With 118th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals have selected linebacker Sean Porter out of Texas A&M
Athletic linebacker with the short-area quickness and football IQ to switch from playing the run to checking a slot receiver to attacking a scrambling quarterback on the same play. Good speed in the open field, and can burst to close in pursuit. Effective pass rusher with a good first step and flexibility to get under a tackle’s upfield shoulder, a shimmy inside to get the direct lane, and also a quick spin move helps him get off leaning tackles. Has a nice inside counter for when tackles start overplaying his speed rush outside. Occasionally gets under the pads of taller tackles to bull them into the quarterback. Slippery blitzer who knows how to get skinny through inside lanes. Breaks down in a hurry to wrap up ball carriers, brings a bit of pop despite his average size. Fluid hips changing directions. Really progressed as a senior in coverage of tight ends and slot receivers, gets his hands on them at the line of scrimmage and crossing over the middle, and the click-and-close ability to break on the ball quickly on underneath throws. Takes on fullbacks, goes lows to win leverage and make plays on inside runs.
Undersized with long legs and short arms, lacking in explosive speed and great length. As a pass rusher, he’s more of a blitzer than a true outside edge rusher. Can set the edge against weaker tight ends, but can get engulfed at the point of attack by most tackles and pro-caliber tight ends. Can get lost in no-man’s land in coverage. Does not use his hands effectively to beat cut blocks. Very little pop in his hands or his tackles, and he has a tendency to lunge. Good burst filling inside and in pursuit, but can get out of control and doesn’t always display a good understanding timing and angles. Will need to be protected by a solid defensive line in the NFL.
Though not quite as big, long, or explosive as former All-American teammate and the 2011 draft’s second overall pick, Von Miller, Porter is athletic and productive (17 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks in 2011) enough to be an early-round selection capable of handling all starting linebacker duties in any defensive scheme. His build and playing style makes him a bit of a tweener, but his athleticism and progression in coverage as a senior suggest he might fare best as a weakside linebacker in a 4-3.