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Beyond the Draft: Meet Gary Guyton (LB)

Undrafted, but not unwanted, linebacker Gary Guyton comes to the Patriots following a standout senior year at Georgia Tech and a very impressive Combine.  The 6’2”, 242 lb Guyton touts his “whole game” as his best attribute.  In an interview with Cecil Lammey of Draft Guys TV, Guyton displays the confidence fans love to see in their young players.  “I can bring anything to the table that you need .  I can come down and hit the ball, destroy blockers, get off tackles, cover…everything you need.”

Most notably as a senior Guyton switched to weak side linebacker and started all 13 games, racking up 78 tackles (13.5 for losses), five sacks and five pass breakups.  He returned two fumbles and an interception for touchdowns. Guyton also caught three passes for 54 yards and a touchdown and scored two two-point conversions.  By the end of the season, the staff and opposition alike were calling him the team's best defensive performer .

The Patriots rely heavily on the versatility of their players, especially in veteran linebackers Bruschi, Vrabel, and Thomas. While Guyton has found his weak side sweet spot, he also has vital experience at playing strong side and special teams, which will enable him to play where he is needed most.

The Combine showcased Guyton who had the best vertical jump, best broad jump, and 2nd best 40 of all participating linebackers.  On the long list of positives from his NFL profile, the standouts are:  Good character on and off the field, good use of his size and strength, shows burst as blitzer, flashes explosiveness as a hitter and can wrap up and make the tackle, uses long arms and strong hands to supply a pop to blockers and disengage.

Why wasn’t he drafted?   Critics point to his needing to add more bulk to his frame, and become more instinctive when diagnosing run/pass plays, especially when playing deep in the zone.  A bit too hesitant, he needs to get quicker at changing directions and trying to slip blocks.  Russ Lande, Draft Expert from the Sporting News, feels he hasn’t received “a lot of publicity because of Georgia Tech teammate Philip Wheeler [drafted in the 3rd round by the Colts.]  

However, it is Lande’s opinion that Gary Guyton is the more well rounded, better NFL prospect .  “He’s a well-built athletic linebacker who can chase down running plays in pursuit just as easily as helping out in pass coverage.  If you want a big-time playmaker, he’s not your guy, but if you want a very well rounded linebacker who stays on the field for three plays, Guyton’s the man you need.”