Azeez Al-Shaair, LB
School: Florida Atlantic | Conference: C-USA
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 234 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 6th Round to UDFA
NFL Comparison: Devante Downs
Azeez Al-Shaair was on his way to putting up another monster season filled with production until a torn ACL ended his senior year prematurely. Al-Shaair has been one of the best players in the C-USA and one of the most productive players in college football. His journey to dominant FAU defender is one filled with tragedy and unfortunate circumstances. Al-Shaair didn’t exactly have a stable upbringing, his parents were divorced, his mom worked multiple jobs while she tried to raise 8 kids. Around 15 years-old Al-Shaair and a couple of his brothers went to live with his grandmother to help alleviate that burden. One night he was awakened by smoke and found the kitchen had gone up in flames. He promptly got his family out of the home and to safety outside as they had to watch the place burn down. As you can imagine he never had much bounced around in his living situation a lot.
Football was his outlet from his situation and though he got a late start to it (he started playing his junior year in high school) teams did start to take notice. A native of Tampa, Florida he got two offers from South Florida, and FAU. Attending FAU was one of the best decisions he ever made. His production has always been good but after Lane Kiffin and his staff too over the program in 2017 Al-Shaair took his play to another level. The support he received from the university was great for his development not only on the field but off the field as well. He got his two younger brothers moved into an on campus apartment and became their legal guardian. He has a lot riding on his performance during this evaluation process but regardless of where he ends up going in the draft you know he’s going to give it his all not just to be the best player he can be but to improve the lives of his family.
- Good size and physicality for the position.
- Well built, allegedly played as low as 228 last season but I couldn't tell. Arm length is pretty good considering his height and he can use it to fight through blockers. Has some power to his hits.
- Read and react ability is there once he see’s the play develop he is full speed downhill to make the stop.
- Prolific and consistent tackler.
- Raw player overall who got a late start playing the game. Needs work in just about all areas as far as technique but especially regarding hand placement, stack and shed, and coverage.
- Lacks that closing burst in the backfield that you want to see. He would have had a lot more sack production is it wasn’t for that. Overall athleticism is a question as well. He’s a long strider and it looks like he can build some speed but it isn’t great. Also hard to tell as the angles he takes to the ball aren’t efficient at times.
- Plays strength needs to improve as he gets tied up with offensive linemen too often and is slow to disengage. Instincts are questionable he can take a lot of false steps pre snap and get himself out of position.
- Torn ACL this year in October but probably will be ready for Training Camp.
Let’s see his work:
Azeez Al-Shaair— Big Time Players (@BTPlayers1) June 26, 2018
Pos. LB Ht. 6'2 Wt. 228
2017: 146tackles, 10TFL, 2.5sacks, and 4PBU. Phil Steele 1st All Conference team.
253 career tackles. Shaair is a special sleeper, with elite quickness & a great 1st step. Shoots the gap like an All Pro. Violent Hitter, Tremendous Tackler. pic.twitter.com/MiytkZTXP2
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
The depth for the ILB position looks suspect even know considering the team should really be looking to move on from M. Foster, perhaps Brown, and Vigil isn’t under contract. That leaves R. Foster who could face suspension, Marquis Flowers, SDH and JHC. The Redskins could potentially add two or more players at this position to either compete for starting roles or depth. Al-Shaair is a project but he’s flashed some key skills and ability over his career that indicate he’s a project work taking on. He probably won’t ever become a premier athlete but certainly can become a key player on the special teams unit to start. His physicality and tackling technique could shine there. If he joined the Redskins I’d have faith that Coach Ryan could teach him some of the fundamental stuff he’s lacking. I think that he would improve his pursuit angles, instincts, and coverage ability over time. The big question is whether or not the Redskins actually have a plan for these projects? The results for work done with Harvey-Clemons, Zack Vigil, and Dion-Hamilton have yet to be really seen outside of they are forced into action because of injury. That doesn’t mean that every late round player can be developed into a starter but you kinda would like to see them be developed to the level of lack luster starters at the position (looking at Mason Foster). All of that aside there could be a spot for Al-Shaair in a future instance of the team if they think he’s worth developing.