Sean Porter is one of the most dynamic linebackers in the draft. With experience in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, Porter will be coveted as a versatile defender.
Porter is at his best on the outside when he can rush the passer. He is quick off the line and can use his speed to get to the quarterback, but he is not a one-dimensional linebacker. Porter also has the ability to drop into coverage, which will suit him well when he enters the NFL.
Here are the top plays from Sean Porter’s college career.
Porter flashed his speed rush at the end of the half to sack future first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden.
With only one defensive lineman in the three-point stance, odds were not in Porter’s favor to get to the quarterback. That was not the case, as he cleanly beat the left tackle to sack Weeden.
The ability to beat left tackles with his speed rush was a trademark for Porter over his career at Texas A&M.
Porter isn’t just a pass-rushing specialist, he can also drop into coverage.
On this third down, Porter was lined up in coverage and took the inside position on his man. He immediately recognized that quarterback Tyler Wilson was going to receiver Cobi Hamilton on a crossing route.
Porter made a solid tackle at the waist to immediately bring the receiver down and prevent him from picking up the first down.
In a tight game, this is exactly the type of read-and-react play that the Aggies expect from one of their star defenders.
Porter can use his speed to rush the passer, but he can also use it to get to the running back, as he did here against Mississippi State.
From the start of the play, Porter showed blitz, as he crept up to the line prior to the snap. He timed it perfectly, as he was able to shoot the gap unblocked.
Even though he was not blocked, Porter still had to take the necessary angle in order to make the stop behind the line for a loss on the play.
Dropped interceptions are usually not considered to be highlight plays, but this was an impressive one from Porter.
Not many linebackers have the recognition skills that Porter demonstrated on this play. He dropped into coverage and never let his eyes leave the quarterback. By doing so, Porter was able to read the quarterback and jump the route to nearly make the interception.
Making plays like this will have a quarterback thinking twice before going to Porter’s side of the field again.
Porter has tremendous speed off of the edge, and he demonstrated it against Auburn’s right tackle on this play.
After a quick step off of the snap count, the tackle was able to get a slight touch on Porter, but not enough to take him out of the play. It was Porter’s own momentum that nearly took him to the ground as he rounded the corner, but he was still able to get to the quarterback.
Porter showed no quit on the play after he lost his balance and made the sack while on his hands and knees. That was the type of speed-rushing ability that made teams fear Porter rushing from the outside.
Not known for his power, Porter has trouble shedding blocks and can be stood up by the running back quite often. That is exactly what happened on this play, expect Porter was able to make something out of nothing.
Porter initially set up in coverage, but then showed blitz as the ball was about to be snapped, coming in unblocked off of the right edge before slamming right into the running back. The back knocked Porter off balance, but on his way down, Porter was able to grab the quarterback to make the sack.
With Arkansas in position to score and close the gap to 11 points, Texas A&M was in need of a big play, and they got it from Porter.
The Aggies only sent in a four-man rush with Porter lined up wide on the right side. While he normally would use the speed rush to get to the quarterback, Porter instead used a spin move to gain inside position on the left tackle.
This forced the quarterback to start to scramble out of the pocket, but with three men bearing down on him, he felt it was best to collapse, allowing Porter to pick up an easy sack.
Big-time players make big-time plays, and Porter did just that early against top-ranked Alabama. Already up by a touchdown, Porter made a game-changing play when he intercepted AJ McCarron.
Porter dropped into coverage and was matched up against the slot man, but made a move to the inside when he realized that McCarron was going to the receiver over the middle of the field.
The safety covering the middle of the field made a big hit on the receiver, knocking the ball loose, and Porter snatched it out of the air and put together a pretty nice 17-yard return.
Watching Porter beat tackles with his speed rush is one thing, but watching him beat two blockers is another.
In one of his more impressive sacks, Porter blitzed on the play from his position on the slot receiver. The left tackle initially pushed him four yards behind the quarterback, and he had the running back to beat as well if he wanted a shot at getting to the quarterback.
But pressure up the middle forced the quarterback to scramble to the right, and Porter did not quit on the play, making the sack from behind.
As you watch the play, you may notice that the running back gave up on Porter, but that should not discount the effort he still had to put forth on the play to make the sack.
Porter had an excellent sequence on back-to-back plays against Northwestern.
On the first play, Porter was in coverage out in the flat when the quarterback dumped the ball off to a receiver running a short crossing pattern. Unfortunately for the receiver, he would have to run into the brick wall that is Sean Porter.
Porter put together a perfect form tackle that echoed throughout the entire stadium.
On the very next play, Porter used his speed to run right by the right tackle to make the sack. Porter was so quick that the tackle couldn’t even get his hands on him to take a holding penalty.
Porter’s presence on these two plays represent two of his strengths as a player and why he was one of the top defenders on Texas A&M.