Shallique Calhoun is a well coached prospect, that embodies everything about Michigan State. Head coach Mark Dantonio coaches his defense to play with discipline and to move as a team. Calhoun does that, and does it well. Calhoun could have been drafted this season, but instead he decided to stay. I’ll show you some plays that really stand out to me. The first set of plays is against Andrus Peat of Stanford, now the RT for New Orleans.
Calhoun’s speed is still quick enough to get a straight shot at Kevin Hogan. Hogan was able to get the ball off, just as Calhoun closes in on him. The next play is still against Andrus Peat in 2013, but this time, Calhoun gets the step on Peat to close in on the QB.
Calhoun is lined up on the outside shoulder of Andrus Peat.
Calhoun beats Peat with his initial step to the outside.
Peat is already beat with is feet sent in place, so he leans.
Calhoun closes in quickly for the sack. Calhoun’s speed and initial step was too fast for Peat to recover. This is a great example of Calhoun’s ability to beat an NFL talent at LT. I did another break of http://sidelineblitz.com/trenches-2/, if you want to see more of that match up.
The next series of plays is from the 2014 season, against Nebraska. The first play is a good show case of Calhoun’s ability to stop the run. Calhoun is lined up to the outside shoulder of the RT, which makes him have to fight across the RT to get to the ball carrier.
The RT knows his assignment is to get to the next level to block the LB, since he has the better angle against the run. Calhoun plays disciplined, by penetrating 3 yards deep, and scraping.
Calhoun meets the Ball carrier at the LOS, allowing him to make a tackle for a 1 yard loss. This next play shows his ability to to disrupt plays. Remember, it’s not always about making plays in the stat book, it’s about disrupting the play.
He doesn’t over penetrate and reads the play before he reacts. He sees the QB handing the ball to the RB.
He forces the QB to roll out of the pocket and throw off balance. The OL is too late to block him. Notice he is square and low allowing him to break down and make the play.
Notice that Calhoun has the angle to the QB and the QB is off balance, expecting a big hit. The result of the play was a well under thrown ball, that the receiver had to dive backwards to grab. In most cases, that is an incompletion, and sometimes an INT, depending on the coverage. That just goes to show that he can make a play that doesn’t go in the stats book, but had an effect on the game.
Staying on that theme, here is another play, that Calhoun didn’t make the tackle, but it shows his ability and discipline.
He knows it’s a quick throw, so he gets hands on the OT and watches the QB and the direction that he is going.
He immediately sheds the block and heads up field with a proper pursuit angle. He closes in quickly, but the corner makes the tackle. Should the corner not make the tackle, Clahoun would be in position to make the play.
Calhoun is lined up to the RT’s outside shoulder.
He is out of his stance and exploding forward before the RT can even get out of his own stance. This gives him the edge and makes it very difficult for the RT to recover.
He now can explode towards the QB and make the sack.
Calhoun has an advantage going into the draft, due to where he plays. NFL Coaches and scouts love players that are well coached, disciplined, and make plays. Calhoun does a great job of penetrating 3 yards deep, finding the football and making the play. He doesn’t have elite speed or freakish athleticism, but he makes up for it with proper technique. In the plays I have broken down, you see Calhoun penetrating 3 yards deep, dissecting the plays, shedding blocks, and taking the most direct route to the ball carrier. Calhoun has the potential to be a 1st round pick with a good season. The biggest knock on him may be his weight or lack of freakish athleticism. That shouldn’t stop him from being an All-Pro in the NFL.
Video courtesy of Draftbreakdown.com http://draftbreakdown.com/video/shilique-calhoun-vs-nebraska-2014/http://draftbreakdown.com/video/shilique-calhoun-vs-andrus-peat-2013/