My initial impetus for this film study was to take a closer look at Packers’ LB Vic So’oto, who seemingly has caught the attention of many Packers fans. As I played back the Arizona preseason game, I soon noticed that Jamari Lattimore was getting quite a few snaps over at ROLB. Why not take a look at both, I thought to my self. Well, I’m glad I did.
Taking a close look, it’s easy to see what Ted Thompson saw in both of these players, and just as easy to see why they didn’t get drafted. When you are a very successful college football player, as both of these men were, and you don’t get drafted, it’s because you’re missing something. It could be a physical attribute, a mental deficiency, a lack of experience or playing against inferior competition.
By coincidence, what each of these players lack is something that the other player has as a strength. If we could combine their best attributes into one body, we’d have the perfect 3-4 OLB (aka Clay Matthews).
Jamari Lattimore is 6-2, 230 pounds and was the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. On the season, he tallied 64 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two blocked kicks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Lattimore’s strength is quickness and lateral agility. His pro day numbers of 7.04 in the 3-cone drill and 4.40 in the 20 yard shuttle, would have landed him in the top 10 and top 20 respectively, among linebackers at the NFL combine. His weakness is lack of size and strength
So’oto is 6-3, 263lbs and earned first-team All-Mountain West honors . He had 44 tackles, five sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss and one interception on the season. So ‘oto has prototype 3-4 OLB size, and good straight-line speed. His 4.68 40-yard dash at his Pro Day would have had him tied for 7th with five other players. Most surprisingly, So’oto also had an excellent 3-cone drill. His 7.01 would have landed him in the top 10 at the combine. His weakness is turning on the fly and lateral movement.
Of course, performance in drills don’t always translate to the field. So lets “go to the videotape” and take a look at both players in action. I counted Lattimore at 18 snaps and So ‘oto at 14 in the Arizona preseason game. I’ve selected their best play and their worst play to illustrate each player’s strength and weakness:
Vic So’oto – Strength
Here you see S ‘oto stand up and knock the tight end off-balance. So’oto can then keep the TE at bay with one arm while keeping his eyes on the ball carrier. Whichever way the running back cuts, So ‘oto is ready to make the tackle and does.
Vic So’oto – Weakness
Here you see So ‘oto severely struggle with changing directions and taking proper angles. First, he completely misjudges the ball carrier’s cut and then struggles to change direction. Then he takes a bad angle on pursuit and loses his brief opportunity to make up for his first mistake. As a converted defensive end, this is what So’oto will struggle with the most. But he has the physical tools to potentially make Kevin Greene and Dom Capers very happy men.
Jamari Lattimore – Strength
Here Lattimore blitzes as the second linebacker into the hole. He takes a few quick side steps to the left and then bursts into the offensive backfield to deliver a hit on the opposing quarterback. You can see this best on the last replay in the video. I really don’t know, but I’m willing to guess this is what most of his 11.5 sacks in college must have looked like.
Jamari Lattimore – Weakness
Alas, here is Lattimore’s Achilles’ heel. Like So ‘oto in the first video, Lattimore engages the tight end. Unfortunately, Lattimore is man-handled and thrown to the ground – a complete non-factor. Lattimore obviously needs to put on weight and hit the weight room. I think the Packers have a year on the practice squad planned for him.
End Result: If we could take So’oto’s size, strength & straight line speed and give him Lattimore’s lateral quickness and burst… Calling Dr. Frankenstein.——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.