At a position of undervalued importance, Josh LeRibeus could be one of the more undervalued prospects. A victim of the academic rigors of Southern Methodist University, LeRibeus played the 2010 season on the practice squad as a result of classroom struggles the previous year.
Had the 6'2" 311-pound guard enjoyed the opportunity to build on his honorable-mention All-Conference sophomore season, he could have entered the draft with a substantially higher ranking.
Still, LeRibeus displayed tremendous heart as he shed weight and returned for a successful senior campaign at guard for the Mustangs. In three years as a starter, LeRibeus consistently earned his position on the field and his newfound dedication earned his teammates' respect in the 2010-11 offseason.
Shedding 70 pounds before last season demonstrated that LeRibeus not only possesses the internal fortitude to recognize his mistakes (as opposed to blaming teachers, coaches or teammates), but also the intensity and discipline to follow through.
With concerns about his athleticism circling, LeRibeus' dedication to fitness not only helped him fulfill his personal goal of regaining his position on the Mustang offensive line, it also solidified his position as a quality offensive guard prospect in the 2012 draft class.
Strengths: Physical strength, determination and discipline. LeRibeus could immediately contribute at guard. Additionally, should LeRibeus struggle upon arrival, the SMU Mustang has demonstrated his character in the face of adversity and certainly would go down swinging.
Weaknesses: Scouts still question LeRibeus' ability to engage in space, and while his comeback displayed incredible commitment and discipline, one must double-check on any student who missed a season for off-field issues—even if they're as affable as LeRibeus.
That said, LeRibeus has the raw ability to develop into a starter or capable backup at guard, especially if he continues to approach his football career with the same dedication he showed as a senior at SMU. While his weight-room strength is above-average at 29 bench press repetitions, LeRibeus' on-field strength makes him a potentially very nice "value" pick.
Considering the Redskins gave up the kitchen sink to get RG3 on their roster, it's only logical they try to add some pieces to protect their investment. Sure, LeRibeus has some work to do and has to prove doubters wrong on his maturity, but his upside was obviously enough to make Washington bite.
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