Bobby Okereke is just the type of linebacker Vance Joseph could use in his 3-4 defense. Although he’s raw, the Arizona Cardinals can afford to take their time with his development as recently signed (yet oft-injured) Jordan Hicks should be a starter at inside linebacker alongside athletic 2017 first-rounder Haason Reddick.
Running a solid 4.58 second 40-yard-dash and measuring in at 6-foot-1 and 239-pounds, Okereke has the size and speed to be a rangy linebacker in the NFL. His instincts should help as well, as they were a large part in his zero touchdowns allowed in pass coverage, per Pro Football Focus. He’s a typical cerebral Stanford product, but he’s got a ways to go until being a full-time starter.
One of his knocks is his missed tackles. While he always seems to be where the ball is (96 career run-stuffs, per PFF), his 36 missed tackles, per PFF, are frustrating. Those missed tackles are the result of two things; having a top-heavy frame, and average power at the point of attack. He’s a good functional athlete as well, but he lacks the quick-twitch stop-and-go ability which can show up in block shedding. He also tends to be a bit too instinctual in run-stopping.
Okereke is the definition of a potential product at linebacker. He has all the tools and brain to handle a role at linebacker, but the game has yet to slow down for him. The Stanford product could benefit from developing behind the current Cardinals starter while simultaneously playing in a key-role on special-teams day-one.