17 Days to the Draft: Utah DE/OLB, Koa Misi

With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.

Utah's Koa Misi is 6-3, 251 lbs with a lot of upside. Playing 3 years for Utah, he has the experience that Belichick loves. With the Patriots needed a pass rush specialist, Misi could come in and play that role as a rookie. Misi was never asked to drop into coverage during college, which makes him just as much of a project as Ricky Sapp and the other second round OLB/DE prospects. While the first round players of Sergio Kindle and Brandon Graham played some OLB in college, Misi was mainly a pass rusher- which means that he wouldn't be expected to drop into coverage successfully from the get go if the Patriots selected him. He has a nose for the ball, but is more of a run chaser than run stopper as he tackles the running backs after they make it out of the back field. Misi can disrupt the QB's actions, which is what the Patriots need.

His measurements and some quotes after the jump.

WalterFootball.com Scouting

Height: 6-3. Weight: 251.
Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
Combine 40 Time: 4.69.

Vertical: 38.

CBSSports.com Scouting

03/13/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Koa Misi, Utah, 6-3, 251, 2: He is a pick-your-poison type of athlete who is powerful enough to take on and shed a blocker on the spot and fast enough to run around you and chase down his victim. Put that together with excellent instincts, a high-rev motor and team-leader type personality, and this prospect should fit well on somebody's roster. A standout in his one year at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College, Misi then moved on to terrorize opponents for three more years with the Utes. Misi impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl with his overall ability. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports/USA TODAY

NFL.com Scouting

Misi has good size and strength for the linebacker position. He has played both with his hand in the dirt as well as in a stand up position. He is a tough, hard-nosed competitor that will fit best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Misi will need some work reading route progressions and will be a liability in pure man coverage. Wright is an aggressive defender that attacks the line of scrimmage to disrupt the run as well as rush the passer effectively. Misi is a good football player that will take some time to transition into the linebacker position, but should contribute on special teams as well as a backup as a rookie.

Strengths

Misi has the look, size and strength of an outside linebacker in a 3-4. Displays the toughness needed to hold the point of attack. Is a productive, smart player who always finds ways to contribute. Has the versatility to stand up or play with his hand down. No questions about his durability.
Weaknesses
Only possesses average coverage skills and has limited experience in this area. Is more comfortable playing in a crowd, lacks some agility in space and grasps for air on occasion. Can struggle containing shifty backs on the perimeter. Is an inconsistent reactor, especially when reading in coverage.

MockingtheDraft.com Scouting

Pass coverage: Misi showed during Senior Bowl practices that he has the hip fluidity to turn and run with tight ends. Whether he can translate that into actual gameplay is an unknown. He rarely was used in coverage as an end for Utah. But when he did drop back, he got decent depth.

Pass rush: Is a disruptive pass rusher, even though his numbers may not indicate it. Finished a three-year career with 26 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks. But Misi does a good job of hustling and getting his hands into passing lanes.


Versatility:
Misi largely played end for Utah, but he did play out of a two-point stance on occasion. He projects as a 3-4 linebacker because he doesn't have great size and may get neutralized by offensive linemen who don't let players get under their pads. Should be an asset on special teams.

Verdict: Misi isn't as polished of an outside linebacker as Sergio Kindle or Graham, but it upside makes him just as interesting of a prospect. I would say that Misi has the same ceiling as Kindle, with a lower ceiling than Graham. However, selecting a DE/OLB in the 2nd round would be a project regardless of who we selected- except for potentially Eric Norwood. Are we willing to take on a project in the 2nd round? It's a big risk. While I think we'll be taking an OLB in the 2nd round, I think we'll either take a player who is either more polished (Norwood), or one with greater potential (Sapp).

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