Aug 31, 2013; Clemson, SC, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Keith Marshall (4) carries the ball while being defended by Clemson Tigers linebacker Stephone Anthony (42) during the fourth quarter at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Tigers won 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
The 2015 NFL Draft is just around the corner and the teams are working out players and putting their big board together. Given the New Orleans Saints thinness at the inside linebacker position after the Curtis Lofton release, I was not surprised to hear that the Saints worked out Clemson‘s Stephone Anthony, according to Tony Pauline.
NFL Scouting Combine measurements:
Weight: 243 lbs
Arm length: 32.5″
Hands: 10 3/8″
40-yard dash: 4.56
Bench press: 23 reps of 225 lbs.
Vertical jump: 37″
20 yard shuttle: 4.03 seconds
My analysis: While possessing the size of a run-stuffing linebacker, Stephone Anthony displays enough speed to chase down ball-carriers all over the field. His upper-body strength should allow him to get off blocks by pulling guards and his tremendous agility allows him to drop in man coverage and work in tight space near the line of scrimmage. Anthony is a do-it-all inside linebacker without any glaring weakness, checking off all the intangibles and skills NFL teams look for in the middle of their defense.
His production in the 2014 season was equally impressive (from ClemsonTigers.com):
"Permanent team co-captain … semifinalist for the Butkus Award … First-Team All-ACC selection … Senior Bowl invitee … had a team-high 90 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 11 quarterback pressures, one interception for eight yards, four pass breakups and two caused fumbles in 711 snaps over 13 games (12 starts) … had a team-high eight tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, two pass breakups and two quarterback pressures in 66 snaps at No. 1 Florida State on Sept. 20; named Bednarik Award Player-of-the-Week."
The highlighted game against the then-defending national champions -admittedly without Jameis Winston- is what caught my eye. There is only a few game tapes in this year’s class as overwhelming as this one:
Synopsis: In my opinion, Stephone Anthony is a phenomenal inside linebacker, second to only Eric Kendricks in this year’s class. The Clemson product offers a unique blend of size, athleticism and work ethic which should allow him to thrive in the league for many years. His ideal fit happens to be inside in a 3-4 scheme, were the spot next to David Hawthorne on the Saints starting defense is currently vacated. While I doubt the former Tiger will still be around at pick 44, snagging him with the 31st selection would be a great value pick.