War Room analysis
Against inside run: Plays with a mean streak and can hold ground at the point of attack. Doesn't always use hands well; has problems making the play once an offensive lineman locks on. Must show better leverage at the point of attack. Grade: 7.8.
Against outside run: Can be extremely disruptive when turned loose and on the move in the open field. Shows great range, takes adequate pursuit angles and makes plays in pursuit. Seals off the backside nicely. Is a disruptive run-stopper on the perimeter because of his initial quickness and ability to get into the backfield. Runs around too many blocks and gets out of position. Grade: 8.3.
Blitz/coverage: Is straight-ahead player who primarily rushed the passer on passing downs. Has an excellent first step, does an adequate job of anticipating the snap and flashes the ability to shoot the inside gap when rushing the passer from the defensive end position. Has good leaping ability and can tip passes at the line. Grade: 8.7.
Run/pass recognition: Shows great instincts as a pass rusher. Takes false steps, is overaggressive at times and is vulnerable to play-action. Must improve on the mental and technical transition to outside linebacker. Grade: 7.8.
Pursuit/tackling: Is intense and always seems to be around the ball. Breaks down, wraps up upon contact and is a reliable open-field tackler. Grade: 8.8.
Bottom line: In his first season as a full-time starter, Merriman had a breakout 2004 season with 85 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 8 1/2 sacks. Merriman has the talent, physical tools and upside of a mid-first-round pick.
Dan Pompei analysis
Would be perfect as an outside 'backer in a 3-4. Is small for an end. Has raw tools and can pass rush.
Merriman and fellow Terps worked out for about 70 team representatives on campus March 16. Drills were conducted indoors on AstroTurf, and positional work was done outside.
According to draft expert Gil Brandt, Merriman was impressive. He proved he has the athletic ability to play end or linebacker. Prominently mentioned in reports was the presence of Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham. The Chiefs hold the 15th pick, but Merriman could be off the board by the time the Chiefs pick.
Merriman didn't participate in drills after feeling tightness in his quadriceps while running a 40-yard dash.
The Cowboys also are mentioned as possible suitors. They hold the 11th pick. Other reports indicate the the Texans are interested, especially since Merriman played in a system similar to their 3-4 scheme.
More than a few observers were left scratching their heads at the NFL Combine when Merriman decided not to work out. His on-campus work was intended to ease those concerns.
LaVar Arrington, Redskins
SHAWNE MERRIMAN MEASURABLES
Height: 6-4 Weight: 272
40-yard dash: 4.65
20-yard shuttle: 4.24
Broad jump: 10-1 225-lb. bench: 25
Vertical jump: 41
Secondary Information on Shawne
Strengths: Possesses good lower body strength for size, plays with a mean streak and should be able to hold ground at the point of attack when lined up at linebacker. Shows great range, takes adequate pursuit angles and makes plays in pursuit. Is active, fights to get off blocks and has the athletic ability to make plays in space. Plays with a great motor and always seems to be around the ball at the end of the play. Breaks down, wraps up upon contact and is a reliable open field tackler. Explodes into hits and is capable of forcing the occasional fumble. Possesses an excellent first step, does an adequate job of anticipating the snap and flashes the ability to shoot the inside gap when rushing the passer from the defensive end position. Generally takes the shortest path to the quarterback and shows excellent closing speed. Has good leaping ability and is capable of tipping some passes at the line of scrimmage. While has been nicked up at times didn't miss any time at the collegiate level and is a tough player who will play with pain. Played defensive end as well as linebacker at the college level, is big enough to line up at end as a situational pass rusher and has good versatility.
Weaknesses: Is an upfield player who primarily rushed the passer while at Maryland and while has some experience dropping into coverage is still raw in that area. Takes some false steps, is overaggressive at times and is vulnerable to play action. Doesn't always use hands well, relies on quickness to slip blocks in the open field and has some problems making the play once an offensive lineman locks on. Lacks ideal size for an every-down defensive end, will need time to develop cover skills if moves to linebacker and probably won't make an immediate contribution on defense.
Overview: Merriman appeared in 14 games, starting one of them, in 2002. He appeared in 13 games, starting five of them, in 2003, and he became a fulltime starter for the first time in his collegiate career in 2004. Following a breakout 2004 season with 85 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, Merriman decided to forgo his senior season to enter the 2005 draft. Considering his lack of a defined position and that he didn't redshirt while at Maryland, Merriman probably would have benefited from playing one more year of college football. He isn't fundamentally sound at this point, and he will most likely make his biggest contributions on special teams during his rookie season. However, Merriman clearly has the talent to eventually make an impact as a fulltime starter at the next level. He shows great range when defending the run, he is an explosive pass rusher and he plays with good intensity. Merriman would be an excellent fit at outside linebacker for a team that primarily runs 3-4 fronts. He's a bit of a risk-reward prospect in that he still has a lot of developing to do, but Merriman has the physical tools and upside of a mid-to-late first-round draft pick.
Couldn't find highlights on this guy but I have some information that might turn heads about him...