Sterling Weatherford was a 2-star athlete coming out of high school with four offers to D1 schools, and Minnesota asking him to walk-on. Weatherford now is an intriguing developmental prospect with excellent size who can contribute immediately on special teams. Miami (OH) moved Weatherford all across the defense, playing him in a variety of positions from single-high deep safety to box edge defender. He may be limited to a box role, but doesn’t show the consistency to pursue to the boundary with the proper angles to be reliable right away.
Year: Redshirt Junior
High School: Hamilton Heights (Arcadia, IN)
HS Rating: 2 star (0.7875)
Phil Steele: PS#451
Pro Day Workout
LB Sterling Weatherford Complete Scouting Report
Very solid speed. Really saved some big disaster plays with his recognition ability and speed. Forty speed was pretty consistent with what was on tape. Very average overall on tape. Doesn’t show a lot of explosion to move that way. Doesn’t show a lot of ability to change direction easily. Three-cone speed was good but not great.
Lacks upper body strength to control the tackle. Looks thin up top – like he has a lot of frame left to fill. Put on ten pounds between college and the Senior Bowl. Flashes some excellent explosive ability. Very decent vertical and broad jumps – but overall seems relatively average, Doesn’t show a lot of brute power, even by safety standards. Still has room to add to his frame.
Shows a good wrap up when he gets into position. Doesn’t have the control of the tackle that you want to see. Does work down into the box well from deep and is effective in that capacity. Missed 12 tackles in 2021. Doesn’t work too well through traffic. Works downhill very well. Has a tendency to over pursue and miss the play all together. Excellent play pursuit from up top – doesn’t over-pursue. Struggles to work inside of the box and pursue to the boundary. Times blitzes from the outside very well.
Not consistent making the play in space. Doesn’t show much consistency as a force/contain defender. Offers suitable man coverage ability. Bites a little too hard on the fake, doesn’t have the athleticism to get back into position and prevent the play. Mismatched against wide receivers for the most part. Good player in deep coverage. Routinely there to make the tackle and prevent a touchdown on a deep play. Plays well at the catch point. Really struggles to be effective in single-deep high coverage. Good in the mid-range.
A little hesitant for my liking, but there is certainly potential with his ability to see concepts. Needs to play a little more sure of himself. Still appears to be learning how to recognize and diagnose concepts. Played more of a safety role in college, which limited his snaps in the box. Typically shows good instincts. Feels out the play well. Attacks the receiver in his zone at the catch point with urgency and good quickness. Needs to trust his eyes a little bit more and play with more urgency.
Consummate professional. No known off-field issues. No known injuries other than minor scratches and bruises. Considerable upside as a linebacker prospect. Has room to add to his frame, which in turn (hopefully) would improve strength and tackling, and his play recognition offers potential to grow as well. He hasn’t played the position long enough to get a true gage of where he is as a prospect at this position as opposed to safety. The need for off-ball linebackers across the league is still very important, and factors into the grade.
Off-Ball Linebacker: 65
To see the full grade and breakdown, please consider purchasing my NFL Draft Guide OneNote Document access. You can follow me on Twitter for more professional insight, @DraftVogel.