Every year, we see some high character player that overcomes their physical and athletic limitations to exceed expectations in the NFL, including the likes of Lofa Tatupu, Matt Hasselback, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, and Joe Montana. The question of character becomes confusing though at the NFL level. Former Seattle Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell filtered draft selections based on the criteria of high character, but his choir boy philosophy never panned out. Football is a sport that demands the “dirtbag” and “tough guy” types- you want the Fight Club street fighter type over the valedictorian type. Ruskell picked role model softies like Lawrence Jackson (the pontificator), David Greene, Chris Spencer, Kelly Jennings, Rob Sims, and Mike Teel.
What are the intangibles that seem to pay-off at the next level? I’m going to look at some 2013 draft prospects through the filter of seven key intangibles.
Player Bio of Khas Greene – The Tangibles.
Born – February 4, 1988
Hometown- Elizabeth, NJ
Measurements – 6’1, 230 LBS, 4.52 to 4.75 estimated 40-time, good top-end speed
Education – Senior at Rutgers
Accolades – Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors, Defense ranked No. 6 in the nation in rushing defense and No. 10 in total defense, allowed only 6 rushing touchdowns, third leading tackler of all-time in Rutgers history
Notes – Converted from safety in 2011. Does not have great lateral movement, but this may be a result of his injury in the 2011 Pinstrip Bowl.
Leadership. Leader’s focus on legacy and what impact they have on other players. In an interview right before the Russell Athletic Bowl, Greene discussed how his goal was to leave a legacy with his time at Rutgers. ”I just want them to remember me as a great guy, great leader and a great teammate,” Khaseem Greene. Green is a very vocal leader on and off the field.
Physical Toughness. This maybe Greene’s weakest point. As an undersized linebacker, he doesn’t attack blockers in any physically dominating way. While watching film on the game against UConn and the game against Syracuse, in both games a blocker violently throws Greene backwards.
Aggressive Nastiness. Aggressive nastiness does not show up on film. At times, Green plays soft and at other times he hits hard and plays aggressively. Which Greene will show up in the NFL?
Competitiveness/Setting The Tone. “I’m going to run to the ball, relentless to the ball and maximum effort and never give up on the play and just keep playing to the whistle,” Greene says in his interview. However, the film does not show tone-setting high-motor effort on every play.
Work Ethic/Desire To Be Great. Interviews with Rutger teammates and coaches indicate that Khaseem works harder than anyone in the linebacker’s room, in the weight room and in the class room. Greene has elite play-recognition and anticipation skills, which comes from hard work in the film room. In addition, Greene shows great timing in the blitz and patience during delayed blitzes. He had 5.5 sacks last year.
Mental Toughness/Resilience. With the way that Greene handled a serious ankle injury, he has shown that he knows how to battle adversity. In the NFL, he would likely be targeted and tested in coverage, and he would need strong mental toughness to bounce back when he inevitably gets beat. He’ll also be tested with inside zone blocking traps that seemed to pose problems for him at the college level.
Football IQ. As a former safety, Greene has strong play-recognition instincts and this shows up on film. He’ll do well reading and reacting to plays, especially in defending the underneath routes in zone coverage. On the flip side, Greene does not show fluid lateral movement or strong man-to-man coverage. After reading some other scouting reports on Greene, from my own film analysis I did not come away as impressed with his coverage skills as indicated in those reports. However, the Seahawks were destroyed last year by slot receivers and tight ends in the seams, and Green would definitely upgrade our coverage skills at the WILL position.
Overview. Khaseem Greene is a boom-bust type player in the NFL, who would likely struggle as a rookie and be more of a player that takes two to three years to develop. He has excellent instincts, play-recognition and work ethic. On the other hand, Greene is not consistent. I’m not convinced that Greene is the player that will win a street fight and he particularly struggles against pulling guards on the second level. He’s definitely a player with the ability to overcome his deficiencies at the next level through hard work and leadership ability. I do believe that Pete Carroll would see him as a playmaker and the player that possesses unique skill sets. The Seahawks would be an ideal fit for Greene as we highlight player strengths and hide weaknesses.
Intangible Score - 4 out of 7
Prediction - Third or fourth round pick. His combine 40-yard times will likely strongly impact his draft status. He’s a good fit for the Seahawks, and I could see our team taking a gamble on him in the mid-rounds especially since he would be a great contributor on special teams.