Was asked to play up near the line of scrimmage more often this season and he does a nice job reading his run keys and quickly closing the breakdown from the backside. He isn't the most impressive of tacklers when asked to break down in tight areas, however. Has a tendency to drop his head and fails to consistently see what he wants to hit. Displays above-average physicality when asked to play in man coverage on the outside. Did a nice job getting into receivers and re-routing them off the line. Gets a bit grabby and lacks the initial burst out of his breaks to stay with them in and out of their routes. But was effective on corner blitzes.
Impression: Lacks great straight-line speed which will show up at times and is a bit stiff in space. Has a chance to make an NFL roster, but looks more like a reserve only."
He started immediately as a redshirt freshman, with only neck and shoulder injuries forcing him onto the sideline as a reserve through the second half of the season (63 tackles, two interceptions, three pass breakups). MAC coaches voted him second-team all-conference in 2008 in part because of his six interceptions (along with 106 tackles, four for loss, five PBUs, three forced fumbles), then to the first team as a junior with his seven interceptions ranking fourth nationally (87 tackles, 2.5 TFL, four PBUs, four FF).
Lainhart dropped down to the All-MAC second team in 2010 because he lacked the gaudy numbers (88 tackles, 2.5 TFL, two INTs, five PBUs), and scouts may not like his average straight-line speed. But his short-area quickness, secure tackling and ability to make plays in the air could lead teams to consider him as a late-round pick.
Positives: Solid Cover-2 deep safety with awareness and hands to make plays versus the pass if quarterbacks do not hold him with their eyes. Fair backpedal smoothness, good short-area quickness for a safety. Uses size and long arms to handle outside receiver effectively when corners brought on blitz. Breaks down well in space to prevent ballcarriers from escaping his wrap tackles. Regularly brought into the box versus the run. Has length and good upper-body strength to wrap up strong running backs around the line of scrimmage. Seals edge when near the line, takes on pulling guard to force run plays inside. Team captain in 2010.
Negatives: A shade slower than scouts like in a free safety. Lacks recovery speed to chase down elusive ballcarriers; receivers can run by him down the sideline if he hesitates on play action. Too often fails to recognize misdirection when in the box. Not a dominating hitter, hesitates instead of exploding into tackles."
Positive: Instinctive, aggressive safety at his best playing downhill. Quick up the field, physical in all aspects of the game, and wraps up tackling. Plays with explosiveness, consistently puts himself in a position to make plays on the ball, and works until the whistle blows.
Negative: Struggles with his ball skills and is late arriving on the scene in coverage. Slow flipping his hips and doesn't change direction quickly enough. Does not possess top sideline-to-sideline range.
Analysis: Lainhart has been a terrific college safety but lacks the pure athletic skills to consistently make plays outside the numbers. He'd be a productive backup in a zone system that asks him to play in the box. He comes with a special teams mentality."
Strengths: Athletic and strong defender who can anticipate and accurately read opponent's play. Great size and speed combination for free safety. Great 'will to hit' and demonstrates excellent work ethic in weight room. Respected team leader.
Weaknesses: Significant production drop as senior (2 INTs vs 13 in previous two years) - probably due to teams throwing 'away' from him. Sometimes overpursues and can miss the tackle. 'Anticipation' makes him liable to bite on play action. Shows some stiffness and could improve his hip flexibility.
Projection: 7th round."
By 2009 the Mid-American Conference should have known better than to throw in his direction, but Lainhart kept picking off passes, forcing fumbles and making tackles. Lainhart's numbers have dipped a little bit in 2010. Through 11 games he is second on the team with 82 tackles, but he only has two interceptions and has forced just one fumble. That would be a good season for most other players, but Lainhart has set the bar pretty high for himself.
Kent State's bowl hopes were dashed after a loss to Western Michigan, but Lainhart's career could continue at the next level. He is an interesting prospect at the next level. He could be a fine free safety because of his superb instincts and big play ability. However, his lack of strength should keep him waiting to hear his name called well into the late rounds."
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