Fourth Round, 117th Pick
Khaseem Greene made highlights over the duration of his time with Rutgers, and last season was the best defensive player the Big East had to offer as he notched 125 tackles, 5.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.
Greene continued the hot-streak into the NFL Scouting Combine where he wowed everyone in attendance with his elite athleticism.
Now that Greene is a sure-fire selection in the first two days of the draft some questions have to be answered. Does he have what it takes to be an every-down linebacker? Where does he fit schematically?
Read on to find out.
|+ Excels at tracking ball-carriers.||- Not scheme versatile because of size.|
|+ Violent use of hands to create turnovers.||- Inconsistent motor.|
|+ Capable in zone coverage.||- Over-aggressive and takes himself out of plays.|
|+ Excellent blitzer.|
- Medical concerns after broken ankle in 2011.
Greene has less-than-ideal size at 6'1" and 240 pounds, which limits him to the outside linebacker position in a 4-3.
That's fine, because Greene is an elite athlete with great football instincts. He ran the 40-yard dash at 4.67 and registered a 30" vertical. His 17 reps of 225 pounds on bench press leave something to be desired in the strength department.
Greene is a converted safety who spent some of his time at the collegiate level as a defensive back. He is not athletic enough to play there in the NFL.
Greene is a solid character who does not have a bad record to his name.
The only concern with Greene may be with his injury history. He suffered a gruesome ankle injury with five minutes to go in a bowl game back in 2011.
That said, the injury did not hold him back from having a stellar 2012 campaign and emerging as one of the Big East's elite players.
Greene played safety for his first two seasons at Rutgers and then made the transition to linebacker in 2011.
The change was a great move for Greene's career. He was effective in coverage and was often used as a blitzer off the edge in the right situations.
Thanks to his stunning athleticism and flexibility, Greene is an effective pas-rusher when asked. He is able to duck and twist his way around would-be-blockers as he makes his way to the quarterback.
As mentioned, Greene is not the strongest prospect, so chances of him putting on a bull rush are minimal. If he gets caught by a lineman he is usually taken out of the play.
Greene only has 32" arms, so he is not able to keep blockers at bay.
Instead, he uses an explosive first step and shiftiness to get around the opposition.
Against the Run
Greene is extremely effective at tracking ball-carriers and darting through the proper holes to bring them down. He excels at sniffing out screen passes and play-action, which typically puts him in the right position to make a play.
The elite athleticism Greene possesses can also be a negative because he can take himself out of plays completely by taking bad angles or over-pursuing the ball carrier.
Greene routinely punches or smacks at the football to cause fumbles.
Sometimes he can focus on this too much and be dragged down the field, but more often than not it's a good trait.
In the open field, the shiftiest of players are not going to get around Greene thanks to his athleticism. He is accustomed to being the last line of defense as a safety, and brings that to the table as a linebacker.
This is an area where Greene excels, which should be obvious considering his 125-tackle total from last season alone.
Use of Hands
Last season, Greene forced six fumbles because of his violent hands while engaging a ball carrier. He punches and rips at the ball relentlessly until the carrier is either down or coughs it up.
An underrated area for Greene in this department is his ability to haul in an interception. As a former defensive back he does a good job of catching the ball away from his body.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Greene has the stunning athleticism that will allow him to be a solid linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. Ideally, he'll be fit for only the weak-side position thanks to his quality coverage skills and familiarity with defending the pass.
There is not a role for Greene in a 3-4 scheme. As a pass-rusher he simply is not talented enough and the size is just not there.
Greene has a serious shot at being an every-down contributor for a very long time at the next level. It may take some development time, but he has the ideal skill set of a 4-3 weak-side linebacker.
Draft Projection: Round 3.
All pertinent prospect info courtesy of CBS.
Follow me on Twitter for more NFL news and analysis.