Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a need for an instinctive middle linebacker? How would Quan Sturdivant fit in Tampa Bay? Find out in this prospect profile.
All right, draftniks. You know that Pewter Report is the undisputed king of Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft coverage. We’ve listed players, such as wide receiver Mike Williams (2010), wide receiver Arrelious Benn (2010), defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (2010), quarterback Josh Freeman (2009), wide receiver Dexter Jackson (2008), offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah (2008), quarterback Josh Johnson (2008), defensive end Gaines Adams (2007), linebacker Quincy Black (2007), wide receiver Maurice Stovall (2006), quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (2006), middle linebacker Barrett Ruud (2005), cornerback Torrie Cox (2003) – among others, at their respective positions in the Bucs’ Best Bets sections of Pewter Report’s annual Bucs Draft Preview.As the 2011 NFL Draft approaches, Pewter Report’s resident draft experts, Scott Reynolds and Charlie Campbell, have spent countless hours watching over 12 college games per week and scouting which prospects would look good wearing red and pewter next year. With over 500 college games to review dating back over the last four years and countless scouting contacts throughout the NFL, Reynolds and Campbell are armed with the inside scoop needed to put together these scouting reports on players who might fit Tampa Bay’s schemes on offense and defense.These regular Pewter Prospect profiles on PewterReport.com will scout out players that are candidates for the Buccaneers to select in next April's draft. Pewter Report's predictions of who the Bucs will take will be in the Bucs' Best Bets in the digital Bucs Draft Preview magazine and the Bucs 7 Round Mock Draft on the website.Will one of these players wind up being the next Barrett Ruud, Mike Williams or Josh Johnson? We’ll all find out next April when Tampa Bay is on the clock.NORTH CAROLINA MIDDLE LINEBACKER QUAN STURDIVANTVITAL STATS:
The Tar Heels product checks in at 6-foot-1, 241-pounds. Sturdivant did not run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He has been reported to run the 40 in 4.69 seconds.
In his career at North Carolina, Sturdivant totaled 309 tackles with 27.5 tackles for a loss, nine passes broken up, two forced fumbles, four interceptions, seven sacks, and one blocked kick.
Sturdivant’s best season came as a sophomore when he recorded 122 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions, two sacks, four passes broken up, and one forced fumble.
As a junior Sturdivant’s numbers declined to 79 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss, one sack, three passes defensed, zero interceptions, and one forced fumble. Last year Sturdivant missed five games with a hamstring injury. In the other eight games he recorded 61 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, one interception, zero forced fumbles, and two passes defensed.
Sturdivant was a second team and first team All-ACC selection during his career at North Carolina. WHY HE COULD BE A RED AND PEWTER PLAYER
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an uncertain situation at middle linebacker with starter Barrett Ruud headed into unrestricted free agency at the start of the next league year. Ruud is believed to be seeking a $7 million per year contract like the one the Packers signed linebacker A.J. Hawk to earlier this offseason. The Bucs do not believe Ruud is worth $7 million per season and they will let him test the market. For the right price Tampa Bay would re-sign Ruud.
Aside from Ruud, the Buccaneers have Tyrone McKenzie under contract for 2011 and he has played middle linebacker and weakside linebacker in practice. Sources with the Bucs would not say they were confident yet in McKenzie making the defensive calls in the huddle and pre-snap audibles.
Sturdivant has the reputation of being a smart and instinctive linebacker. He reads plays quickly and reacts well to quarterbacks. Sturdivant played quarterback in high school and has an advanced understanding of the passing game.
He is a good pass coverage linebacker. He would have no problems turning and running down the middle seam in a Tampa 2 defense. Sturdivant reacts to the ball well and gets in position to make tackles downfield. He has the physical ability to play man coverage against tight ends and running backs.
In run defense Sturdivant is a linebacker with a lot of range to get to outside runs. His best attribute after the snap of the ball could be his perimeter run defense. He gets to the edge well and takes good angles to get position to make the tackle. Sturdivant is a consistent tackler. He is not a thumper in the box, but is able to contribute to some stops between the tackles.
Sturdivant was viewed as a high-character player and was elected a team captain for North Carolina, but he was arrested in July of 2010 and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
As a player Sturdivant is strikingly similar to Ruud. They have the same strengths and weaknesses. Sturdivant’s lack of size, strength, and physicality could make him a better fit as a Will (weakside) linebacker in the NFL. While Pewter Report would not necessarily draft Sturdivant, the Buccaneers are showing interest in him and are bringing him to Tampa Bay for a pre-draft visit.TOUGHEST TRANSITION IN TAMPA BAY
The biggest weakness in Sturdivant’s game is a lack of physicality. He gets engulfed by blockers and cannot shed offensive linemen when they get to him at the second level. Sturdivant does not have the size and strength to take on blockers and hold his ground at the NFL level.
Sturdivant is not physical at the point of attack. Sturdivant is not a legit threat as a blitzer. He also is a drag down tackler and is not a violent linebacker that punishes offensive players.
Sturdivant also may land with a NFL team that does not have a dominant supporting cast like he benefited from during the majority of his North Carolina career. In front of Sturdivant was defensive tackle Marvin Austin and defensive end Robert Quinn. He had linebacker Bruce Carter lining up next to him and commanding a lot of attention from offenses. Carter was viewed as a top 20 pick before a late season ACL injury. In the secondary the Tar Heels had Kendric Burney, Deunta Williams, and Da'Norris Searcy. All of the players listed above are going to be drafted this year. Junior linebackers Kevin Reddick and Zach Brown have some early draft buzz around them for next year. Both of those juniors topped Sturdivant in tackles last season. The Tar Heels defense was filled with talent and Sturdivant benefitted from it.
The Bucs and all NFL teams will want to thoroughly investigate Sturdivant’s college arrest. HIS BIGGEST GAMES12/30/10 vs. Tennessee
12 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 sack, 1 interception 9/25/10 at Rutgers
12 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for a loss, 1 pass broken up 10/10/09 vs. Georgia Southern
5 tackles, 1 fumble returned 49 yards for a TD, 1.5 tackles for a loss, 1 forced fumble11/29/08 at Duke
13 tackles, 1 forced fumble 10/11/08 vs. Notre Dame
10 tackles, .5 tackle for a loss, 1 interception returned 32 yards for a TDDRAFT PROJECTION
Sturdivant is considered to be a late second- or early third-round pick at this time.OTHER PROSPECT PROFILESOhio State DE Cameron HeywardMaryland MLB Alex WujciakMarshall MLB Mario Harvey
Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas
Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis
Missouri DE Aldon Smith
Kentucky RB Derrick LockeNorth Carolina DE Robert QuinnIowa DE Adrian ClaybornWisconsin TE Lance KendricksGeorgia DE/OLB Justin Houston Florida G Mike PounceyNorth Carolina LB Bruce CarterNorth Carolina State LB Nate IrvingFlorida State G Rodney HudsonMississippi State OT Derek SherrodPurdue DE Ryan KerriganFlorida S Ahmad BlackOklahoma State RB Kendall HunterNebraska CB Prince Amukamara
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.