OLB Darius Fleming at 165

The 49ers drafted Notre Dame OLB Darius Fleming at 165. While watching the war room just before the 49ers selected Fleming, Trent Baalke looked pissed. He banged his fist on the desk and threw down his pen. And my guess is the reasoning behind that is because the Packers traded up two picks ahead of them and drafted the guy Baalke wanted. That player was NC State OLB Terrell Manning.

Guess Baalke can’t win them all.

Profile: 6’2 245 lbs

3.5 sacks last year and 6 in 2010.

Fleming has good size for a linebacker and can bend and move well for his build. He was a starter at Notre Dame for more than two years and the key part of a very strong linebacker group. He is a good lateral mover and aggressive both in pursuit and once he gets to the ball. Fleming can be a liability in coverage, but he has value in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker who purely rushes the passer and sets the edge.

STRENGTHS Fleming is a superb rusher who has a strong burst off the line to get into a tackle, bend his knees and dip around his opponent. He excels at setting the edge and keeping plays inside of him. He is natural in his a lateral movements and can pursue plays to the outside. He has fluid hips that he relies on to recover and run down plays.
WEAKNESSES Fleming has little value as a dropping pass defender and often looks lost when forced to cover. He is a scheme player and would struggle if forced to cover tight ends in space in a 4-3 scheme. He also struggles when defending inside runs and is better when just setting the edge to keep the play inside.

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