Vinnie Sunseri, S, Alabama (HT: 5’11⅛”; WT: 210 lbs)
Fifth Round: 167th Pick
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- Possesses a thick, muscular frame that is NFL-ready. Most rookies have to add considerable weight in their first season, but Sunseri is built like a linebacker, considering his height.
- Has good positional versatility after he played a number of roles for Alabama under head coach Nick Saban. He started at strong safety, but spent time as a single-high safety, linebacker and slot cornerback. Although he won’t be able to play all of those positions full-time in the NFL, defensive coordinators can put him at one of those spots for a few plays if the call is a blitz.
- Reads the quarterback's eyes fairly well while in zone coverage. He’s at his best when he’s in intermediate zone and can run downhill and make a play on the ball.
- A good blitzer from the slot due to timing and speed, he can get to the quarterback quickly and finish with a sack.
- Takes good angles while pursuing ball-carriers, which helps overcome some physical traits that he has.
- Mirrors receivers well while playing cornerback. His discipline is impressive for a player that doesn’t primarily play the position.
- Willing to attack the line of scrimmage on run plays and doesn’t shy from oncoming contact. Safeties have to be sure tacklers in the NFL, and Sunseri has the tools and technique to be a reliable tackler.
- Physical in coverage, keeping his hands active to disrupt the receiver at the point of contest.
- He projects as a special teams ace after being productive and a leader for the Crimson Tide for years. Expect that hard work and tough attitude to continue.
- Played in over 40 games in the SEC, on arguably the deepest roster in college football, at Alabama. Considering that Nick Saban personally coaches the defensive backs, NFL coaches will expect Sunseri to be a sharp mind.
- Outside of his strength and sturdy frame, his physical traits are lacking. His arm length of only 30’’ ranks in the second percentile of all safeties in the class, and that lack of length could hinder his ability to play certain positions.
- Distance speed is lacking, as he won’t be able to cover many receivers without safety help behind him.
- Short-area quickness is subpar as well. He gives a lot of cushion while in coverage to help compensate for his stiff hips and average feet.
- Due to his physical profile, it is unlikely he becomes more than a special teams player and backup player. He has some upside, but the tools he has will only allow him to be so good, and his ceiling is very low.
- Coming from Alabama, Nick Saban usually maxes his players out and has them physically beaten when they leave Tuscaloosa. Sunseri will face similar questions.
- Named to the All-SEC Freshman team in 2011.
- Signed his letter of intent to Alabama as a 3-star inside linebacker.
- Twitter account is @vsunseri3.
Vinnie Sunseri deserves a lot of credit for what he accomplished in college, but his decision to leave school after his junior season is truly head scratching. With a limited ceiling, he could go undrafted because he offers little outside of a good motor and a smart approach to the game.
Draft Projection: 7th Round