Leighton Vander Esch
188 tackles, 13 TFL, 5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 6 PBU, 4 FF
Today we are going to look at a player I had not studied until he declared for the draft. Leighton Vander Esch was a zero-star recruit when he left Salmon River HS (Riggins, ID). Vander Esch walked on at Boise State and played in 12 games as a redshirt freshman. The coaches saw enough in him to offer him a scholarship before his redshirt sophomore season. LVE only played in six games that season due to injury. This past season he started all fourteen games, recording 141 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 interceptions. He had 28 tackles in the last two games.
2017: Troy, BYU, San Diego State, Wyoming, Oregon (Bowl)
Vander Esch is very quick to read and react to plays. He is quite athletic for a player of his size, posting a 39.5” vertical and running a 6.88 three-cone at the Combine. LVE has nice closing speed. He is solid in coverage, particularly in middle zone. Vander Esch is a strong tackler. He fills gaps swiftly.
DFD COOKBOOK RECIPE
Leighton Vander Esch has tremendous movement skills for a big man. I would love to see him create more plays on his own. I don’t think he is in the top tier of linebacker prospects but he is firmly in the second tier. I would feel comfortable taking him in round two.
DEEP FRIED DRAFT
Vander Esch only has one full year of production. He also needs to do a better job of getting off blocks.