Last year it was University of Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield who, before a season ending injury suffered during minicamps, had everyone talking about his performance at rookie practice. The 6-0, 185 pound undrafted free agent shined right out of the gate in a burgundy and gold uniform and looked to position himself for a chance to compete for playing time.
Fast forward to 2013 and there are a few intriguing college free agent names that will have a chance to earn the right to play on Sundays. One of those names is Bonne Terre, Mo. native and former Nebraska linebacker William Compton.
While at Nebraska, the 6-2, 230 pound linebacker played in 50 games (37 starts) finishing his career with 247 tackles to rank 12th on the Nebraska all-time tackles chart.
As a senior in 2012, Compton held the status of team captain and was named defensive MVP as voted on by his teammates…the list of awards goes on. He tallied 110 tackles, three sacks and one interception leading the Cornhuskers to a 9-3 regular season record and Capital One Bowl berth versus South Carolina.
Here’s what his NFL.com Draft Profile had to say:
Active, intelligent leader of the defense who makes the call and directs traffic throughout the game. Stands tough against offensive lineman blocks in the box given his size, and flashes the hands to disengage to make stops in the hole. Has no fear filling a gap whether to take on a fullback or eat space on a zone run until the ball carrier arrives. Hustles to the ball downfield, in the box, or as a blitzer, solid wrap-up tackler who gives full effort on every play. Aware zone pass defender, has enough quickness to drop to the first-down marker, stay with tight ends down the middle, and find targets to make hits and prevent yards after the catch. Sniffs out screens and has the quickness to reach and drag down the back.
CBSSports.com had him rated as the 13th best linebacker prospect in this year’s draft saying:
Considered the quarterback of the defense, Compton has become like an extra coach on the field, making all the pre-snap calls, and is the guy the rest of the defense looks up to. According to the Huskers coaching staff, he has improved his preparation habits, watching more film and becoming more comfortable and confident on and off the field.
If you want to see him in action then here’s a quick look at No. 51 firing through the gap for a sack against Southern Mississippi.
Regardless of his accolades or off the field accomplishments, it’s fair to say that we can all appreciate that kind of hustle!
And in case you didn’t click on Compton’s NFL.com profile, the scouts also added that he’s “tough and instinctive, like the Hall of Famer whose number 51 jersey he wears, Dick Butkus, and possesses enough athleticism to make it in the NFL as at least a reserve inside linebacker and special teams’ demon.”
Being compared to a Hall of Fame linebacker is some big shoes to fill so we’ll pull back the reins on the Dick Butkus comparison; however, the analogy should be an exciting one for Redskins fans.
If the undrafted college free agent can become even a shadow of the Hall of Fame linebacker or even if he’s a shell of former teammate and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ second round pick and 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Lavonte David then Compton’s career could be a solid one.
Time will tell if the linebacker has an impact next year, but things are looking up for the young man seeing as the Redskins have found success drafting guys from the cornhusker state.
Tags: CFA, college free agent, linebacker, Nebraska, will compton
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