Atlanta Falcons Draft Spotlight: ILB Stephone Anthony

4 of 5

Aug 31, 2013; Clemson, SC, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Keith Marshall (4) carries the ball while being defended by Clemson Tigers linebacker Stephone Anthony (42) during the fourth quarter at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Tigers won 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports


Anthony is an aggressive player, and his desire to get downhill and attack can sometimes come back to haunt him.

He’s not particularly good at diagnosing play-action, causing false steps and leaving him vulnerable to cut-back lanes. At times he’ll simply attack gaps in a desire to make a play in the backfield, creating opportunities for RBs to bounce runs to the outside.

More from Atlanta Falcons Draft

His hand usage isn’t great, and he can struggle with disengaging from blockers. Anthony could stand to learn better leverage technique and he needs to commit to taking on blocks head-on.

At times he seems to try to use his athleticism to wiggle around blockers, inadvertently opening wider lanes for the ball carrier.

Anthony’s instincts need further development, as he needs to better understand when to attack and when to wait for a play to develop. He was surrounded by a lot of talent at Clemson, which tended to bail him out if he took a bad angle or got into the backfield too early.

While I’ve been impressed with Anthony’s coverage chops, he’s a 6’3″, 243-pound LB and that has some limitations.

He’s not particularly good in man coverage, and could struggle with some of the ultra-athletic TEs he’ll encounter in the NFL. Anthony should not be depended on to cover particularly speedy RBs down the field either, though he’s shown adequate skills in short-area coverage and crossing patterns.

As he often does, Lance Zierlein sums up Anthony quite well in his draft profile:

"“Anthony showed off his athleticism this post season and now the question becomes whether he can play fast all the time as a pro. He tries to get downhill and make plays, but more often it feels like he’s guessing rather than instinctive. If he can play with more control and play to his traits, he’ll be a starting linebacker in the league,” Zierlein writes."

Regardless of his shortcomings, it’s clear Anthony is a talented ILB that should have a future in the NFL.

But is he a fit for Quinn’s defense?

Next: Fit in Quinn's Defense and Final Thoughts