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Otaro Alaka Is Unheralded But Has Starting Quality Traits; Should The Redskins Add Him At Linebacker?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft Prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Texas A&M Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Otaro Alaka, LB
School: Texas A&M | Conference: SEC
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 240 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd or 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Reggie Ragland

College Statistics

Player Overview

Otaro Alaka was a highly recruited 4-star prospect from Houston, Texas back in 2014. Alaka got offers from major programs all over the country but wanted to stay in state and initially committed to Texas. Former A&M coach Kevin Sumlin lured Alaka from the BIG 12 to the SEC and he became a consistent and important piece to the Texas A&M defense for years. Early in his career he had season ending labrum and elbow injuries but since those injuries during his sophomore season he has a productive stalwart at the position. Alaka tied Montez Sweat for 5th place in the SEC for their tackle for loss totals (14.5) this past season and is 4th all time in Texas A&M history in career tackles for loss (37) which is behind players like Von Miller, Myles Garrett, and Damontre Moore. Aside from being a productive player Alaka was also praised for being a leader by his teammates. He now enters combine season where his athletic numbers will determine a lot about where he ultimately gets drafted. If he posts good numbers it will help confirm the eye test as well as round out things when considering the rest of his skillset. He should be an eventual starter in the NFL.

Strengths

  • Good size, athleticism, quickness, strength, and instincts for the position.
  • Particularly effective in run support. Alaka got a lot of help with Kingsley Keke and Daylon Mack in front of him but he still shows that he has impressive read and react ability and rarely gets fooled or turned around. Once he diagnoses the play he is full speed ahead to the ball. Play strength and leverage are great there are times he’s taking on o-linemen 1 on 1 and he can win and put them in their heels.
  • Reliable and consistent tackler who makes a lot of stops around the LOS. Has the quickness and technique to fight through blocks and can create pressure up the middle or from the edge displaying some pass rush ability.
  • Praised for his hard work mentality and ability as a leader by his coaches and teammates.

Weaknesses

  • While overall athleticism appears to be checked and he looks decent moving in space he doesn’t have much coverage fundamentals to work with. Will need to be taught a few things in zone but especially in man.
  • Aggressive player and can overshoot pursuit angles and go all out for tackles sometimes. This is a problem if he misses.
  • While he played both outside and inside in college I think his skills translate better to inside linebacker at the next level in both schemes so he may lose some of the versatility he previously had.
  • Suffered elbow and shoulder injuries 3 years ago and had a wrist injury at the end of the season this year. Clear medicals will be something to monitor at the combine.

Let’s see his work:

More Otaro Alaka videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

I think Alaka has a lot of qualities the Redskins should want at inside linebacker. Aside from his physicality and tackling ability his instincts and disruption stand out. Washington is all to used to its inside linebackers being stuck in the mud while they diagnose a play. Alaka appears to be a natural at this and is falls nicely in the middle of old school and new age NFL linebacker. Who coaches linebackers now? Rob Ryan? I guess my concern is if Alaka gets the coaching and development he needs here to make him a more well-rounded player at the position. He moves around pretty well but he needs better read ability when it comes to reading the QBs eyes when he’s dropping back in coverage. He also needs to learn some technical skills to make him consistent and competent in man coverage. The Redskins need inside linebackers even if the starting duo is Reuben Foster and Zach Brown. Alaka could develop the skills he’s missing under these two and eventually move into the starting lineup after Brown’s contact is up. For his projected mid-round status he would be a nice investment for the team.