With their final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills double dipped into the linebacker position by selecting Baylon Spector out of Clemson. Another smaller linebacker with solid athletic measurables, let’s check the film on Spector and see what the seventh round draft pick brings to the table.
Mockdraftable has Baylon Spector in the bottom quarter of linebackers when it comes to weight, and the bottom eighth in height. That officially puts him in the “undersized” category for the position I believe. This is by far not the most egregious example of Spector getting redirected by a hit. He’s actually a bit lucky in that the bounce carried him toward the play, which is something I saw several times. I’ll add that while he seemed to be physically outmatched, he had the presence of mind to stay in the play which is a positive.
It’s not just getting bounced around either that’s a problem. Trying to rip free/disengage from a block was also a bit of a weakness for Spector.
Let’s move on from the straight up physics aspect for a minute. Spector comes across as a smart player with good focus on the play. He’s reacting to the block well, but using some peripheral vision to get it done. He’s locked on to the QB the whole time.
Spector drops back into a zone for coverage but keeps his eyes forward. He’s moving well before the ball arrives and is the first to make contact with the ballcarrier.
This is similar to the last play but shows off a little more closing speed. I’ve also paused at the moment Spector starts to drive toward the ball. You’ll notice the ball has barely left the QB’s hand.
Same idea, except this time he can cut under the pass. Always end on a high note.
I said I’d quit harping on the size thing for a minute and that minute is officially up. Baylon Spector is actually a bit heavier than the Bills’ other rookie linebacker Terrel Bernard. While there’s a very real concern that Spector (and Bernard) will struggle to disengage from blocks and get pushed around at the NFL level, they both profile well for the Buffalo mold of the smaller, coverage linebacker.
Spector has good instincts and focus on the field, which is a major plus for how Buffalo likes to run their defense. Spector has some work to do when it comes to tackling. And his finesse techniques to compensate for lack of size don’t appear to be as refined as Bernard’s. All that said, Spector is as good a match for Buffalo as you could expect in the seventh round.