the better, or so some scouts say.

I should note that I could not find a broad jump number on Larry Foote and Dont\’a Hightower did not lift at the combine or either of his two pro days because of an injury. I put in the number 19 for Hightower on the bench, as that was the last recorded bench number I could find on him. I believe he said at his first or second pro day that he thought he could do 20 plus reps, but have not seen an official number on him.

What is interesting about Hightower is that he weighs the most of any inside linebacker on the list and is 13 pounds heavier than the second place Bruce Davis. His 40 time was not bad compared to the other inside linebackers on the list despite his weight, but as you can see, Mychal Kendricks recorded the fastest time out of all linebackers listed. Most of the criticism you hear about Hightower is that he flips his hips poorly and that he has poor lateral movement to go along with poor change of direction. The lack of lateral movement does show up on tape and is evidenced in the numbers by his slow short shuttle time. His lateral agility number is only .04, the worst of the inside linebackers on this list. Kendrell Bell, however, only had a .14 lateral agility number and he was pretty damn good until injuries dragged him down. Depending on what number you want to put Hightower down for his bench, his explosion number comes in between 61-65 more than likely. Bell, Kendricks, Luke Kuechly and Lawrence Timmons were all 70 plus with Kuechly leading the way.

As far as outside linebackers go, Nick Perry has a very nice explosive number of 83.54 and if you have seen tape on him, you know that number does not lie. He is very impressive off the snap, has impressive straight line speed and gets into the man responsible for blocking him with power. His lateral movement is not great though, nor is his change of direction. It is not bad mind you, just not great. If it were better, Perry would likely be a top 10 pick as either a defensive end in a 4-3 or an outside linebacker in a 3-4. You may have heard me compare him on the podcast to LaMarr Woodley, but he just isn\’t as agile in my opinion and plays much stiffer.

Judging by the measurables of Thaddeus Gibson, it leaves you to wonder why he never made it. Football intelligence? I remember watching college tape on him and never thought that. He did tend to negate his speed at times by taking too many false steps, and he certainly could have stood to add some weight, but had he good weight room strength and showed fluid hips. I was surprised he vanished so quickly and never caught on permanently elsewhere. He is a perfect example of why you just can\’t go by the measurables.

The Steelers have had Hightower, Kendricks and Perry in for pre draft visits along with outside linebackers Andre Branch and Cam Johnson. Jerrell Harris was also brought in and he played both inside and outside at Alabama. It figures the Steelers could be setting up to draft one of each again this year. Will it be Perry, Hightower or even Courtney Upshaw in the first round? Maybe Kendricks or Branch in round two? We don\’t have much longer to wait to get that answer. We can have fun with the numbers in the mean time, but that\’s all they are, numbers. The game tape means much, much more.

Let me know if anything sticks out to you.

ILBMychal Kendricks2012?51122404.472439.510.074.140.3373.57
ILBLuke Kuechly2012?60242424.58273810.034.120.4675.03
ILBLawrence Timmons2007160072344.63253510.034.320.3170.03
ILBKendrell Bell2001260122344.642438.510.044.50.1472.54
ILBMike Humpal2008660242444.68203810.024.190.4968.02
ILB Dont\’a Hightower2012?60222654.6819339.094.640.0461.09
ILBStevenson Sylvester2010560212314.712330.
ILBBruce Davis2008360252524.7819329.114.470.3160.11
ILBLarry Foote2002460072314.832430N/A4.410.42N/A
OLBJason Worilds2010260122544.4924389.14.130.3671.1
OLBThaddeus Gibson2010460202434.5832329.074.270.3173.07
OLBChris Carter2011560112484.5827369.064.340.2472.06
OLBNick Perry2012?60262714.643538.510.044.66-0.0283.54
OLBNathaniel Adibi2004560322544.6524339.14.360.2966.1
OLBRian Wallace2005560222414.731035.59.043.970.7654.54
OLBLaMarr Woodley2007260142664.742938.59.094.420.3276.59
OLBCourtney Upshaw2012?60142724.7422279.014.60.1458.01
OLBMelvin Ingram2012?60142644.792834.
OLBAlonzo Jackson2003260402664.8614379.064.50.3660.06
OLBClark Haggans2000560332534.972031.
OLBRoger Knight200166002245N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

  • Derick

    Bruce Davis reminder, ehhh

  • SteelersBall

    Cool. Can’t wait to see where Kenricks, kuechly, perry, upshaw and Ingram get picked in the draft and how they do on the field. kendricks speed and perry’s exp numbers look interesting

  • mghjr88

    I would like to see some of the measureables/numbers on guys like James Harrison, James Farrior, Greg Lloyd, Joey Porter etc.. Any way someone could dig that info up?

  • Nick Perry vs Dont’a Hightower

    Hightower: 40 – 4.68, SS – 4.64, 3-cone – 7.55
    Perry: 40 – 4.64, SS – 4.66, 3-cone – 7.25

    Nick Perry, a DE, has better mobility that Dont’a Hightower.

  • PSUGuy

    How exactly does Lateral Agility = 40 Time – Shuttle Time make any sense?

    A guy with a high number could just be very slow (large 40 time). What’s more looking over you see no correlation of statistic to production. Haggans was a decent, but not great, OLB with .76 and Woodley has a .32. As a method of determining agility I just don’t see how this metric produces meaningful results.

    IMO, why aren’t you looking at Cone drill numbers? While the shuttle is useful for determining hip flip ability and short area acceleration it tends to be more suited to determining how well a person is going to be in man coverage or on the offensive side how quickly a player can make cuts. The cone on the other hand forces the player to change direction repeatedly and stay under control the entire time…more accurately reflecting “every” football player’s need to flow, “work through trash”, and finally “explode” to finish the play.

  • steelersinfodotcom

    I have great respect for you and your excellent reporting and website. What is missing is Ronnell Lewis. His nickname at Oklahoma is “the hammer” and his bench press of 36 at the combine is greater than anyone on your chart. I won’t bore you with the other stats but in almost every statistic, he fairs very well. In my opinion, the Steelers should grab this sleeper and move him inside. I do believe he has Pro Bowl ability and just needs coached up by the crack Steeler coaching staff. His negatives include a lack of maturity which is related to some missed classes. The poor kid was driving a ton of miles this week trying to assist his family with serious issues. In High chool, the week before a championship game, he was riding in a rodeo to get money for the family. He got bucked by the bull and had staples in his head. The championship game was played with over a dozen staples in his head. Tough kid that tows the line when his team needs him? steelersinfodotcom

  • RW

    I can’t believe Worilds is that fast… he doesn’t play like it.

  • SteelerNationVA

    Inside LB is different than OLB. Can you a add stats for Kirkland, Farrior and other recently selected ILB by other teams in the 1st 3 rounds.

    Comparing ILB to OLB is like comparing a NT to a regular DT or a 3-4 DE. Different positions.

    The other thing that can’t be measured is football inteligence.

  • Thom Kay

    Thaddeus Gibson, Jason Worilds, and Chris Carter (the last three OLB’s we’ve taken) all had sub-7.0 second 3-cone drills, which is exceptional for a LB/DE.

    Melvin Ingram, Bruce Irvin, and Vinny Curry are the only highly rated pass rushers to do that this year.

  • SteelerNationVA

    A DE/OLB plays in space. ILB must play in the box. Just like comparing a LT to a RG.

  • SteelerNationVA

    Bruce Davis was an DE in college who was “projected as an OLB” not ILB. He just had no brains or motivation. 2 minor problems.

  • ILB’s are being asked to cover more than ever, which is why mobility is becoming so important at the position. The Ravens and Patriots try to force match ups, where the Steelers ILB’s have to cover a TE, or RB. The Steelers need inside backers who can hang with a TE in coverage.

  • mghjr88

    Worilds 40 times varied greatly leading up to the draft. He was clocked as low as 4.49(pro day) and as high as 4.72+(combine).

  • mghjr88

    I also think Lewis could make the transition to the inside. I have thrown his name out there a number of times, but few seem to agree. The only problem with him seems to be his maturity, but that can obviously be a big problem. He apparently didn’t see eye to eye with the coaching staff at Oklahoma and that most likely has a lot to do with the reports concerning character issues.

  • LOC

    check out his SackSeer projection.

  • steelersinfodotcom

    SackSEER is a very interesting tool. Thank you for sharing and it’s nice to see that SackSEER supports our positive evaluation of Ronnell Lewis

  • Good stuff here Dave (as usual) but the first thing I thought of before I scrolled down was the 10yd split times for pass rushers. I hear Polian talk about it on NFL radio. I remember Worilds having a WR-like split. Looked it up and it was 1.56 – a 100th of a sec better than Von Miller and Dontay Moch last year. I think we’re going to see big things from Worilds this year. He just needs to learn how to finish.