Paul Worrilow Gives the Lions Servicable Depth at Linebacker

Paul Worrilow is one of those players that fans love to hate. He recorded a 4.59s 40 yard dash, 30 bench reps, a 10’4″ broad jump and a 34-1/2″ vertical at his Pro Day. His 20 yard shuttle time was 3.97 seconds and his 3 cone drill was 6.5 seconds. Worrilow had made the most of his chance to impress scouts on a cloudy Deleware day.

To put that in to perspective, the ultra athletic Haason Reddick, who has piqued the entire league’s curiosity in 2016 put up a mixture of slightly better and slightly worse numbers. He ran a 4.52s 40 yard dash, 24 bench reps, a 11’1″ broad jump and a 36-1/2″ vertical. His 20 yard shuttle time was 4.37 seconds and his 3 cone drill was 7.01 seconds. Worrilow went undrafted, unlike Reddick who has been rumored as a Lions first round target in 2016.

The only “linebacker” who ran a faster 40 yard dash at the 2016 NFL combine was Jabrill Peppers, who is really a safety.  Reddick is one of two linebackers who were grouped with the defensive linemen because of their college alignment that ran a faster 40 than Worrilow. None of the linebackers in this year’s combine managed more than 25 reps on the bench. Similarly, Worrilow’s three cone, and 20 yard shuttle would have been the best in 2016’s NFL combine.

Great – But Can He Play Football?

Worrilow went undrafted, but exploded on to the scene in Atlanta. He took over the strong side linebacker job during his rookie season. He recorded 17 tackles in a November 2013 game against the Panthers. Worrilow has the athletic ability to get to wherever the play is, and can go around or through blockers as required. His first step though is always an instant late making many of his tackles come at the end of a four yard gain rather than a two yard gain. To combat this Worrilow will occasionally commit to a hole in the running game before the running back, getting caught up in traffic and leaving him unable to flow from sideline to sideline and take advantage of his athletic ability.

His instincts in coverage are questionable. When his assignment is obvious, he fulfills it. His athletic ability makes it difficult for most tight ends and some wide receivers to shake him. It is in zone coverage when no obvious responsibility presents itself that Worrilow can have problems. He is often flat footed,  standing in one place as the play develops around him. Once the play occurs he chases it down. Worrilow combined his own shortcomings in anticipating the play, and ability to make up for his and others’ mistakes to lead the Falcons in tackles from 2013-2015. Worrilow moved to a special teams role in 2016 primarily. The Falcons’ Deion Jones emerged as a star in the middle of the front seven and Worrilow became expendable.

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About the Author

Ash Thompson
Ash Thompson is a fanatical football fan, and less fanatical hockey fan despite his Canadian heritage. He is sorry aboot that. His spirit animal is a beaver with a shark's head. He is also known as /u/a5hcrack on reddit, and can be found on twitter @a5hcrack