Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt (HT: 6’0⅛”; WT: 207 lbs)
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- Fits the size mold the NFL desires for impact safeties, boasting an impressive frame with long arms.
- Showed the ability to become an effective tackler in space, using good fundamental form and strength to bring down bigger ball-carriers.
- Highly experienced player against top collegiate competition. He played in 50 games over four seasons and played his best in SEC games.
- Showed versatility after starting games early in his career at strong safety then moving to free safety in 2013.
- Improved as he gained experiences as a deep safety in 2013. His 2012 route-recognition skills were very poor, but he did get better as he grew into his new role.
- Closing burst is good enough to step in front of the intended receiver to either defend the pass or intercept it.
- Natural instincts for the ball improved as a senior, as he notched five interceptions throughout his final campaign.
- Helped carry a defense without much talent to a respectable level. He finished second in the SEC in solo tackles as a senior.
- He’s comfortable playing at the line of scrimmage, and that’s likely his best position in the NFL. Strong safety will allow him to crash the box on run plays and limits his weaknesses.
- Brings special teams experience into the NFL that many team captains don’t have. Ladler earned his starting spot on defense after excelling on special teams for two seasons.
- Lacks the top-end speed the NFL demands from starting safeties. The film reflects this and, after he ran a 4.70 40-yard dash at the combine, his ceiling is certainly in question.
- Despite showing glimpses of being a good tackler, he is often too conservative and waits for the ball-carrier to come to him. He has an odd habit of letting the ball-carrier become parallel with him then dive at his feet. Although he’s good at it, he wastes opportunities to make a sure tackle.
- He is likely limited to playing strong safety due to his very poor play recognition. He always begins the play by backpedaling, even if the play is a run. By starting the play with wasted steps, it seems he’s trying to compensate for his lack of speed in case the play is a fake.
- In his limited man coverages, he played decently but, when he gets beaten, he is very grabby.
- Zone coverage isn’t great either as he doesn’t read the quarterback's eyes well, which causes him to arrive late to the ball on most throws.
- He rarely makes plays at the line of scrimmage, even when he comes crashing in from the secondary. His timing and lateral quickness are lacking when attacking.
- Since he isn’t a great athlete and lacks advanced instincts, his floor and ceiling is low. He could be maxed out as far as talent is concerned.
- 2013 Coaches' first team All-SEC defensive back
- 2013 A.P. second team All-SEC safety
- 2010 SEC All-Freshman team
- Twitter handle is @kennyladlo
- Former 3-star recruit from Stone Mountain, Georgia
Kenny Ladler had an impressive 2013 season for the Commadores, but that seems to be where he maxed out as a football talent. He doesn’t possess the athletic traits that help overcome mental mistakes, and his natural instincts are still underdeveloped to serve the role NFL defenses will require him to do. He may stick as a backup and special teams player, but don’t expect Ladler to become a dependable starter in the near future.
Draft Projection: Sixth Round
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