As the college football season barrels toward, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Junior Colson.
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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Junior Colson
Junior Colson (LB – Michigan)
6’3″ – 247 lbs.
Born in Haiti, but was adopted by an American family and moved to the U.S. when he was nine. A four-star recruit who started seven games as a true freshman, totaling 521 snaps on the year and finishing with 60 tackles. Became a full-time starter the following year and totaled a 101-6.0-2.0 in a more efficient campaign. Reprised that role this year and is having another strong season, although his overall output may end up being slightly lower.
A highly productive player over the past three years for a major program. A big, physical linebacker with a pro-ready build and a relentless style of play. Lines up all over the field and can work as a traditional off-ball linebacker, shade over the slot, or play off the edge. Tough between the tackles and can fly downhill and plug holes in the run game. Has excellent functional strength and contact balance; when playing downhill, can jolt opposing blockers. Plays with good knee-bend and balance. Has been a very reliable tackler. Can hear the pads clicking on contact, and helps set the tone defensively. Given his size, was asked to handle some relatively extensive coverage responsibilities, including carrying opponents down the seams. Hard to knock off of his spot when blitzing from the A-gap. Has also done some work as an edge-rusher for the Wolverines.
Can be a tick late to diagnose at times; doesn’t always look like he trusts his instincts. There are some inefficiencies in his angles. Would like to see him get more consistent extension when playing off blocks in the run game; tends to throw his body around instead of locking out opponents. Not quite a true sideline-to-sideline player in terms of speed/range. Coverage duties as a pro will probably be more limited than what Michigan asked him to do. As a pass-rusher, approach is mostly effort-based, rather than having go-to moves.
A big, powerful and tough linebacker who can take on blocks effectively and offers reliable wrap tackling technique as a between-the-tackles run stuffer. As it currently stands, doesn’t quite have the instincts and decisiveness you’d like, but has the potential to be an effective inside linebacker with further development. Has handled some pretty extensive coverage duties in school, but those are likely to be scaled back at the pro level. Would probably fit best in an odd defensive front and projects as a mid-round pick.
Projection: Round 5-6