Second Round: 45th Pick
In relation to the spotlight his teammates drew, Kevin Minter was a bit of an unheralded member of the LSU defense going into the 2012 season. On a defense featuring standouts like Barkevious Mingo and Eric Reid, Minter was the heart and soul of the LSU defense, showing up as the defense’s most consistent performer week-to-week.
+ Good size/speed combo for the position
+ Re-directs well in the box and works well through trash
+ Good hand placement, rarely concedes ground
+ Smart player that takes good pursuit angles
- Well-rounded, but isn’t special in any one area
- One-speed player who lacks burst
Minter has ideal size for the position. He has enough speed to get to the sideline on perimeter runs and to drop into the deep hole in coverage. He lacks burst or a sense of closing speed to his game, however. The result is a very under-control player who maintains proper leverage and takes good pursuit angles to the ball, but who may lack the athleticism to really play in space in the NFL.
At LSU, Minter played middle linebacker in a traditional 4-3 defense. He was used as a blitzer extensively. He didn't drop into deep coverage often, but did play a lot short zones and Robber coverage..
While Minter isn’t overly athletic or fast, he is a smart player in zone who understands route combinations and can flip his hips and re-direct in short areas. He is at his best when allowed to play Robber coverage and read the quarterback’s eyes.
He has shown the ability to cover some college tight ends down the seam, but better NFL receiving tight ends would overwhelm him speed-wise. Minter will attempt to play the ball in the air if it’s thrown near him, but does not have natural ball skills.
He recorded four sacks his junior season. LSU uses Minter quite often as a blitzer on “Green Dogs,” where he will be free to rush if his pass responsibility (the back or tight end) stays in to block. He’s very good at timing his blitzes up and gets a lot of free runs at the quarterback. He will try to run around running back blocks instead of going through them.
Minter is a tackling machine inside the tackle box. He’s disciplined about not letting blockers into his chest, making sure to strike with his hands first. However, he needs to continue developing upper body strength, as his punch lacks any pop right now.
He’s comfortably nestled between being a true thumper and being athletic enough in a quick area to beat blockers to the spot. While he lacks true sideline to sideline speed or closing burst, he takes very good pursuit angles, works his way through trash well, and has just enough speed to match runners to the sideline.
Read and React
Minter trusts his keys, maintains proper leverage on runners, and takes good pursuit angles to the ball. He makes an effort to try and shoot gaps when he has a window, although his lack of closing burst doesn’t always make this a successful venture. He's smart and disciplined in zone coverage, passes targets off without chasing and understands route combinations.
A hustle player who makes tackles from sideline to sideline, Minter’s missed tackles tend to come from one of two mistakes: overrunning the play in space and lunging at the ball carrier. He doesn’t always get his head in front of his target, but his wrap is strong, and he generally gets his target to the ground.
While Minter isn’t elite in any one area, he has ideal size and enough athleticism to play as a true middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense. His willingness to play as a stack-and-shed linebacker suggests he’d transition well to a 3-4 as well, but he will need to improve his leverage and upper body strength for block deconstruction.
Draft Projection: Late 2nd-Early 3rd round