Kent State – Mandela Lawrence-Burke, Linebacker, Redshirt Senior
After moving around from safety to wide receiver to eventually linebacker, Mandela Lawrence-Burke found his place in the Kent State defense and has made the most of it. Now heading into his second year at the position, he could start to hit his stride even more.
Having a safety and wide receiver background provides Lawrence-Burke with an interesting skill set for the linebacker position that is intriguing. His frame and style could easily fit into the safety-linebacker hybrid that is becoming more common at the NFL level. It also played a role in him being able to snag an interception last year as well as having two pass break-ups.
However, the most impressive part of Lawrence-Burke’s 2019 season was his tackle total. With 104 on the year, he led the Golden Flashes in his first season as a linebacker. He was also able to add 5.5 tackles for loss on top of four sacks. His stat line wasn’t finished there either, adding a quarterback hurry, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Being able to do so much across the field while also being a solid tackler should make Lawrence-Burke a prospect to watch for the 2020 season. He seems like the prototypical late-round flier that ends up having a niche role in the NFL.