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NFL Draft Scouting report: Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise State

Former Boise State edge rusher Kamalei Correa is profiled and evaluated for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Kamalei Correa – Boise State Broncos

Position: Outside Linebacker

Height: 6’3’’

Weight: 243

Year: Junior

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

Experience: Sr. – 2 year starter

 

Measurables:

40 yard: 4.69

Broad jump: 108 inch.

Vertical: 33 inch.

3-cone: ---

20yd. Shuttle: ---

Bench Press: 21 reps

 

Career Notes:

After earning All-Mountain West honors two straight seasons as a sophomore and junior, Correa left Boise State a year early to declare for the NFL Draft.

The former collegiate defensive end garnered national attention as a first-year starter during his sophomore season in 2014, registering 59 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks. Correa quickly became the Broncos' top defensive playmaker, taking snaps as an upright pass rusher (OLB) and off-the-ball linebacker in addition to end.

His versatility continued to become a feature of his game in college, as Boise State moved him all around their defense his junior season in 2015—a year he went on to lead the team a second straight season in sacks (7) and tackles for loss (11). He also forced three fumbles to cap off a strong final year at Boise State, proving he’s a top-tier edge rusher and a guy that can fulfill multiple roles on a defense.

Now, Correa enters the NFL Draft slated for the outside linebacker position in a 3-4 front, and in fact, a top-five prospect at this position. His size, explosiveness of the edge, and athleticism to drop in space naturally translate to playing in a two-point stance on the edge at the next level. Some teams, particularly ones running a 3-4 defense, may even like him at inside linebacker. He should get late first round considerations this spring.

 

Injury Report:

*No significant injuries in college.

 

Career Stats:

 

Analysis:

Against the Run: (4.0/5.0)

Correa does a nice job crashing down on the edge and sealing off the run from bouncing outside. He plays with a good leverage and a strong base, which enables him to get under the shoulder pads of opposing offensive linemen, and then as he extends his arms out, he holds the point of attack well and keeps the blocker from grabbing his chest and controlling him at the line of scrimmage. Correa’s a tough player that will fight through blocks, even when held or when the play is well out of his vicinity, and he shows good tenacity to work to the ball and get involved in the play. He even looks better when roaming free in space lined up as an off-the-ball linebacker. He also possesses the speed and anticipation skills to read his run fits and close in on the ball carrier, while also showing smooth lateral movement to work over the line and chase down ball carriers running outside the tackle box.

Pass Rush: (4.5/5.0)

While Correa could still serve to add some bulk and get stronger at the next level, the Hawaii native is still a very effective pass rusher. He has tremendous upfield speed and burst off the edge, which enables him to dip his shoulder and bend the corner to get around the tackle to collapse the pocket. Correa explodes out of his stance and can even convert speed to power driving his momentum into the opposing tackle’s chest, knocking him back on his heels and showing a strong punch off the line.

He will even set up opponents with an effective inside move, where he sets up his man to sidestep to the outside and then he quickly turns his momentum to the inside shoulder of the tackle to shed the block and break through the pocket to create interior pressure. Once he gains the tackle’s inside shoulder, it’s over from there. This usually results in the quarterback being flushed from the pocket and either a broken play or a setup sack for one of his teammates. Correa also occasionally uses an effective spin move when he can’t beat his man with speed or quickness off the edge.

In addition, Correa showed a good ability to create interior pressure rushing from an inside linebacker stance in certain defensive looks. His timing is terrific when choosing which gap to exploit, and once he picks his target, he can also turn on the burners and burst upfield to break through the line untouched. Lined up as an inside backer, he was also used as a quarterback spy against spread offenses, proving effective as a shadow. His relentless motor enables him to chase the quarterback across the field, if needed.

Coverage: (3.5/5.0)

Correa can drop in coverage effectively. As a college defensive end, Correa may surprise people on film in this regard, but Boise State dropped him more in coverage than expected. His athleticism and speed allow him to hold up dropping in zone without being a major liability. At times, the Broncos even lined him up wide over the slot, and he stuck with the slot wide receiver on short and intermediate routes in coverage, proving he can handle every phase of the game as an outside linebacker in the NFL.

Agility: (4.5/5.0)

One of the biggest things that sticks out about Correa’s game is just how smooth he looks in space. He backpedals well and can flip his hips to turn and run downfield. He also does a nice job sinking his hips and changing direction on a dime, when needed. It’s hard not to see him as a natural inside linebacker in theses instances, even though his first position might be as an outside linebacker rushing the quarterback in a 3-4 front. He’s already gotten a lot of Clay Matthews comparisons because of his versatility and athleticism, but when he plays in space this comparison is the most evident. He’s a very good quarterback spy, he can move sideline-to-sideline with surprising ease for an edge rusher, and demonstrates the hip flexibility to smoothly change direction on the field.

Impact Play Ability: (4.0/5.0)

As a two-year starter, Correa had a hand in forcing several turnovers, particularly at key points in the game when his team either needed a momentum shift or needed to put an opponent away. His impeccable timing to come up with a big play in the right moment makes him a legitimate playmaker in this draft class. He’ll light quarterbacks up in the pocket or deliver a punishing blow to a halfback, bringing a physical presence to any defensive front. His 19 sacks in two years, and not to mention numerous quarterback pressures, shows Correa is a player that can wreak havoc off the edge. He’s a player that demands the attention of opposing offenses. Now, having said all of this, Correa’s ceiling is very high, but he does need to show more consistency. In college, he went through stretches over several games where he disappeared and made little impact on the field.

Summary:

Having played numerous rules for the Broncos defense, including defensive end, outside linebacker, inside linebacker, and even interior rusher on the defensive line, Correa is a truly unique prospect in this class. While some may overlook the former Mountain West defensive star, teams that run a specific scheme, like the 3-4, should value Correa highly on their board. In my opinion, Correa has cemented himself in the late first round conversation. However, the fact he does not fit as a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL could limit his options for potential landing spots in the draft and cause him to drop further on draft day than his ability warrants.

Overall: 4.10/5.0

 

If drafted by the Packers:

The Green Bay Packers could really use a versatile player like Correa on their defense. Not only would he give them a dynamic pass rusher to develop on their roster and eventually replace Julius Peppers at outside linebacker following the 2016 season, Correa could also fill an immediate need at inside linebacker.

The fact Correa can play either linebacker spot, makes him an intriguing option for Green Bay in the draft. Drawing comparison to Matthews by many NFL executives, Correa could fulfill a similar role as the Packers Pro Bowl linebacker on defense. Having two players that can move inside or outside and rush the passer from a variety of positions would only be a benefit to Dom Capers and the Packers defense.

Green Bay could get more creative with their defensive looks and truly utilize Matthews in whichever role they deem best, depending on the down or situation, because they’d have another versatile player at the second level in Correa to line up wherever Matthews isn’t. The Packers also need to get faster and more athletic at the linebacker position, and Correa certainly would give them another dynamic player in their front seven.

Even if the experiment at inside linebacker doesn’t work out, in the very least the Packers would have a young pass rusher to rotate in with Matthews, Peppers, and Nick Perry. He could then compete with Perry for the starting outside linebacker job after Peppers retires.

 

Video:

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Comments (10)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Hematite's picture

March 20, 2016 at 04:56 pm

Sounds smooth, like pounding a round peg into a round hole.
Unfortunately this Packers coaching staff seems to prefer pounding square pegs into round holes.
Probably won't see this cat in Green Bay even if he's available.

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ray nichkee's picture

March 20, 2016 at 05:49 pm

The author seems to know peppers fate in the nfl.

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dandahlke's picture

March 20, 2016 at 07:26 pm

It doesn't take someone who is clairvoyant to see that Peppers will probably retire soon.

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ray nichkee's picture

March 21, 2016 at 01:19 pm

I enjoy your write ups on prospects dan. You do a good job. It sounds like you need thicker skin as a writer.

Your article clearly states he could replace peppers after 2016 and then later states he could compete for the job after peppers retires.

As a reader i assume you speculate peppers will retire next year. You didn't say it was your opinion. You may be right. He may keep chasing a ring as a situational player with the pack or somewhere else. All we know is he is 36 and has more fingers on one hand than jason pierre paul and the seasons left in the nfl for him (peppers) to play.

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dandahlke's picture

March 22, 2016 at 04:50 pm

I'm making the assumption he'll either retire or not be back in Green Bay after next season. I can't imagine a scenario where anyone else picks him up after the 2016 season, but I could be wrong.

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Packer_Pete's picture

March 20, 2016 at 08:39 pm

Watched the video. Not really impressive. Late 2nd round would be fine with me, but 1st round? No way

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dandahlke's picture

March 21, 2016 at 12:46 am

QB sacks at the 3:25 and 5:40 marks not impressive? What I like about Correa is he gets better as the game goes on.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 21, 2016 at 03:10 am

I like this series of articles with the video. Thank you for your effort. Watched BYU and N. Ill, neither of which is Bama. Nice player, but not 1st round, or really not even at #57. 70s guys. Also, looks like an ILB, not an OLB.

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dobber's picture

March 21, 2016 at 09:33 am

I've seen him ranked anywhere from late first to middle third (although those evaluators were looking at him, in part, as a 4-3 DE)...even read a bit where they said he has CMIII type traits. I don't know about that. Surprised that some haven't been harping on his short arms. But the prospect of starting him out inside, letting him get stronger, and then using him all over the field would be an intriguing one.

In some ways, I read his scouting reports and it reminds me vaguely of Carl Bradford...which can't be a good thing.

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NickPerry's picture

March 21, 2016 at 11:17 am

He sure sounds good, but so did Shea Mcclellin coming out of the same school. Other players who played a different position but came out of the same conference were Alex Green & Davante Adams. Call me funny but players from the "Mountain West Conference" don't give me the same feeling as say players from the SEC, ACC, or Big 12 for example. They just don't play the same level of competition.

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