As a high school All-American from California, Kaveinga (pronounced kah-vein-ga, first name whoa-nah) decided to play for the highly-successful Southern Cal program under Pete Carroll rather than head to Provo to suit up for the Cougars. After two disappointing seasons with the Trojans, he decided to transfer to BYU, saying he preferred the campus’ “social life and spiritual life”. The fact he was guaranteed more playing time was probably part of the decision, as well – and he took advantage of that increased workload to become a legitimately draftable pro prospect.
Kaveinga played in eight games in each of his two seasons at USC, totaling five tackles, one for loss, on special teams and as an occasional reserve linebacker. He used his redshirt season as a transfer student in 2010, before earned the starting middle linebacker job in his first year with the Cougars (57 tackles, 4.5 for loss, four forced fumbles).
Physical leader in the middle of the defense who possesses a compact build with thick arms. Finds the ball regularly, feels his way through traffic to stack running backs. Punishes ballcarriers with a pop in the hole or in zone coverage. Takes out lead blockers like a missile when needed so others can clean up. Has enough foot speed to drop in the middle, works to stay with tight ends down the seam. Knocks smaller receivers off crossing routes over the middle.
Shorter than scouts prefer at the position. Length also becomes an issue when fighting off blockers. Downhill defender who can struggle to change directions quickly. Hustles to the ball, but won’t have a huge range due to average initial acceleration. Goes for the big shoulder hit instead of wrapping at times, will lunge and be eluded by quicker ballcarriers.
As a high school All-American from California, it was natural for Kaveinga to play for USC. But after two seasons as a reserve linebacker and special teams contributor (five tackles, one for loss in 16 games), he transferred to BYU, earning a starting job in the middle. His average size and speed might keep him from being an elite prospect, but his production and toughness should allow him to make a roster as an inside hammer in a 3-4 system.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.