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Jonathan Casillas LB 6'2 226 Wisconsin

By: Robert Davis

After Casillas spent a year as a reserve and special teamer, he moved into the starting line up and has been a fixture ever since. As a sophomore, Casillas had 83 tackles, 12.5 for loss, two sacks and an interception. He followed that season up with another standout season last year, finishing with 96 tackles, nine for loss, and a sack. A knee injury limited Casillas all season long in 2008. He missed the first two games but played through pain the rest of the year. He still managed to finish third on the team in tackles with 62, six for loss, a sack, and an interception.

Strengths

Casillas is as aggressive as they come in a linebacker. He loves to fly around the football field and deliver a blow on the ball carrier. He breaks down well and tackles well in the open field. Casillas could be a standout playmaker from his weakside position in the NFL because of his natural athleticism. He glides around the football field and has excellent closing speed on the action. His speed allows him to run down plays all over the field, and to blitz and blow by blockers. The combination of his aggression and speed allow him to play bigger than he actually is. In coverage, Casillas shows the agility and quickness to stick with the receiver and the awareness to break up the action when the ball is in the air.

Weaknesses

Size is the only glaring issue with Casillas. He plays bigger, but he still needs to bulk up in the NFL. He will have a lot of trouble fighting off blocks, and he will not be able to run around them in the NFL. Teams can target him and once a blocker gets a hold of him, Casillas cannot get off the block and is taken out of the play completely. A knee injury limited him this season, and he had surgery which caused him to miss Wisconsinís bowl game. He will need to be healthy in time for workouts to show his stuff to pro teams.

Future

Jonathan Casillas has a lot of positive things going for him, but his one negative could be a pretty big one. If he can add a little weight and get stronger to aid in getting off blocks, he has the athleticism and speed to be an excellent linebacker in the NFL. The knee injury could really hurt his draft stock. He is expected to be able to work out before the draft but if he is unable to, he could have a long wait on draft day.


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