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Scouting The Draft: Jake Ryan, ILB/OLB, Michigan

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Today we take a look at a linebacker with a lot of talent and upside. He may not be making a lot of noise, but we should still take notice.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction

Jacob Ryan was born February 27th, 1992 in an accomplished football family. Jake's brother Connor was a receiver for Ball State, his father a receiver for Wake Forest and hi grandfather was a defensive tackle who went on to play in the Canadian Football League. The game has been in his blood since birth, and Jake set out to surpass them all. Ryan went to St. Ignatius High School in Ohio. This is one of the bigger High School power houses in the country. He led his team in tackles, and helped them to a state championship. Ryan also earned Defensive Player of the Year for his district.

Ryan had offers from schools such as Ball State, Toledo and a few other small schools. He probably would have wound up going to one of them if it wasn't for some late interest from Michigan. There are a number of players from St. Ignatius that went on to play at Michigan. It is this connection that probably give Jake an in. Ryan didn't play a single game in 2010, and redshirted his freshman year. In 2011, Jake played in all 13 games and earned himself a place on the Big Ten All Freshmen Team.

In Jake's 2nd season of play, he fought his way to leading the team in tackles. This led the way to an All-Big Ten second team honorable mention. Prior to Ryan's 3rd year, he tore his ACL during spring practices. This kind of injury usually takes a full year to heal, but Jake was cleared to play by October 7th. After a year to get back to full health, the table was set for Ryan to have a dominating senior season. He came through magnificently. He started all 12 games and made the All-Big Ten first team. He once again led the team in tackles.

Measurables

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 236

Class: Senior

Projected 40 Time: 4.77

Stats

Year Tackles TFL Sacks QB Hurries INT FF
2014 112 14 2 5 1 2
2013 30 4.5 0 3 0 0
2012 88 16.5 5 2 0 5
2011 37 11 3 0 0 1

Positives

  • High Football IQ
  • Always around the ball
  • His range is above average
  • Takes good angles
  • Can fight off blocks on the edge
  • Can play a number of linebacker positions
  • Good at jamming at the line
  • A secure wrap tackler
  • Very good instincts
  • Identifies the ball carrier quickly
  • Decent bull rusher

Negatives

  • Can be swallowed up by bigger linemen in the middle
  • Not amazing at any one thing
  • Needs to improve his coverage skills
  • Has an ACL history
  • Lacks pure speed

Conclusion

Jake Ryan is a ride or die kind of guy. He will fight for his team, pride and glory. He won't make bone chilling hits, or win with superior athleticism, but he will always be around the ball carrier. If you have a ball in your hands, you better be tossing around the thought that Jake Ryan is closing in on you. If not, he'll be there, and down you will go. I don't exactly see a particularly strong inside linebacker class this year, so a guy like Jake Ryan probably won't drop too far. I am thinking somewhere between the 4th or 5th round is a safe place to place him. Even if we do bring back David Harris for a short-term stint, the Jets need a replacement. Jake Ryan can start out as a 2 down guy, and grow into his role as he matures in an NFL defense.

Draft Grade: 71

90-100 = Exceptional Talent

80-90 = Impact Player

70-80 = NFL Starter

60-70 = Solid NFL Potential

50-60 = Draftable - Lot of work needed

>50 = Undraftable, - Long Shot To Stick