Round | Team | Pos. | School | Name
LB (6-2, 247, 4.7)
Is an explosive pursuit player. Is at his best when turned loose to rush the quarterback or pursue the run in space. Has very good initial quickness. First and second step quickness are impressive. Explodes out of his stance and beats most OT's off the snap of the ball. Anticipates the snap well and consistently gets good jumps. He has good speed to turn the corner as a pass rusher in the NFL. He also has excellent closing burst when rushing the passer. Has a real knack for getting pressure on QB's. Has developed a solid array of pass rush moves and will do a good job of working outside-in. Plays with a terrific motor and never gives up on a play. Will make a lot of plays in the running game when chasing from behind. Is an intelligent player with good discipline. Has excellent recognition skills. Plays within himself, doesn't take himself out of plays by getting too far upfield, and has a nose for the ball. Rarely see him taking poor angles or getting out of position. Will do a great job of sealing off the backside and will rarely get caught over-pursuing. Is a bit of a one-dimensional up-the-field player. Must add bulk and lower body strength. Needs to do a better job of using his hands to keep separation and to disengage. Has adequate strength but doesn't play with enough leverage when stacking at the POA versus the run. Biggest concern is in coverage. Lacks experience. Looks a bit stiff in the hips. Needs time to improve recognition skills in that facetBlackstock spent one year at Fork Union Military Academy after high school and before enrolling at UVA in 2002. He immediately became a starter at the OLB position in coach Al Groh's 3-4 scheme and was a fulltime starter throughout his three collegiate seasons. As a junior in 2004, Blackstock 45 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, including 11 sacks. In three seasons at UVA he combined for 44 TFL and 27 sacks. Blackstock has limitations in terms of his experience and fluidity in coverage. He'll need to continue to improve his technique and lower body strength in order to better defend the run, as well. However, Blackstock has a natural ability to rush the passer and he is also a very disruptive run-stopper when allowed to get up the field and pursue. Blackstock is disciplined, coachable and a hard-worker, which should allow him to make a smooth transition to the next level. His ideal fit would be as a 3-4 OLB in the NFL but he also has the potential to develop into a starting SLB in a 4-3 scheme if he can get bigger and become more consistent at the point of attack as a run defender. Regardless, Blackstock should contribute immediately as a situational pass rusher at the next level and, largely as a result; he projects as a second round draft choice.
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