In this edition of Atlanta Falcons Draft, we take a look at Chase Hansen, a linebacker from Utah.
Note: observations come from the Stanford-Utah game.
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 230 pounds
I’ve scouted only defensive or offensive linemen thus far in this series, but the Falcons obviously have other areas of need on the team. Having to play Duke Riley and Jordan Richards has clearly shown a dropoff in the talent level from starter to backup at the linebacker and safety position. Hansen has played both at Utah, and looks like he could play either in the NFL.
Hansen has positional versatility. Played strong safety for the Utah Utes in 2017 before being moved to linebacker this year. Played on field goal and extra point blocking teams. Never came off the field. Played weakside ‘backer when there were two or three LBs on the field and dime ‘backer when he was the only LB on the field. Always around the ball. Not afraid to throw his body around. Never gives up on a play. Assignment sound. Solid tackler. Times his blitzes well. Had a sack and at least one tackle for loss in the game, and also forced a fumble. Good instincts. Comfortable in zone coverage. Athletic enough for man coverage. Good, though not great, speed.
Hansen gets wired to blocks. Has no plan with his pass rush – if he can’t win with speed, he gets stoned, even by running backs. Is a bit undersized – even at 230 pounds he looks more like a safety than a linebacker, and might be better suited going back to safety in the pros. Is not a blazer. Not an elite athlete. Didn’t see him on kick or punt return coverage teams, though he looks like he could play on those units in the NFL if asked to do so.
If I was going to ballpark where I thought Hansen graded out right now, I’d say he looks like a third or fourth round pick. He could conceivably play WLB or SS in the Falcons’ scheme, though I think I might prefer to see him at SS. Either way, to me he looks like an upgrade over either Riley or Richards.
Next week – Michael Walker WR/KR Boston College 6′ 0″ 200 pounds Oct 13 vs Louisville