40 Time: 4.81
Hand: 9 3/8″
Projected Draft Position: Late 1st – 2nd
As a Class 5A First-Team All-State linebacker in Georgia, Kevin Minter graduated high school early and enrolled at LSU in January of 2009. He would redshirt his freshman season and see action in 11 games in 2010 as a first-year player. Minter finished the season with 15 tackles and impressed coaches as one of the strongest players on the team — squatting a team-best 545 pounds in May 2010.
Minter would play in all 14 games as a sophomore in 2011, starting 11 of them and finishing the season with 61 tackles (good for fifth-best on the team), 40 of which were solo. He also added 3.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Minter is a physically powerful linebacker with good anticipation and the strong ability to fill gaps against the run. He’s best when playing downhill and moving forward, yet Minter has the lateral speed to track ball carriers and he’s effective at setting the edge and funneling towards stretch plays. Minter possesses an aggressive style of play, which can sometimes allow him to overestimate and take poor angles in traffic, however it’s much more of a benefit for the defense than a fault.
Despite his physical strength, Minter appears comfortable in coverage and he consistently contests underneath routes. He has good awareness and play recognition, making Minter a threat for any play near the line of scrimmage (HB screens, bubble screens, draws, etc.).
Combining well with his physical strength, Minter is a solid tackler that enjoys getting his helmet on the play. He takes good angles in the open field and he has the ability to wrap or lay the hammer. He’s also smart in shedding his blocks, using either brute strength to work through them or agility to maneuver and create space.
Teams will appreciate Minter’s versatility, as he projects well in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defensive scheme. Personally, I think he has the most potential as an inside linebacker due to his balance as both a physical, downhill run-stopper and a guy that can drop back into coverage and cause a stir. Minter is also an underrated blitzer, as he consistently sneaks through the line and surprises with deceiving speed.
Minter is one of my draft crushes this year and I think he makes a long run at the next level. While I don’t see him becoming the next Patrick Willis, I do see him being a reliable and consistent inside linebacker in the NFL for many years. He’s intelligent, he’s a leader, he’s physical, he seems to have a passion for the game and he’s coachable.