Key & Diagnose - Knows what to look for pre and post-snap, just doesn't react quickly or trust his instincts often enough. Slow to come downhill between the tackles, often getting pinned down at the second level. Even when he plays forward, struggles to find the ball on the move, often throttling down near the line of scrimmage to re-set himself. Against more horizontal run schemes he seemed to find the ball and react much better with less trash to work through. Just doesn't play fast enough in the process of transferring his mental processing into something kinetic.
Range - Super slow linebacker even at top speed. Lethargic out of the blocks, lacking the explosiveness to close ground quickly. Limited area of impact as a run defender unless the ball carrier is held up considerably in his path to the perimeter.
Tackling/Finishing - Does not miss many tackles despite a small radius and a lack of athleticism in space. Plays under control and wraps up with good form. Wish he was a bigger hitter, don't always see the hitting power you want despite his rocked up frame.
Coverage - Excellent awareness and mental processing in zone coverage, just too immobile to do much about it. Tons of passes went right by him in middle zone because he didn't react in time or he stopped his feet. Clearly out-matched athletically in certain matchups, will need to be limited to simple assignments in the NFL. Makes very few plays on the ball.
Block Deconstruction - By far the most maddening aspect of his game. As jacked as Coney is, why does he approach blockers as if he's made of glass? Gets pinned down at the second level and gives ground in his futile attempts to work off of contact. Even when he attacks his gap, struggles to shed blockers cleanly and can get caught up in the wash. Often stops his feet to deal with pending contact.
Change of Direction - Big ole' nope. It'll hurt your eyes. Super stiff in the hips and struggles to adjust his angle on the fly or change directions in space. Transitions are really slow and lacks the twitchy movement skills of the top players in the NFL at his position.
Competitive Toughness - Hard-working player who reportedly loves the game. Teammates and coaches raved about his growth as a person and as a leader during his time at Notre Dame. Pushed teammates to be accountable all season long last year. Wish he played with more of an edge on the field.
Pass Rush - Has good pass rush production, but rarely beat blockers quickly 1v1. Very little pass rush plan, just drops a shoulder into the opposition. Not explosive enough to project to being a real threat as a pass rusher in the NFL.
Discipline - Takes very few chances and is therefore almost never out of position. Disciplined in coverage and against play action fakes and misdirection.
Athleticism/Size - Rocked up frame appears pro-ready in every way, but doesn't play to his size and is a poor athlete who struggles to re-direct and won't impress with his long speed. Kept gaining muscle and kept getting slower and stiffer.
BEST TRAIT - Tackling
WORST TRAIT - Athleticism/Block Deconstruction
RED FLAGS - Served a year of probation after being arrested for marijuana possession during a traffic stop in August 2016.
Coney has the physical profile and athletic limitations of a thumper-style linebacker, but even his evaluation in that area came up short. He's a smart player who tackles well, but he's constantly second-guessing himself which leads to a lot of missed opportunities to shoot gaps or beat blockers to spots. When he does face blockers Coney is almost always physically overwhelmed, despite a frame that looks like that of a greek god's.
Even if Coney begins to trust his instincts and play a bit faster, his athletic limitations are significant enough to be concerned about his transition to a full-time role in the NFL. I wish he were more physical and aggressive than he is, but unless that changes dramatically, special teams is probably Coney's best chance at a career in the NFL.