However, doesn't play with a consistent passion, at times looks content to be blocked and sealed from the play and too often simply tries to run around defenders, sealing himself away from ball carrier at times. Displays good range in pursuit and can make plays away from his frame, but isn't the most sound of tacklers into contact. Has a tendency to easily slide off ball carriers and lacks ideal technique when asked to wrap up in space.
Displays good body control and overall fluidity in the pass game, can open up his hips, redirect cleanly and does display an above-average burst out of his breaks. However, possesses only average instincts. At times struggles to get his head around and find the football, and even when he does locate the ball in the pass game, he plays too tentative and doesn't quickly click and close and make the play. Doesn't always trust what he sees.
Impression: Looks much more comfortable playing on the outside where he doesn't have to key off as many blocks. Displays good athleticism and can be powerful when taking on opposing linemen, but questionable instincts and work rate hurt his cause. Has the skill set to start for a team, but I don't think he's the type of potential blue/red-chip prospect many are making him out to be."
Sturdivant exploded onto the national scene a year later, registering an NCAA-leading 87 solo tackles (122 total) to go along with 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and another two interceptions. As a junior, despite alternating between inside and his customary outside linebacker position, Sturdivant again led the talented UNC defense in tackles, registering 79 stops, including 12 tackles for loss.
As was the case for most of the team during the 2010 season, Sturdivant struggled. A troublesome hamstring limited him to only seven games but his productive play stood out as he finished among UNC leaders with 49 stops, including 6.5 tackles for loss and two sacks -- but it wasn't the season he and scouts expected. With four starting seasons, however, scouts know Sturdivant well enough. Sturdivant might not boast some of his teammates' flashiness or rare athleticism, but his versatility and steady, productive play is certain to create interest from NFL clubs in the middle rounds.
Read & React: Fires toward the line of scrimmage against the run. Can beat the blocker to the spot and is a tackle machine. Susceptible to play-action due to his aggressiveness but is athletic and savvy enough to rarely be caught out of position without recovering. Good understanding of angles in the passing game. Struggles a bit when changing direction and can get himself in trouble in the open field against slippery runners. Seems to always make the tackle, but it isn't always pretty or textbook execution.
Run Defense: Best attribute as a run defender is his straight-line speed to the flanks. Attacks the line of scrimmage and can beat the blocker to the action due to his instincts and aggression. Quick enough laterally to avoid blocks, but struggles to disengage when his opponent does get to him. Needs to develop better upper-body strength and refine his hand play to get free of blocks quicker. Good effort laterally and pursuit.
Pass Defense: Possesses the straight-line speed to remain at outside linebacker in the NFL, though he offers only average balance and agility to remain with tight ends and running backs one on one. Has a rare understanding of the passing game for a linebacker due to his experience as a quarterback. Reads the quarterback's eyes and breaks on the ball well, showing better than average ball skills for the position.
Tackling: Isn't a classic striker despite his gaudy tackle numbers. "Catches" many of his tackles, as he has a tendency to overrun the play slightly and is forced to break back inside to ride the ballcarrier to the ground. As such, he isn't always the prettiest open-field tackler, but consistently gets the job done. Scouts would like to see him become a bigger, more explosive hitter.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Only occasionally asked to rush the passer in this scheme, though he does show a burst to attack the line of scrimmage when blitzing. Relies too much on his speed to beat the pass blocker, getting stalemated when his initial speed rush is stopped. Still a work in progress disengaging from blocks. Shows little to no technique rushing the passer.
Intangibles: Proved his work ethic by graduating from high school early to enroll at UNC and adjust to the linebacker position. Was a highly successful quarterback in high school, earning conference offensive player of the year honors and leading his team to the state playoffs. Characterized by those close to the North Carolina program as a team leader. Teams will question Sturdivant about his arrest in July 2010 for marijuana possession.
Sturdivant is a great cover linebacker.
Sturdivant was a four star recruit who made a name for himself early on at North Carolina, finishing the season as the starting outside linebacker in their young, improving defense. He has started every game since then, and quietly became one of the stars of the talented UNC defense eventually moving to the inside as a junior.
Sturdivant is one of the best coverage linebackers entering the 2011 NFL Draft. His instincts are incredible as he reads and reacts to the play immediately. He is very quick and agile, often showcasing his above average athleticism. Sturdivant is excellent in ball carrier pursuit, finding a way to fight through traffic and locate the football. He’s a very consistent player with very little injury history. He’s a tough player despite his small frame. He’s quite the leader, and was one of the few UNC players not to be affected by the NFL Player/Agent scandal that hurt many of his teammates. He’s a solid wrap up tackler who does a nice job of breaking down and making the play. He moves very well sideline to sideline, and is seemingly always where the football is.
Sturdivant isn’t a very strong player, and he doesn’t do a very good job in driving through the ball carrier to bring them down. He doesn’t offer much in terms of pass rushing ability. Sturdivant needs to bulk up a bit and learn to shed blockers with ease. He often gets engaged and thrown around when trying to make a play close to the line of scrimmage. He’s not a pure athlete and won’t surprise many people with his combine numbers. While he played inside linebacker his last two seasons at North Carolina, he may be best off as a weakside backer in a 4-3 defense, or could bulk up and become a utility 3-4 outside linebacker with an improved pass rush, a la Mike Vrabel.
Sturdivant is a Top 50 talent, for sure, but his lack of great athleticism could make him fall just a bit outside. He’s a talented player, and a pure coverage linebacker who plays well sideline to sideline and has a lot to offer a 4-3 defense. He may need to be groomed a bit as he won’t start right away. Look fro Minnesota to take a long hard look at Sturdivant with pick 43 overall. Detroit, Denver, St. Louis, Oakland, and Jacksonville are also excellent options for him to land, with Tampa Bay at 51 being the lowest pick I could see him being selected. The demand for 4-3 outside linebackers isn’t very high, so it’s possible that he falls to the third, but unlikely.
NFL Comparison: Keith Bulluck"
Positive: Aggressive run defending linebacker who makes a lot of plays between the numbers. Breaks down well, has good quickness, and explodes up the field filling gaps in run defense. Chases the action hard, holds his ground against blocks, and gets depth on pass drops. Flashes the ability to run downfield with tight ends.
Negative: Lacks great size and shows minimal force on the blitz. Not a strong open-field tackler and struggles to immediately bring ball carriers down at the point of contact. Easily slowed by blocks. Lacks quickness scraping laterally. Average athlete.
Analysis: Sturdivant was a terrific run-defending linebacker at North Carolina who also showed skill making plays in space. He does not possess great size for a middle linebacker at the next level, and he does not have the cover skills to be moved to the weak side. He may be best on the inside of a 3-4 alignment but will need time to develop and physically mature."
Negatives: Lacks explosiveness, does not drive through ball carriers, needs to do a better job of moving feet after contact instead of tackling high and dragging ball carrier to the ground... Could stand to add more bulk and upper-body strength, somewhat undersized for an NFL inside backer... Is not a heavy hitter, will not force a lot of fumbles or push ball carriers into backfield... Does not blitz often and often struggles with disengaging from blocks at first, needs to develop more pass-rushing moves... Small character concerns including an arrest for marijuana possession before start of 2010 season... Does not have the size to play inside in a 4-3 and needs to develop more pass-rushing capabilities if he is to play outside backer in 4-3, looks to be best suited for ILB in a 3-4."
Weaknesses: Not very tall, and not the type who will often dominate a game. A steady player with less-than-desirable overall intangibles. Can be thrown over. Can be deked occasionally, and will sometimes over-run plays. Thinkd he'd better than he is. Can get caught up in trash and must do a better job of protecting his lower body from 2nd-level blockers.
Projection: 4-5th rounder who will need a careful psychological profile done."
For the 2009 season Sturdivant moved to the middle of the linebacker corps and his leadership has led to a stifling Tar Heel defense. He was not asked to do as much as far as tackling is concerned from his new position thanks to an improving defense around him, but he still led the team with 75 tackles during the regular season and did a great job getting into the backfield, totaling 12.0 tackles-for-loss, one sack and six quarterback hurries. Sturdivant has turned into a leader during the 2010 campaign after many of the other stars on defense have been suspended. However, a hamstring injury has limited him to just three games so far this year.
What makes Sturdivant so valuable is his versatility. He can play any linebacker position, and once he is there he can do everything one would want a linebacker to do. He can obviously use his 6-2, 235 pound frame to fight his way into the backfield, but he is also more than capable of dropping back into coverage."
Part of one of the most talented defenses in all the land, Sturdivant is a smooth, instinctive, and athletic linebacker. The two things that stand out the most about him on the field are his ability to play sideline-to-sideline in the run game and his coverage ability in the pass game. Standing at 6’2” the muscular Sturdivant has fine NFL measurables in terms of his length and muscle mass and although his frame is not on the elite end, he has the ability to add more weight. In terms of scheme, Sturdivant is strictly a 4-3 linebacker, but he is versatile enough to man the weak side, middle, and the strong side, with the WILL likely his strongest position. While Sturdivant is a very versatile and steady player he offers very little in terms of creating turnovers or making splash plays against the pass. He also needs to get stronger and do a better job when asked to play in a phone booth and engage with blockers. At just around 230 pounds the linebacker needs to bulk up and get heavier whether he lines up inside or out, although if he does shift to the interior to the man the middle this becomes even more vital. It appears he will enter the league best prepared to contribute as a weak side linebacker, although some are convinced that middle linebacker is the position that offers him the highest ceiling. Sturdivant begins the season as our number 32-ranked prospect for the 2011 NFL Draft, but he is no lock to go in round one. He’s a borderline first rounder who should slip no further than round number two."
Despite lacking ideal bulk, he is most ideally suited to play inside in the pros, having shown he can quickly sort out what is happening in front of him and make plays from tackle to tackle. He keys and diagnoses quickly, has good football intelligence and is a solid tackler."
Quan Sturdivant has the Strength, Fluidity, and Range to be successfull as a Mid Fielder ~ Middle LineBacker, to you Earthlings ~ and the Verticity to Turn + Burn on Pass plays...But his Instincts and Diagnostic Skills leave much to be desired, as does his Stamina.
I'm not prepared to write him off, all together, but I think his stock is a bit inflated.
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