Jan 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Courtney Upshaw (41) tries to elude the blocking of LSU Tigers offensive tackle Alex Hurst (72) during the first half of the 2012 BCS National Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
With the 35th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens have selected Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama
Here is our report on Upshaw:
pros–Big LB prospect… plays with passion… hard hitter… playmaker…team leader,…versatile player who can play inside, outside, rush the passer…play the run…explosive off the edge…can put hand on the ground…Good, solid bull rush…instinctive, makes good reads in the run game…looks like he has long arms…
Cons–What position will he play in the NFL? Can he play sideline to sideline with NFL athletes on a consistent basis? (doesn’t possess great speed)…Versatile, but better, more natural pass rusher as an OLB…What happens when he isn’t protected as well as he is with such a talented D at Alabama?…He’s not going to be a great coverage linebacker…was arrested in 2009 (not suspended)…does not have great agility
Absolute beast of a linebacker prospect who might be best fit as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Teams might ask him to lose a little bit of weight to improve his ability in coverage, but he is the top inside linebacker in the 2012 class of players. Imposing physical talent who really emerged as a star in 2010 when he was a first time starter. Hard-nosed mentality, and could draw comparisons to Ray Lewis. Effective in pass rush and especially effective against the run. Has excelled in every role he has played for Alabama
Upshaw is a versatile linebacker prospect who really plays the game in a hard-nosed way who has a passion to get after the quarterback. He’s a better outside linebacker than defensive end (a little short for a defensive end), but can still make plays from the defensive end position. I think he’d be a great fit for a team like the Arizona Cardinals, and he should be drafted at some point in the first round, potentially in the top 10 if no other Rush linebacker emerges from this class.
Pick Grade: A+
This is phenomenal value for a great team getting an All-American defender who inexplicably fell out of the first round. Good luck to opposing teams of the Ravens, who continue to find great value after the first round.