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2014 NFL Draft Capsules: Chase Garnham, LB

Vanderbilt's Chase Garnham had a standout year at linebacker in 2012, but injuries derailed his 2013. Can the athletic MLB find a spot in the NFL despite a lack of buzz?

This is where Trent Richardson perfected his "2.9 yards per carry" technique."
This is where Trent Richardson perfected his "2.9 yards per carry" technique."
Kevin C. Cox

Chase Garnham

Position: Inside linebacker

Size: 6'3", 236 lbs.

Recruit Ranking: A two-star recruit at linebacker.

2013 Statistics: 24 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception (6 games).

Relevant Awards:

• 2013 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List
• 2013 SEC Player of the Week (Nov. 23)

Strengths: Garnham was one of the best pure athletes to play linebacker for the Commodores in the past decade. He grew his way into a starting role thanks to his combination of size and quickness (along with a vacuum at the position) and developed into an extremely important part of the Vandy defense as an upperclassman. When he missed games in 2013, the team suffered significantly.

Garnham manned the center of the field at middle linebacker in his final two seasons at Vandy and used his above average speed (4.5-4.6s 40-yard dash time) to get to plays from sideline to sideline. His seven sacks led the team back in 2012, and while a '13 injury has lowered his stock there is little concern that he won't be able to return to that level of production this summer. Despite learning the position on the fly in college, the former high school safety showed off a solid aptitude at linebacker and the ability to find and exploit holes in opposing offensive schemes.

The Alabaman was solid against both the run and the pass and showed off the leadership needed to be an effective MLB in the SEC. His athleticism and ability to learn on the fly could make him a bargain acquisition for any team that needs linebacking depth.

Weaknesses: Garnham had the tools to thrive in the SEC, but never really stood out on a league-wide basis. Good blockers were able to seal him up at the point of contact and create extra yardage, and that will be a concern for NFL scouts. As a former safety, he still plays a bit smaller than many other MLBs that will hear their names called at the draft in May. He dealt with injuries in both 2011 and 2013 that could cause teams to shy away from him as well.

ProjectionA potential seventh round pick, but likely undrafted. Garnham was hugely valuable to the Commodores but he was unable to capitalize on a breakout 2012 due to injuries. While he's a great athlete, he doesn't have the standout skills that would convince teams to take an early round flier on him. There's a chance that some scouts love his versatility and ability to contribute across different positions and are interested in snapping him up before he can head to free agency. However, it seems more likely that he'll go without hearing his name called in next week's NFL Draft.