Discussion in 'Draft Day Zone' started by Hostile, Apr 22, 2005.
Falcons select...Michael Boley
OLB | (6'2", 236, 4.63) | SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
Strengths: Is an active and athletic playmaker with great experience and production from the collegiate level. Has explosive initial quickness. Is at his best in space. Does a very good job of finding the ball carrier or quarterback when coming off the edge. Will be able to stop and start quickly. Has a great nose for the football and shows excellent closing burst. He has the speed to turn the corner as a pass rusher and he closes in extremely fast. Is an explosive tackler for his size. Will make the big hit and also will force a lot of fumbles. Is extremely disruptive versus the run. Gets upfield, finds the football, change directions quickly, and shows a great motor in pursuit.
Weaknesses: Has adequate but not great size. He lacks lower body strength. Runs around too many blocks and will take some poor pursuit angles as a result. Struggles to stack at the POA on the LOS and will get engulfed by bigger blockers that establish position and get into his pads. Does not have great instincts in coverage. He tends to get caught peeking at times and will be overaggressive versus the run. He needs to show more discipline and also needs to improve his ball skills in coverage.
Overall: Boley absolutely dominated the mid-major level of competition in college. He was a fulltime starter in each of his final three seasons at Southern Miss (2002-'04). He was a three-time first team All-Conference USA selection, producing 26.5 sacks and 53.5 tackles for loss over that three-year span while chipping in with more than 100 tackles in each of those seasons. Boley played SLB in college but is more of a WLB prospect for the NFL. He has adequate but not great size and he needs to improve his strength, especially in his lower body. He needs to learn to take on blockers instead of running around them and he also needs to improve his recognition skills and ball skills in coverage. However, Boley was a huge playmaker throughout his college career and he has the speed, frame, athletic ability, closing burst and tackling skills to push for a starting job at the next level. Boley also has an ideal makeup to contribute on special teams throughout his career. In our opinion, Boley is worth drafting late on Day 1.
* Player biographies are provided by Scouts Inc.
Michael Boley, OLB+SS, Southern Mississippi
Height: 6:02.3 Weight: 228
Overview: Michael is an exciting playmaker who was the heart and soul of the Golden Eagles defense since his sophomore year. Not only did he excel as a weak-side linebacker, but also provided big plays on the special teams coverage units. Before enrolling at Southern Mississippi, he was a standout linebacker, wide receiver and running back at Elkmont (Ala.) High School. Boley earned Class 3A All-State honors as a senior, recording 104 tackles with five interceptions and gaining 1,015 yards rushing and 746 yards receiving that year. He also gained 746 yards receiving and averaged 44.1 yards per kickoff return during that campaign. He redshirted in 2000 at Southern Mississippi and saw action in nine games on special teams as a reserve outside linebacker in 2001, making five tackles. He took over strong-side linebacker chores in 2002, posting 142 tackles (89 solos) with eight sacks, 16 stops for losses, two fumble recoveries, six pass deflections and a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown. Boley earned All-Conference USA first-team and College Football News All-American second-team honors as a junior. Michael registered 151 tackles (101 solos) with eleven sacks and ranked seventh in the nation with 22.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage in 2003. In 2004, Michael was a consensus All-American and named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. He totaled 125 tackles (70 solos) with nine sacks, 20 stops for losses, five forced fumbles and a pair of interceptions, including an incredible 62-yard touchdown return vs. North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl that ESPN called one of the best plays of the college football season. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Conerly Trophy, presented annually to the best college football player in the state of Mississippi. In 47 games, Boley started 38 contests. He recorded 423 tackles (263 solos), the sixth-best career total in school history. He registered 28.5 sacks for minus-175 yards, topped only by Adalius Thomas (34.5, 1996-99) on the school's all-time record list. His 59.5 stops for losses of 228 yards are surpassed only by Rod Davis (60.5, 2000-03) on USM's career-record chart. He also collected 16 quarterback pressures, deflected thirteen passes, intercepted three others, recovered six fumbles and set a school career-record with nine forced fumbles, topping the old mark of eight by Chad Williams (1998-2001). While his exploits on the field are certainly impressive, his performance away from the game of football certainly rivals it. Michael is heavily involved in community activities. He is a member of the "Real Winners Read" program, which helps gather and deliver books to libraries around the area to help build the book volume in libraries for children in the area; the "Humane Society Food Drive," which helps gather food and money to buy food and supplies for the Hattiesburg area Humane Society; the "Dubard School For Disabilities," serving as a mentor to children who have disabilities, and also reads to the children at the school; the "Habitat for Humanity," where he helped the Athletic Department build a house to give to a needy family as part of the program; and "Mentor for Area Schools," reading to children in local schools and gives speeches encouraging the kids about not using drugs and the importance of a quality education.
Analysis: Positives Michael has a lanky frame and needs to put on additional bulk. He is a very athletic linebacker, but is sorely lacking in playing strength. While his statistics speak for his production, it is because of his explosion and outstanding quickness roaming the field to make the play. He does a very good job of squeezing through tight quarters and shows urgency in his backside pursuit. Boley has only marginal instincts and reaction ability in pass coverage. He is better suited to make plays on the move, as he will get engulfed trying to take on blocks at the line of scrimmage. He makes passive arm swipes at the point of attack and is not the type to make plays going down hill. Based on his frame, lack of strength and inability to shed blockers, it is apparent that he will not play strong-side linebacker in the pros. Having him come up in run force is sort of like leaving a box of doughnuts in a police station -- he quickly gets devoured. Michael offers decent value as a special teams player, but unless he can rectify his marginal pass defense skills, he will probably struggle in a move to the secondary. He has the range to make plays in long pursuit and can locate the ball in backside pursuit. Boley has the linear speed to close on the ball and does a good job of maintaining contact with tight ends and backs in the short area. But, he appears stiff in his hips and this causes him to be late when he has to turn and run ability to run with the speedy receivers. He also spends too much time eyeing the backfield to maintain a relationship with the opponent on deep throws. His fluid change of direction agility and burst make him a very effective edge rusher, but if a blocker gets a bead on him, he is quickly washed out of the play. Boley shows good stop-and-go action to redirect quickly and shows an excellent burst coming off the edge as a pass rusher. He is best when allowed to roam the field. Michael closes on the play with very good acceleration, but will get a little reckless, taking poor angles when he has to take the long route in order to avoid blocks. This is a player that I feel will give some decent value, but he needs to greatly improve his work ethic in the weight room and must find a patient secondary coach to teach him the proper techniques of playing the ball in passing situations if he is to move to safety at the next level. With his slight frame, he would only bring value in certain situations (pass rush) as a linebacker and can't be considered an every down player at that position. He is certainly a work in progress, but his speed, production and athletic ability makes him worth a look on the second day of the draft. If he can adapt to playing safety in the pros, someone will get a productive player in Michael, but I doubt if he will ever add the bulk or gain the strength needed to be a pro linebacker.
Agility tests: 4.67 in the 40-yard dash...295-pound bench press...465-pound squat...340-pound power clean...33-inch vertical jump...33 -inch arm length...8 3/8-inch hands...Right-handed... 21/27 Wonderlic score.
High school: Attended Elkmont (Ala.) High School, playing football for coach Tommy Hunter...Was an outstanding linebacker, wide receiver and running back...As a senior, he rushed for 1,015 yards on 126 carries and had another 746 yards receiving...Also averaged 44.1 yards on kickoff returns...Was equally tough on the defensive side of the ball, as he registered 104 tackles and intercepted five passes during his final year...Named to the Birmingham News' 1999 Class 3A All-State Team.
Personal: Graduated in May, 2004 with a degree in Coaching and Sports Administration...Son of Kenneth Boley, Sr., and Marilyn Pointer...Born 8/24/82...Resides in Elkmont, Alabama.
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