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Vikings Select Vanderbilt LB Stephen Weatherly In Round 7 of the 2016 NFL Draft



Weatherly possesses one of the more unique family and personal backgrounds among the 2016 draft class, with a grandmother who graduated from Harvard and MIT and the ability to play six musical instruments. On the field, he has grown from a rotation defensive end as a redshirt freshman in 2013 (19 tackles, five for loss, 3.5 sacks) to part-time starter as a 3-4 linebacker (nine starts, 55 tackles, 12.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks) to a team leader (46 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks). Having nearly completed his degree, Weatherly decided after the season to move on to the NFL as an early draft entrant.


20-yard short shuttle: 4.42 seconds

3-cone drill: 7.07 seconds


Long-limbed frame with wide hips and a big bubble should handle more muscle. Has experience with a hand down or standing up. Used as A-­gap blitzer at times and showed some slippery to knife through on occasion. Tall and can peek over the fray to find the ball. Closes off the edge to the ball like a freight train when unblocked. Long legs help him range around field and close ground against hesitant runners.


Open-side rusher at Vanderbilt lacking upfield burst. False step, pre-­rush slows him in the race. Rushes with hesitation rather than cutting it loose. Play strength could benefit from greater bend and leverage at the point of attack. Doesn’t utilize length and an effective punch as often as he could. Stays wired to blocks for too long.


Rounds 5 or 6


Quanterus Smith 


Weatherly has the size and overall length to intrigue NFL teams as a developmental prospect, but he will need additional work to become a more competitive pass rusher off the edge. If he can add functional strength while maintaining his closing burst, he may have a role as a backup strong­side OLB in a 3­-4 with a shot at competing as an eventual starter.

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