2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Ryan Connelly
Position: Middle Linebacker
School: The University of Wisconsin
Weight: 240 pounds
Draft Projection: Day 3
When blitzing, Connelly knows his burst. Granted, he accelerates well, there is not much of an overrun. The former Badger standout keeps the play in front of him, as some would use their explosion to overpursue and miss the play. Additionally, he will shoot the game during running plays, in order to make the tackle.
During his time at Wisconsin, the Badgers used Connelly to patrol the intermediate-middle and perimeter for passing plays. While he looks comfortable, Connolly likes to play closer to the line. At the next level, he will be tasked with trailing tight ends on occasion.
Based on film, Connolly shows adequate twitch. Although he is not exceptionally, flexible, not many middle linebackers are. However, he does possess a fluid backpedal and some turn-and-run capability. When he drives on the run and a lineman steps to him, Connolly will use a quick duck and slide in order to elude the blocker. Sifting through trash using his feet is an underrated trait.
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When evaluating his technique, notice the various target various. When fighting through the line of scrimmage and approaching from an angle, he will wrap a little higher than usual. As a result, the ball carrier cannot break free and head off the other way. Meanwhile, when he’s one-on-one in space, Connelly attacks the waist and quad. Even when he is blocked to the ground, look for his hands to remain active and attach his grip to a leg, driving the opponent to the ground.
Edwards, for the past few years, showed true leadership skills in the middle of the Wisconsin defense. Under those circumstances, he is a leader of men.
With all due respect, to any Raiders defensive lineman under contract, the team will also upgrade the unit. In addition, they need to radically change the linebacker corps as well. If the Raiders draft Connelly, at worst, he will provide the team with linebacker depth. However, with his tackling ability and nose for the ball, look for Connelly to challenge for starting snaps.