Head Coach MARVIN LEWIS and Linebackers Coach PAUL GUENTHER
ML: "Sean Porter, the linebacker from Texas A&M, is a player that has great athleticism. He's played the outside positions, he's played the inside positions. He's been the guy that can really run and cover, a guy that is going to continue to grow and develop. He has the potential to be an NFL body, be an athleticism-type body similar to the linebacker we had here the last couple of years here, similar to Thomas Howard. He's a guy that's going to be both big enough and strong enough, but also have the flexibility in the hips to be a productive guy on this level. He's another young guy that can come in and compete, should upgrade us right away on special teams, which is also obviously very important for any young linebacker or safety, so the last two guys really are guys that fit us well."
He got some significant snaps as a young player. I remember seeing him play early in his career, Big 12, SEC (games):
ML: "He's played a lot of football. So that's to his advantage. He's a Texas kid, so he grew up where football is very, very important. We're excited about him."
So, is he a guy that special teams, can him also is a sub package guy -- run and cover and stuff?
PG: "Yeah, he's a good cover guy. He actually took over Von Miller's spot when he left at outside linebacker in the 3-4, and then they changed their scheme a little bit, so he played various roles — MIC, cover down guy. He played on their special teams, so he offers a lot to the table as far as different roles he can play for us."
When he took over Von Miller's spot, he was a blitzer. He was coming pretty well in that package:
PG: "Yeah, he had 10 sacks that year or 11."
Paul, is he a guy you think can come in and backup all three spots right away?
PG: "I do. That's the kind of guy we need — a guy who can be a core special teams guy, be the next guy coming in whether it's a MIKE, a WILL or a SAM, maybe, just to give us some depth at the position and have some position versatility."
Is that the biggest asset for him, that versatility?
PG: "That's what you want. Linebackers are linebackers but ... He's a team captain, he's a team leader and really, my first exposure to him was at the Senior Bowl and he stuck out to me there and the more I studied, the more I liked and I'm really glad that we have him."
ML: "My point is we need a productive guy. Dan Skuta had an opportunity to move on, which was great for Dan to have an opportunity. He felt like he kept hitting his head on the ceiling here, so maybe he can break through somewhere else. So we needed really, in my opinion, fill the void with a guy who has a chance to go beyond that and be a starting player, and I think in Sean you have a guy that can develop into that. But we don't have to pigeonhole him in one slot. Last year, we had with Emmanuel Lamur, who emerged out of nowhere. If we went to play tomorrow, he would likely be the fourth linebacker now. But obviously we carved out roles for him last season, and I think Sean Porter can hopefully work his way into those type (of) situations as well."
Do you think Porter could back up MIC right now?
ML: "I don't know; we'll see."
When you look at his measurables and then you look at his tape, does his play exceed his measurable or is it comparable with what you see?
ML: "It's comparable with what you see. It's a guy who can run, a guy who's got some body strength to him, but the thing I make sure of in linebackers is that they have hips that separate, and he's got that."