Blades has been one of the best linebackers in college each of the past two years. He established himself as a future star as a freshman, when he finished with 57 tackles, 4.5 of them for loss. He became a star a year later when he had 108 tackles, 10.5 for loss, two sacks, and three interceptions on his way to All Big East 1st Team honors. He again was named to the 1st team as a junior after posting a career high 121 tackles, 3.5 for loss, one sack, and one pick. As hard as it is to believe, Blades had an even better senior year with 147 tackles, 10.5 for loss, a sack, and two interceptions.
HB Blades is a force up and down the line of scrimmage. Very few players play with as much intensity and aggression. He is quick to diagnose the run and immediately fills a lane, looking to hit someone. Despite his lack of size, he is very physical and can take on blockers and still make the tackle. Blades is an excellent interior run stuffer, but has the speed to run plays down on the outside. His experience inside and out for the Panthers will only help him earn early playing time in the NFL. Blades is a leader, and has every intangible you want in a linebacker.
Size is the glaring weakness in Blades’ game. He lacks ideal height, and even though he is strong and physical, his overall lack of size will lead to him being engulfed by NFL lineman at times. He does not show the ability to drop into coverage on a consistent basis, and his height causes matchup problems.
Blades will be a very good NFL linebacker. His intelligence, intensity, and leadership skills will make him a valuable member of any team. Physically, he may have some shortcomings, but he makes up for it with his attitude and will to get the job done.