He'd get absolutely eaten alive in pass coverage.
Maybe this would work in short yardage, but a full time ILB?...I don't see it at all.
Even bringing in another fast ILB doesn't solve it...he can't only blitz and he is going to have to cover people...you can only hide guys so much in today's pass happy NFL.
As a pure run defender he could succeed. Think of Bart Scott's old job of taking on FBs and guards so Ray could scrape and make hits in the hole uncontested. Coverage would obviously be a weakness, but presumably this move would be predicated on bringing in a speedy (and potentially less physical) linebacker in the draft or free agency to compliment him. Think Jerod Mayo, big, strong, and a stiff, but unmovable between the A and B gaps.
Pees is trying to get his best 4 backers on the field at once. I don't blame him for at least experimenting with this configuration.
Nothing wrong with seeing what he can do, worse case in the event of the injury bug. But I do expect them to draft inside guys
Not sure if anyone saw it or not, but there was a program on NFL Network called "Hey Rookie, Welcome to the NFL" or something like that, and it followed 6-8 rookies in the pre-draft process, including Upshaw, and leading up to the Alabama Pro Day, Upshaw was talking about really wanting to come in lighter than he'd been at the Combine (272 lbs), that he wanted to be closer to 265, then upon weigh-in, he was actually seven pounds HEAVIER...coming in at 279 lbs.
When you're working out like mad with trainers, in one of the most high-profile football programs in the country, and are aiming for a goal weight 7 pounds under, but come in 7 pounds over, that's nutrition.
A year in the Ravens program, surrounded by guys like Suggs (who know first-hand the problems that can result from a less-than-ideal diet), I expect him to be in the 260-265 range when Training Camp ends this season.
I am happy that they'll at least consider cross-training Upshaw to the ILB spot...but I think it is all but certain that we'll have a drafted player at that position from the first three rounds (my widely stated preference being Arthur Brown Jr. from Kansas State).
I thought he played ILB at Alabama a few times?
He ran at Alabama's pro-day and clocked a 4.73 and a 4.76. While that's not too bad, his 10-yard split was really disappointing. IIRC it was around a 1.82 or something like that.
His lateral agility is also not that great. He's an excellent north/south guy, but he doesn't change direction well. I think he would have a tough time honestly as an inside linebacker.
I see him eventually replacing suggs and playing some ILB this year if he can get down to 260, he will be just like Elerbie if not better. Upshaw can be exactly what Woodley is once suggs leaves if he can get down to 260. he has the streghnth and some speed and just needs to work on his pass rush moves but that can be taught. he obiv can do it since he did it at bama and we saw glimpces of it.
I dont see us taking a ILB early, I see us taking BPA like we always do and most likely if there are a number of players who we have 1st round grades on still there at 32 trading back to the 5-6 spot in the 2nd round.
Remember there are still alot of cheap FAs out there....
I think he was brought here more to replace JJ.
I have said this since we took him in the draft. He is a thumper who is pretty mobile.
I hate all things Steelers but he could be a Lavon Kirkland type inside LB.
There is some precedence to this move...Both Albert McClellan and Jameel McClain started out as OLB type players before getting moved inside.
I'd like to see him prove cover skills before he becomes a key contributor at ILB. But I could see some deceptive packages where he lines up at ILB with Doom and Sizzle outside, and then any 2 of the 3 rush the passer. Makes it a lot harder to gameplan against our pass rush.
I wouldn't put too much into this at this early point.
Pees likes to have his players know all their respective positions (linemen know all the other linemen positions, LBs know all the other LB positions, etc) so that he doesn't have great players on the bench while a lesser talented player is in because they don't know all the positions.
It is a smart concept, and one that probably Rex Ryan might have employed here as well...so your players can move around pre-snap to mask what your real intentions are...and to just keep your opponent guessing and increases chances of missed blocking assignments upfront.
And here is another thing. If our outside pass rush consistently gets there and forces the ball out early...it will help whoever is playing ILB for they will have to cover for less distance and time.
It appears to me our bend but don't break defense may morph into an attacking defense while our offense puts up points to force opponents out of their game plan.
Get him to drop some weight and pair him up with someone who is ultra athletic like an Alec Ogletree or an Arthur Brown. Then you have the best of both worlds.
With that said, he still looks a little heavy and bulky to play ILB, and you probably want him down to around 255 lbs (he played at around 265 last year).
There is far too much purple coolaid in this thread. Upshaw is a 4-3 end were trying to make a sam LB, which even that will push his physical limits. No more square pegs in round holes. His future is at sam, ozzie will fill in the rest.
At one point Ray Lewis at 6'1 weighed around 260 and before last season cut his weight down to under 240 so it can be done.For all we know at this point ILB could turn out to be Upshaws best position or it may not but it's still early in his career so it's not as if you're thinking about moving a player who has already established himself at a certain position in the league.Upshaw is still a work in progress and needs as much PT as possible.