Robert Lester: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Alabama Safety
Alabama safety Robert Lester will enter the National Football League as one of the hardest hitters of the 2013 draft class. He can lay receivers out with the best of them.
The primary cause for concern is his questionable coverage skills. This has led some to believe that he translates better at linebacker at the next level.
As it is, Lester is sure to be drafted at some point this week and will provide a physical dimension to the team that picks him up.
Lets take a look at five things you must know about the 'Bama product as he prepares to go pro.
Full Name: Robert Lester (January 1, 1990)
Hometown: Foley, Alabama
High School: Foley High School
Major: Human Environmental Science
Robert Lester was offered scholarships from Oklahoma, Clemson and South Carolina but made the decision to stay close to home after high school. He was rated a 3-star recruit by Scout.com and ranked 36th nationally among safeties.
Lester has already graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in human environmental sciences.
2009 (Freshman): eight games, eight tackles and six solo tackles.
2010 (Sophomore): 13 games, 52 tackles, 29 solo, four passes broken up and eight interceptions.
2011 (Junior): 13 games, 39 tackles, 22 solo, three passes broken up and two interceptions.
2012 (Senior): 14 games, 48 tackles, 24 solo, three passes broken up and four interceptions.
While Mark Barron, Javier Arenas and Kareem Jackson were making their names known back in 2009, Lester played mostly special teams as a backup safety.
Lester took over at free safety next to Barron and never looked back. As a sophomore in 2010, Lester finished second in the nation in interceptions with eight. He was a second-team All-SEC choice that season.
While he never matched his interception totals from 2010 in the next two seasons, Lester did start 27 games and record six interceptions. All said, Lester ranks fifth overall among Alabama players in career interceptions with 14.
All statistics provided by CFB Stats.
Weight: 220 lbs.
Arm Length: 32"
Hand Size: 9.75"
Broad Jump: 117"
40-Yard Dash: 4.66 seconds
Vertical Jump: 33.5"
If Lester was looking to up his draft stock at the combine, he really didn't do himself any favors. The three-year starter at Alabama finished 16th among 21 safety participants in the 40-yard dash and finished with the third-worst performance in the vertical jump.
Roll Bama Roll filed the following report on Lester's postseason performance immediately after the combine.
Unfortunately for his cohort in the defensive backfield, Robert Lester's Combine performance only cast an even more critical light on his potential as an NFL safety.
While Lester was a stalwart on a Bama defense that won three championships during his career, he has struggled to make an impression on pro scouts at both the Senior Bowl and at the Combine. His results have not been poor, but neither have they distinguished him from his fellow safety prospects.
Lester has to be considered a mid-round prospect at best. He doesn't translate into being anything more than a decent backup strong safety in the NFL. He struggles in coverage and cannot be asked to defend NFL-caliber receivers or tight ends down the field.
His performances at the combine and Senior Bowl pretty much verified what most of us thought heading into the draft process.
All combine numbers and measurements provided by NFL.com.
The spotlight has been on Lester since he played high school ball with former teammate Julio Jones in Foley, Alabama.
For Lester, it was all about competition, even as recruiters came to see his more famous teammate.
Having a guy like that, you've got to use it to your advantage,” Lester said. “That's why I play safety and play cornerback, to show people that I can play football, too. If they're coming to see him, I'm going to line up against him and show him I can play.
In addition, Lester lined up with fellow 2013 NFL draft prospect and likely high-round pick D.J. Fluker at Foley.
Just imagine how good that football team must have been.
Expectations aren't too high for Lester heading into the draft. He is considered a mid-round pick at best. The talented player will likely go somewhere on the third day and compete for a roster sport. Our very own Ryan Lownes indicated as much in his 32 in 32 Twitter series.
Robert Lester - S - Alabama - Productive college defender should compete for a roster spot in the Giants secondary.
Considering that these expectations are pretty low, I have a hard time coming to the conclusion that Lester will be drafted any time before the sixth round this week. Even after performing extremely well for a high-profile school, his game just doesn't seem to translate too well in the NFL.
Vincent Frank is an NFL featured columnist at Bleacher Report. Vincent is the head sports editor over at eDraft, co-host of Draft Sports Radio, which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. ET, and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus.
Go ahead and give him a follow on Twitter @VincentFrankNFL.