Bryan ”BJ” Blunt, LB/S
College: McNeese State | Conference: Southland
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6’0” / 220 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 7th Round or UDFA
NFL Comparison: Malcolm Smith
If teams are looking for a hybrid type of defender with strong special teams upside, they may want to take a flier on BJ Blunt. According to 247 Sports, Blunt was a three-star recruit coming out of McDonough High School in New Orleans. He had originally committed to playing for Arizona State, but was unable to suit up for the Sun Devils as he was deemed academically ineligible coming out of high school. Due to this, Blunt began his playing career with Garden City Community College in Kansas. While attending Garden City, he primarily played strong safety, and excelled in that role. In 2016, they won the NJCAA National Championship, a season in which Blunt recorded 8 interceptions and received NJCAA All-American honors.
After his success at the junior college level, he transferred to McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Upon arrival to campus Blunt’s position was switched to linebacker, where he would be a large contributor to the Cowboy’s defense. By his Senior year, he was the team’s best player on the defensive side of the ball. In 2018, he was named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was an AP FCS First-Team All-American.
After a strong final season in Lake Charles, Blunt received an invitation to play in the East/West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida. He had a solid game that was capped off with a ridiculous interception that should have gotten the attention of talent evaluators everywhere. While he did himself a favor on the field during the all-star game, the event also raised his first major red flag. Blunt only came in at 203 lbs. during the official weigh-in. This immediately inspired the question as to if a permanent switch to safety was inevitable. According to his camp, Blunt has got his weight up to 220 lbs. since the game. This remains to be seen and will be a big topic of discussion at McNeese State’s Pro Day on March 21st.
- High energy player who is very vocal on the field and on the sideline
- Comes with plenty of versatility seeing time at ILB, OLB and Safety while in college
- Has always been noted to be a strong special teams contributor, which may help him make an NFL roster as a rookie
- Hard-hitting defender who is not afraid to throw his body into a play
- Plays with good speed; appeared to get sideline-to-sideline with ease on film
- Size becomes an issue if he is strictly considered a linebacker; might need to switch to strong safety or carve out a hybrid role at the next level
- Played against substantially inferior competition in the FCS and NJCAA levels
- Doesn’t appear to possess many pass rushing skills other than relying on pure speed to get into the backfield
- Can get easily swallowed up by offensive linemen
Let’s See His Work
How He Would Fit The Redskins
Over the past few years the NFL has embraced a new role on defense referred to as the “Moneybacker”. This is a position manned by players who are considered a combination of an undersized linebacker and a safety that lacks the long range coverage speed to be a permanent fixture on the back end of a defense. The position took center stage after the Arizona Cardinals selected Deone Bucannon, who played safety at Washington State University, in the 2014 Draft. The Cardinals Head Coach at the time, Bruce Arians, fit him into their defensive scheme as a hybrid Linebacker/Safety. Bucannon had early success in this role and other teams quickly took notice. Since the NFL is a copycat league, other teams followed suit and attempted to find their own Moneybacker. The Redskins have made two such attempts. First they spent a second round pick in 2016 on Sua Cravens (ya, that didn’t work); and then they turned around the very next year and used a seventh round pick on Josh Harvey-Clemons. So there is evidence that this is a position of interest for Washington. While Harvey-Clemons has been serviceable in spot duties on defense and special teams, he has had a hard time getting onto the field in his first couple of seasons. Blunt is this same type of Moneybacker type player who could be a special teams star sooner rather than later. He has all the physical tools and tenacity to be just that. But right now, Harvey-Clemons is a more polished player having played in the league a few years. So I’m not sure that they would be looking for two players that only have a specialized role in certain defensive packages. I think by adding Blunt, the team would be looking to either press Harvey-Clemons to improve or move on from him altogether. We’ll see what happens come April. Stay tuned Skins fans.