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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: LB Jon Rhattigan

  • The Draft Network
  • February 1, 2021
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PROSPECT SUMMARY – JON RHATTIGAN

Coming on late for Army, Rhattigan spent his first two seasons as a backup. Eventually getting his chance to start during his third year with the team, he went on to have a breakout season. A key piece of one of the best statistical defenses in the country, he’s an active second-level defender that can satisfy many roles. Like the earlier parts of his career, he projects to be a core special teams player with the potential down the line to possibly add depth at SAM linebacker. 

Ideal Role: Developmental linebacker that can have an immediate impact as a special teams player.

Scheme Fit: 4-3 SAM linebacker.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Navy (2020), Louisiana-Monroe (2020), Cincinnati (2020), Middle Tennessee State (2020), Tulane (2020)

Best Game Studied: Louisiana-Monroe (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Cincinnati (2020)

Tackling: Rhattigan is a physical tackler that puts all his might into tackle attempts. Remaining disciplined, he has the wherewithal of knowing how to secure tackles while being sure to announce his presence upon his arrival. A physically mature prospect, he uses his frame in correct ways in order to close out ball-carriers that are progressing up the field. 

Football IQ/Instincts: After finally receiving his chance to start, he came out on fire during the first few weeks of the season. His days as a core special teams player helped him transition into a full-time starter role, as he showed to be aware of many running game concepts. The game didn’t seem to be moving too fast for him as he’s known to play in fast-forward mode often. His instincts in pass coverage need plenty of development, but the season opener (Middle Tennessee State) flashed promise in that area.

Competitive Toughness: Rhattigan is a prospect that has little hesitancy with giving up his body in order to make tackles. He’s a physical player that lays it all on the line when his opportunities are presented. He's not much of a talker, but it’s clear that his teammates respect his journey and play when out on the field. He's more of a lead by example type of prospect. 

Pass Coverage Ability: Rhattigan was often taken out of the game on third down for various subpackages. An alarming development, which signals that he struggles when operating out in space as a coverage dropper. Known for his presence as a run defender, he was non-existent in pass coverage often to the point where he was taken off of the field altogether during some points of the game. When he was on the field for third-down situations, he was allowed to blitz.

Run Defending: He attacks the first level with intensity, but remains patient with his approach prior to that point. Rhattigan is able to display proper mental processing developments and is aware of how to read his keys. There are few moments where he reacts prematurely to take himself out of position to make tackles.

Block Deconstruction: Rhattigan understands that he has a maxed-out frame combined with shorter arms. Knowing this, he turns matchups in back and forth physical battles. Running at blocks with a full head of steam, he attempts to run through them with full force in hopes of that being enough to have no worries about them blocking him. Although he isn’t hesitant about getting into stalemates, he knows that those are disadvantageous situations for him.

Lateral Mobility:  A bit of a top-heavy body leads to him being a stiff mover in space. While inside of the tackle boxes, he’s accurate with getting to his spots. Perimeter runs can be challenging for him as he has adequate speed, but his lack of length puts him through roadblocks that can be tough to detach from.

Flexibility: Because of his body construction, he doesn’t play the game with much bend. An upright nature hasn’t affected him overall, but it is apparent that there are some challenges when he’s forced to change directions suddenly. When moving laterally or vertically in one direction, he’s a momentum runner that picks up speed when operating in a singular path.

Leadership: Playing mostly MIKE during his lone season as a starter, he was responsible for being the communicator to the defense. Rhattigan is often seen tapping the hips of defensive linemen putting them in the right gaps. He maintained his special teams responsibilities as well despite taking on an expanded role in the team's defense. 

Versatility: Rhattigan faces challenges in pass coverage, which severely limits his value as a three-down linebacker. As a run defender and core special teams player? That’s where his value will come on the next level. Displaying the versatility necessary in those areas will be his bread and butter as an NFL player, but a large role as a special teamer is likely his destination throughout the early portions of his rookie contract. 

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Jordan Reid: 65/100

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