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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Shilique Calhoun, OLB/DE, Michigan State

Michigan State DE/OLB Shilique Calhoun is profiled for the 2016 NFL Draft.

 

Shilique Calhoun, DE/OLB, Michigan State

Position: Edge-Rusher (3-4 Outside Linebacker)
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 251
Year: Senior
Hometown: Middletown, NJ
Experience: Sr. - 3 year starter

Measureables:

40yd dash:           4.82
Broad jump:        9’7”
Vertical:                35”
3-cone:                  6.97
20yd. Shuttle:      4.25
Bench Press:      23 reps

Career Notes:

Playing almost exclusively as a hand-in-the-dirt edge rusher for Michigan State, Calhoun consistently ranked as one of the most productive pass-rushers in the Big 10, finishing in the top 3 in sack totals each of the past 3 season and amassing a total of 27 career sacks. Calhoun was a 3 time first-team All-Big Ten Selection, a 3 time second team All-American, and a 2 time team captain. He also finished as a semi-finalist for several annual awards, such as the Lombardi Award (lineman of the year) twice and the Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year) twice and won the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the year award as a sophomore.

Injury Report: 

Suffered no major injuries in college, but dropped out of the Senior Bowl because of what was deemed as a non-serious wrist injury.

Career Stats:

Games: 39
Solo T:   74
Ast T:     57
Total T:  131
TFLs:     44.0
Sacks:   27.0
FF:          4

Analysis:

Against the Run – 2.5/5

Calhoun plays the run reasonably well despite his below-average size. He displayed versatility by aligning all along the defensive front for the Spartans: most often on the outside to the left or the right but sometimes bumping inside on obvious passing downs. He competes on run downs, but his clear lack of strength leads to him being blocked out of the play too easily on certain plays. This is perhaps one of the few areas where his tape from college can be graded as a minus. But since based on his height, weight and combine traits he may profile better as a pass-rushing outside linebacker, his grade against the run matters less than it would for a base 4-3 team. He gets a bump as a run defender if considering him as an outside linebacker, which is how he’d be used by the Packers.

Pass Rush – 3.0/5

His ability to rush the passer is probably one of his most pro-ready traits simply because of the displays of speed rushes that lead to most of his double digit sack totals over the majority of his career. Despite his high sack totals, he loses some points because he really only has one move aside from his speed rush: a spin-move that rarely fools opposing college tackles. Because of the importance of getting the ball out in modern pass game, most successful pass rushers have elements of speed to power in their moves to get to the quarterback quickly. Calhoun’s lack of size and strength limits his upside to develop a speed to power game that would make him an elite edge rusher.

Coverage – 2.0/5

Because Michigan State ran almost exclusively a 4-3, Calhoun was rarely tasked with dropping into coverage except for the few zone blitzes they ran. But because of his short area quickness, it seems reasonable to expect him to be passable in this department in due time. If the Packers select him he will have to drop into coverage more than if he were to be selected by an even front team.

Agility – 4.0/5

On tape, Calhoun stands out as someone who has the initial burst that most elite pass-rushers possess. But his combine performance was even more impressive than that. When compared to other defensive ends, his 4.25 20 yard shuttle scored in the 82nd percentile while his 6.97 3 cone drill placed him in the 87th percentile. Even though he will not play defensive end for the Packers, it still shows that he displays better agility than his peers at the position. When compared to more athletic outside linebackers, his agility still stood out as significantly above average. His 3 cone drill ranked in the 77th percentile when his 20 yard shuttle time places him in the 58th.

Impact Play Ability – 3.5/5

Calhoun’s success as a speed rusher means that more often than not his sacks were for large losses – a 7 to 10 yard sack vs. a 3 to 5 yard loss. Because of his lack of strength combined with his minimal pass-rushing moves, it is uncertain if he will be able to translate his strong college production to the pro game. But on those speed rushes, he does show the awareness to try and force fumbles to attempt and force a turnover. 

Overall – 3.0/5

Top 50 Prospect and solid rotational defensive end with a high floor but limited upside. Will need at least one superior outside or interior pass-rusher around him to soak up double teams and garner most of an offensive team’s attention.

 

If drafted by the Packers:

Because of the Packers base 3-4 defense, Calhoun would likely be ticketed as a 3-4 OLB should Green Bay select him. His 251 lb. weight at the weigh in does not provide him the weight nor density to play as a down lineman in an odd front aside from the occasional nickel package in one of Dom Capers creative sub packages. Despite Calhoun’s pedigree and production from college, his experience and relative NFL readiness are mitigated by the fact that being selected by the Packers would mean he would be transitioning positions. While he did do some pass-rushing from a 2 point stance in college, most of those were simple speed rushes that appeared more impressive on tape because they occurred in neutral site games played on artificial turf. He lacks more than one discernable pass-rush move – a rather predictable spin move that most competent NFL tackles should easily be able to sniff out. Calhoun is a nice Day 2 prospect for a 4-3 team that is in need of productive snaps at 4-3 DE and aren’t as concerned about getting a Pro Bowl caliber player with that selection. The Packers just are not that team.

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