Scouting Report: Brandon Spikes

Written by Will Spencer on January 10, 2010




Brandon Spikes


Position: ILB School: Florida
Height: 6’2 7/8" Weight: 249 lbs
Class: Senior 40 time: 5.01

Overall Grade:

6.03

Draft Projection:

Late 2nd round


Non-position specific categories


Category

Max. Value

Grade

Height/Weight 6 6
Speed 8 3
Quickness/Agility 10 6.5
Strength/Explosion 10 8.5
Athletic Ability 8 6
Durability 8 7
Character 6 3
Production/Experience 6 5
Toughness 8 7.5
Potential 10 8


Linebacker Specific Categories


Category

Max. Value

Grade

Run Stopping 8 7
Coverage 8 5
Pass Rushing 8 6
Tackling 8 6.5
Instincts 8 7
Hips/Lateral Movement 8 4.5



Explanation of Player Grading System


Strengths

Shows good instincts for an inside linebacker and does a good job with play recognition. Excellent in run support and can usually read blockers to see where the ball carrier will be going. Solid ability to flow to the ball when the ball carrier runs to the outside. Good size for position and shows decent use of upper body strength on the field. Seems to enjoy contact and is usually one of, if not the first player to the ball. Watching the game, Spikes is almost always around the spot the ball carrier was tackled. Has slightly above average ability to clear through traffic when chasing the ball carrier. When play is diagnosed, Spikes can explode towards the ball carrier when running in between the tackles. Above average tackling and usually uses sound fundamentals. Does a decent job in zone coverage, but is limited in range. Aggressive player and an emotional leader.

Weaknesses

Spikes production dropped in 2009, partially due to injury and a one game suspension after an on-field eye gouging incident. When he was on the field, Spikes didn’t seem to play at the level he did in 2008. Can play high at times and will struggle to get off the lead blocker. Straight line speed is below average. Has a hard time flipping his hips to cover larger areas of the field in coverage and man coverage is almost out of the question. Spikes isn’t a big hitter and can tackle too high at times. Gets sucked in on misdirection plays and tends to be over aggressive against the run. In 2009, looked slow to get to the outside against the run and had trouble getting to screen passes. Spikes also had more trouble getting off blocks, especially after a misdirection or play-action. Tape of 2008 games showed a much better player.

Analysis

Spikes could have easily been a first round pick after his junior season, but decided to stay for 2009. That may have been a mistake on his part. Weaknesses in Spikes’ game were exposed in 2009 and his abilities against the pass are marginal at best right now. Spikes has a lot of work to do if he wants teams to look at him as a three down linebacker and could see a Rey Maualuga type drop on draft day. In fact, many aspects of Maualuga and Spikes’ games are similar, but Maualuga was a much better hitter and tackler than Spikes. Spikes could also be compared to Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis who also could have been a first round draft pick after his junior season, but was exposed during his senior season (and also chose to not attend the Senior Bowl, further affecting his stock). Spikes certainly has a good amount of experience in a very difficult conference and has shown the work ethic and desire to be a better player. He could make an immediate impact as a special teams player and a rotational linebacker for an NFL team. Spikes would benefit from playing as a true “mike” backer in a 4-3 defense as having two large defensive tackles in front of him would help keep blockers from latching on. However, he may work as an inside backer in a 3-4 system with the right team, but probably lacks the speed to remain effective in the position. Spikes decided not to run the 40 at the combine, only to run a 5.01 40 at his pro day, which hurts his draft stock immensely.

Experience

Spikes has started at Florida for three years, and saw action in nine games as a freshman.

Awards and Honors

2009: Butkus Award finalist. 2nd team AP All-American team.
2008: Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist. Consensus first team All-American.
2007: First team All-SEC.
2006: n/a

Academics

Anthropology major at Florida.

Injuries

Missed three games in 2009 with a groin injury. Spikes also missed the 2008 season opener with a foot injury.


Career Stats
Year Tack Solo Asst Sack FF Int TD
2009 52 26 26 3 0 2 2
2008 87 48 39 2 0 4 2
2007 131 81 50 1 1 0 0
2006 15 9 6 0 0 0 0






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Will Spencer

Will is the founder and President of Draft Breakdown & has been scouting draft prospects since 2002. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including the USA Today Draft Preview Magazine, the official website of the Baltimore Ravens, Ravens Insider and The Orange and Brown Report. Will has previous playing experience as a defensive end in the AFA, is currently a member of the Football Writers Association of America and graduated from the SMWW Football Scouting course in 2009. See all posts by Will Spencer.