By Alex Kozora
With the regular season over, our focus has shifted to the offseason. For the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on prospects. Some the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at. Other top players that will be off the board before the Steelers select. All to make you as prepared for the 2014 NFL Draft as possible.
We’ll return with a marquee name today. Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov.
Shayne Skov/ILB Stanford: 6’3 245
- Playmaker, seems to always make a splash play
- Good anticipation/awareness, times snap count well and gets hands up to knock passes down
- Smart, takes good angles to the ball
- Hard hitter and sound tackler, wraps up and drives with lower half
- Overall, good job of getting off blocks
- Technician in his backpedal, able to get low, stays low on the move
- Did not come off the field often, three down player
- Good motor
- Used on blitzes/Fire Stunts
- Experience on special teams, even in his senior season
- Fairly decorated career
- Lots of starting experience
- Build seems just average, doesn’t have a lot of bulk
- Nothing special as an athlete, does not have a lot of speed
- Will have some trouble shedding blocks
- Needs to play with proper pad level more consistently and show more active hands
- Strength is just ok, perhaps a tick above average
- Doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher
- Injury history
- Some off the field issues
- 37 career starts
- 109 tackles, 13 TFL senior season
- First Team All-Pac 12 in 2013, 2nd Team AP All-American
- Tore ACL, MCL, and fractured his tibia in left knee in 2011, playing only three games, needing three surgeries to recover
- Returned in time to start 13 games in 2012
- Arrested for DUI January 29th, 2012, pleading no contest and eventually fined and sent to a “diversion program”
- Suspended for the 2012 season opener and suspended from school for the 2013 spring quarter
- Missed two games due to injury in 2010
- Hyperextended right knee in 2013 but did not miss a game
- Team captain in 2013
- Played on punt coverage senior year
The scouting report really doesn’t tell the whole story. Skov is one of those guys you just have to watch play to get the full effect. He is not uniquely athletic or big. But each game you watch him, he has a hand in changing the game.
I watched three of Skov’s games from 2013. Against UCLA, he blows up this zone read, nearly tackling the QB and RB at once.
Versus third ranked Oregon, he forces a fumble and recovers it with the Ducks driving down by two scores (It was reviewed but stood as a fumble).
And in the bowl game against Michigan State, with the game tied and the Spartans driving, Skov forced a fumble the Cardinal recovered.
In that sense, he’s similar to Jarvis Jones. Skov will not blow scouts away at the Combine. He’s going to run an average 40 time. He’ll be smooth in the “pass drop” drill but he doesn’t have the most fluid hips and is not a gifted athlete. But if what he did in college is an indication, he’s going to be a leader that you want on your side.
His backstory is complicated and it would take a novel to attempt to summarize it all. Check out this Sports Illustrated profile on Skov that details his life, from living in Mexico for three years to his time in college.
I’m projecting here and obviously do not know him as a person, but despite the DUI, don’t think he is a bad kid or a character problem. It’s an isolated mistake. One he paid the price for and moved on, hopefully to become a better person from it. The SI story illustrates how Skov handled his time away from school, spending it with his siblings. That is the response you want from a person. Not one that spirals downward.
As noted in the negatives, he will get pushed around and is not the strongest. Example of it in the Oregon game where he loses leverage and can’t disengage.
And you can bet he’ll go through the gauntlet of medical testing at the Combine as teams evaluate his left knee. That will be the most important thing he does at Indianapolis.
My brain says I’m lukewarm on him, but my heart says yes. Guys in the locker room will instantly gravitate towards him. I would not want to have to play against Shayne Skov on Sundays.
Projection: Early 2nd (think Manti Te’o range)
Games Watched: vs UCLA, vs Oregon, vs Michigan St (Bowl)