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Scouting The Draft: Ricky Sapp

One thing that I think is safe to assume is that the Dolphins will draft an outside linebacker or two at some point during next week's draft. One of my favorite "late 2nd or early 3rd" round guys is Clemson's Ricky Sapp.

So for more on Sapp, I want to welcome back "FigureFour" from SBN's Clemson blog - Shakin' The Southland. Earlier this week, he wrote an excellent piece on C.J. Spiller for us. Today he's back with some thoughts on Sapp.

His piece is below, with Ricky's Combine numbers listed first.

Ricky Sapp

Height: 6'3 7/8" / Weight: 252
40: 4.70 / Arm: 34.5" / Hands: 9 3/4"

Ricky Sapp is an athlete all Clemson fans were all excited about from the moment he stepped foot on campus. The Bamberg native was named to USA Today’s All-America list coming out of high school, becoming the first Clemson defensive lineman since the late ‘80’s to bestow such an honor. Sapp has continued a recent Clemson tradition of NFL caliber talent at Clemson, joining the likes of the late Gaines Adams and Philip Merling in the pro’s. Ricky is prognosticated to play at the outside linebacker by most draft experts. Here is what we at Shakin’ the Southland thought of Sapp and the rest of the defensive line.

Sapp has been an asset since arriving at Clemson. He played significantly from day one, getting almost 200 snaps his Freshman year despite being stuck behind both Adams and Marling on the depth chart. Sapp became a three year starter who was able and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Because of his body build and natural abilities, Sapp relied on quickness to make plays and out-maneuver the opposition.

As a player, Sapp’s athleticism is impressive. Sapp is extremely quick and demonstrates excellent flexibility and movement. Sapp was able to display his natural abilities for pro scouts a few weeks ago, running a 4.61 40, pushing up 23 reps (225 lbs), and performing extremely well in drills. Needless to say, he has all the natural abilities to take it to the next level.

At Clemson, the real knock on Sapp was his size. He played the end position at around 255 lbs, much too small for the NFL. Sapp was never able to get up to and maintain the desired weight in his time at Clemson. This lack of bulk along with Sapp’s talent at the smaller size contributed to his projected move to OLB for drafting purposes. Sapp had trouble at the end position with technique at times and was guilty of getting out of position at times, particularly on some misdirection plays.

Sapp also tore his ACL at the end of the 2008 football season. This injury kept him out of the final two games of the season. Reportedly, Sapp did not recuperate his knee properly and was really playing with his knee about 60 to 70% healed in the ‘09 season. Since the season’s end, Sapp has gone back and reworked his muscle groups to correct the initial rehab mistakes. This has dramatically improved his abilities and is a big reason scouts are excited about Sapp. While being worked out, Sapp was prodded and poked by a couple dozen doctors and trainers, all agreeing that his knee was fine and he was ready to move forward.

Sapp will bring team player intangibles to his future team. Ricky was mentored by some successful defensive linemen during his time and Clemson, and has returned the favor with the younger guys, particularly fellow Bamberg standout DaQuan Bowers. From the four years that we have been following Sapp at Clemson, we believe that he has no character issues and is a genuinely good guy who is willing to work and will stay out of trouble. I will be eager to see how Sapp performs at the next level in more pass defense situations as well as his ability to do a better job of looking into the offense, staying under control, and putting himself in the correct position at all times.