Sean Spence has long been classified as an overachiever due to his diminutive stature for a linebacker. Still, he was nothing but solid and consistent for the Miami Hurricanes, notching over 300 tackles in his career at The U, and impressive enough for Kevin Colbert and the Steelers to spend their third-round selection on the 230-pound 'backer.
Beyond his consistency, Spence made big-time plays, tackling the opposition for loss 47 times in his career, which is surprising considering he is average at best in his strength and speed. Spence impressed nobody at the combine in putting up only 12 reps on the 225-pound bench press, and running only a 4.71 40.
The lackluster performance doesn't do justice to the impact Spence can have on the field. On a defense full of speed and strength, Spence still managed to be voted the Most Outstanding Defensive Player above his Hurricane teammates.
Here is what Rob Rang from CBS Sports had to say about Spence:
Read & React: Probably his best asset. Excellent diagnosing skills. Is rarely out of position even against quality play-action, though he can be too aggressive in attacking the hole, leaving cutback lanes for talented backs. Shoots gaps, escaping blocks of the behemoth offensive lineman to rack up tackles at (or often behind) the line of scrimmage. Sniffs out screens and draws quickly. High-effort player who hustles to the ball in pursuit. Is seemingly always around the action.
Spence will most likely start his NFL career as a weak-side linebacker and, due to his size, would need to have an incredibly productive training camp and preseason to break into a starting role.
However, the intangibles for this student of the game are extremely high, and any starter unlucky enough to go down with an injury might not get their job back once replaced by Spence.
Whatever the case, joining the Steelers' loaded veteran linebacking corps, including the likes James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, is about as good a spot as there is to be for a young 'backer coming into the league. Spence will learn quickly how to be an NFL player.