This is our Terrell Manning scouting report for all of our other scouting reports check out our scouting report page.
+ Production- 193 tackles and 10 sacks in three years at N.C. State
+ Athleticism- good speed, quickness, and really loose hips
+ Strength- I’m not sure if I have ever seen so much strength from a linebacker as small as he is
+ Instincts- reacts quickly and takes great angles in pursuit
+ Underrated pass rush potential- rarely asked to rush the quarterback, but looks like Clay Matthews when he does blitz
+ Plays with ideal on field intensity
- Crazy small (224lbs outside linebacker)
- Short arms can make tackling and deflecting passes a problem at times
At this point, North Carolina State Junior outside linebacker Terrell Manning is easily the most underrated prospect of the draft. He is loaded with talent and should be great in the NFL.
Manning lacks size, but he is extremely athletic. I’ve never scouted such a small linebacker before, but I sincerely believe that he packs the strength of a strongside linebacker in his 224lb frame, and could legitimately start on the weakside if he added 5lbs. On the other hand hand, 224lbs is as skinny as an outside linebacker prospect in the last 10 years. Although his 4.63 40 is mediocre for a linebacker as small as he is, he looks much faster on film and has outstanding short area quickness, which is much more important than long speed (especially for a linebacker).
Manning has been very productive at N.C. State. He got 76 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2011, with nearly identical numbers in 2010. He also pulled off an impressive 3 interceptions this season, along with 5 pass breakups. His numbers would have been even better had he not missed two games this season due to knee surgery (it’s worth noting that N.C. State’s defense allowed 89 points in those two games without him). I’ve always felt that he was an underrated pass rusher, considering he got 5.5 sacks in spite of the fact he is rarely asked to rush the passer in N.C. State’s 4-3 defense. His stats are among the best of all outside linebackers in the FBS.
Manning seems to have good character. He plays the game with outstanding on field intensity, he has worked hard to understand the game, and I have no knowledge of off the field issues. Character doesn’t seem to be an issue for Manning.
Manning has outstanding instincts. He takes phenomenal angles in pursuit, and reacts extremely quickly to the play. He also knows how to find holes in the blocking scheme, and he is great at timing the delayed blitz. However, I do question his lack of discipline on play-actions and screens.
Manning is an excellent tackler in spite of his lack of size. He plays with great on field intensity, he has phenomenal strength for his size, and he uses ideal tackling fundamentals, always trying to wrap up instead of going for hard hits. He also does a good job of making tackles in traffic. However, he does seem to have a short wingspan, which can make it hard for him to wrap up bigger ball carriers.
Manning is excellent in coverage. He has outstanding lateral agility, he is very quick, and he does an awesome job of reading the quarterbacks eyes. Although he lacks bulk, he does have the height necessary to stay with tight ends in man coverage at the NFL level, and I would argue that he has the speed to even handle some slot receivers. Of course, being destined for weakside linebacker, he probably will spend most of his time covering running backs, which he does very effectively, but he does lack discipline on screen passes. Although he has superb hands, his biggest problem in coverage is his short arms, which hamper his ability to deflect passes.
Manning is a beast when it comes to shedding blocks in any given situation. He understands blocking schemes and knows how to find holes in them. He is a leverage master, who is extremely quick and knows he needs to stay low to shed pass blockers and get to the quarterback, and he uses his hands brilliantly to shed blocks. When he rushes the passer (which he doesn’t do a lot), he reminds of Clay Matthews, because of his clear mastery of leverage (staying low), quickness, and ability to wreak havoc with they delayed blitz. Manning is unlikely to end up in a 3-4 defense, meaning he is unlikely to rush the passer much in the NFL, but I really see a lot of underrated pass rush potential from Manning. Against the run, he always makes sure that he is in position to make a tackle, doing a great job of making tackles in traffic and always being in position to make a tackle after shedding blocks.
Ultimately, I think Terrell Manning is the most underrated prospect of the 2012 draft class. In spite of his lack of size, I still feel he has the potential to dominate as a 4-3 weakside linebacker in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: K.J. Wright with less bulk. Some of you may remember how much I loved Wright last year. Well, like Wright, Manning has excellent speed, strength, and quickness. Like Wright, I think Manning has underrated pass rush potential and is destined for weakside outside linebacker. Like Wright, Manning has put up great numbers in college, and has underrated instincts. And, like Wright, I expect Manning will be a third or fourth round pick that will surprise many people in his rookie season, just like Wright did this year, taking the starting weakside outside linebacker role away from Aaron Curry early in the season and finishing the year 4th on his team in tackles. Manning will do the same.
Grade: 89 (deserves to be an early second round pick)
Projection: 71 (will be a late third round pick)