The Negative Traits
Leighton Vander Esch, while he stays square to the line, isn’t the quickest linebacker. He is sometimes slow to react creating a disadvantage for himself.
He could use some work on play recognition as well. At times, he was fooled on misdirection plays in both the run and play-action game.
His strength at the point of attack could use some work. While his tackling is great in form, some plays he was driven back at first contact allowing some extra yardage.
Along with point of attack tackling, his ability to fight blocks needs work. Too many times throughout watching his tape I saw him struggle to fight free of the blockers.
His quickness lacks that of a Ryan Shazier type linebacker but he makes up for that in his burst and reaction to the play. NFL conditioning staffs may be able to help some but not enough to send him into the top-tier.
Overall there are not many negatives to this guy’s game. If he can correct some of the issues he has coming out as a junior, he will find himself a home on a roster come the end of training camp.