Earl Wolff, Weapon W?

Enough of Barkley I was getting a little bored with him and so I decided to have a look at one our other targets who dropped long past what the Eagles thought was his due as we grabbed him in the 5th.

I watched a few games that he has featured in notably his games against UNC and then Utah State and whilst I can see why the Eagles picked him up in the 5th I do have my reservations about him. Some have pegged him as the new Dawkins, I can’t see personally.

My observations and straight away it was good to see him wrapping players up with his arm, if he managed to get his arms even partially around a player’s legs, torso or arms they weren’t escaping. I didn’t see a single broken tackle when he used his arms in all honesty. On the flip side he did have a good few blown tackles when not using his arms, when he lowered his shoulder and tried to almost bull rush a player he missed, not just once but on several occasions.

This was made a lot worse by the fact that he was invariably the last man, he misses his tackle and if it doesn’t go for a TD it was always a big 20 ish yard gain at the very least. Forget the highlight reel Wolff, wrap them up as he will stop them every time if he uses his arms. It was actually a little frustrating when you saw him drop the shoulder, he needs to rectify that.

On pass coverage especially I do like the angles he takes, very rarely did he over compensate or under-compensate a receivers route and would always cut them off as early as possible without them blowing past him. That being said if there was an opposing blocker involved with his path he struggled to get past the block. Even against the skinniest of blockers he rarely made it through to make a play.

I do like him against the run. If he’s not simply adding another body to a mob of NC State D players holding up the opposing RB, then he’s taking him down on his own. Once he knows that the RB has the ball his eyes never leave’s him and his pursuit was awesome. Not just when the RB was heading in his direction if he did miss a tackle, or simply the offensive player didn’t run on his side of the field he would continually chase down that ball until it was called dead. On only one play did I not see him make an effort in pursuing the RB or WR and in fairness he went out of camera shot so I don’t know if he tripped or something along those lines. I do like his work ethic, very much a player who never gives in and never let’s a play die on the defensive side of the field.

His speed I find questionable, he seems to have a really explosive first 4 yards, but then he seems slow down and whilst he always made tackles when pursuing this was down to RB’s cutting inside losing a few yards and Wolff simply gaining ground because of it. I do worry watching him on one play against Utah, a simple pass across the middle that would have been a short 4 yard gain, and a very basic shimmy move caused Wolff to look lost with far too much distance between him and the Reciever. Sure enough it went for about twenty yards.

Sadly it doesn’t end there as he bites on PA and at the most critical time, in the redzone. In total between Utah State and UNC they ran three maybe four play action passes in the redzone that went for TD’s to players who Wolff was either covering or was in the vicinity off. Every play Wolff went for the run, he took one or two steps forward and that was it the rest you could say is history. Not once did he think to stay where he was and remain in pass coverage, he just always looked to the RB and was duped every time.

Like I said I don’t think he is the next Dawkins. In the run game I do think he could be an asset but I’m not so sure about him in pass coverage as he always wants to go for the RB or at the very least a Guard and block the holes. Great if your opponent is the Vikes, but terrible if you’re playing the Broncos (incidentally we will be). He does have an explosive few yards, but that seems to diminish and I’m not quite sure why and whilst his wrap up tackling is perhaps the best I’ve seen from anyone in this draft class, when he lowers the shoulder and tucks his arms in he gets blown past and there is no excuse for it. The redzone issue is probably my biggest concern though, he cannot think it’s always going to be a run, I think both Utah and UNC knew he would bit on every PA hence why it always was a TD scored in his general direction.

I know the Eagles rated him more highly than a 5th, in all honesty I wouldn’t have taken him until we hit our seventh rounders.

Do I think he can be a starter? No I don’t, an average back-up at the most but if I’m completely honest I’m not sure he’ll go far in the NFL. I do hope come the regular season he proves me wrong and he does indeed become the next Dawkins, but for now I’m not getting my hopes up to be honest.

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