Curtis Lofton # LB
Height: 6-0 Weight: 241 Age: 28
Born: 6/9/1986 Kingfisher , OK
Experience: 8th season
High School: Kingfisher HS [OK]
Positives: His frame is stocky, but not overly thick, with solid overall muscle development, tapered hamstrings and a thick chest, broad shoulders and defined calves...Instinctive player with above-average quickness and playing speed to close on the ball with good urgency...Physical tackler with a nose for the ball...Like DeMeco Ryans, his instincts, downhill closing speed and ability to sift for the ball through trash makes him a better prospect in the middle than the strong side...Moves well laterally, but is best when making tackles inside vs. wide plays...Has a solid work ethic and strong leadership ability...Smooth and flexible when giving chase and shows the feet to get good depth in his pass drops...Able to slip and avoid blocks on the move, showing natural pop and strength to bring down ballcarriers on initial contact...Changes direction well and has the acceleration to close...Plays with good emotion and will give chase until the whistle...Will run a long way to deliver a hit and is a violent collision-type tackler who sells out to make plays...Well-respected by the staff and has a solid work ethic, as he will do the little extras to improve...Rarely caught out of position and reacts decisively to the run or pass...Able to anticipate and track the ball in flight...When he sees blocking schemes develop, he moves quickly to avoid...Keeps his pad level down to get inside the offensive lineman and slip blocks...Effective reading the inside run and stepping up to take on the lead blocker in attempts to stack (will struggle vs. double teams)...Can stuff a fullback and clog the rush lane when he squares his shoulder and lowers his pads to stick his hat in the opponent's chest...Has the upper-body strength and hand punch to reroute tight ends and slot receivers...Adequate when playing over the tight end, playing off blocks and taking good angles when chasing down outside runners...Slippery getting around trash and shows enough range to the sideline to push the run back inside, sifting and scraping, showing the short-area burst to close on the ball...Strong tackler who explodes behind his hits when striking people on contact...Can lock on and stay on the hip of short-area receivers, thanks to loose hips and quick feet to shadow...Picks up secondary receivers well in the zone and gets a quick break on the ball, showing good hands and vision to track the ball in flight and get to the pass at its high point...Not much of a pass rusher, but on the bull rush, he can bring the heat and chase down ballcarriers from behind. Negatives: Lacks the ideal size to play strong-side linebacker, as offensive tackles can engulf and neutralize him on the edge, but he is an effective bull rusher...Does not have the pass-rush moves to impact the pocket from an outside position and is best when making plays downhill rather than attacking the backfield on a regular basis...Has good change-of-direction agility, but is just a little stiff in his turn when working in space, with the burst to close...Has a good motor chasing down the ball, but needs to generate better stop-and-go action to recover when he outruns the play...Must use his hands better in attempts to avoid cut blocks...Does not have the "sand in his pants" to stack and control double teams...Has decent wrap-up technique, but is better as a collision-type, drag-down tackler due to his upper-body strength (does not always keep his hands inside his frame to wrap and secure)...Good in his chase pursuit, but can get caught up inside due to his size and when blitzing off the edge, he lacks the array of moves to surprise blockers. Compares To: DeMECO RYANS-Houston...Like Ryans, Lofton might be a better fit at middle linebacker, where he can feed off his defensive tackles. While he was effective at Oklahoma isolated on the edge over the head of an offensive tackle, the strong-side spot might be his second-best position. He is a smart, instinctive player with quick feet to close, but he is a violent tackler who might get a bit reckless in his pursuit. He is a quick read-and-react type who appears to have the vision and timing to make the interception. With the success that the undersized Ryans had the last two years, teams that view Lofton as a similar player in size and ability won't let him slide on draft day.