Jon Alston LB 6'1 223 Stanford
By: Robert Davis
Jon Alston has been a standout playmaker for the Cardinal since moving into the starting lineup as a junior. After two seasons in a mostly reserve capacity, Alston racked up 51 tackles, six for loss, with five sacks. During his junior campaign, he had 61 tackles, 14.5 for loss, and 9.5 sacks - all career highs. This season he drew more attention from the offense, but was still a standout, totaling 52 tackles, 9.5 for loss, and 6.5 sacks on the season.
There may not be a more explosive linebacker in the draft. Alston flies around the field with excellent speed and quickness. He uses that speed to be a playmaker in various roles. 15 sacks in his final two seasons from a linebacker spot shows he knows how to beat people off the edge and close on the quarterback. His athleticism also allows him to make plays sideline to sideline and adjust when in coverage. Although a linebacker, his physical talent could handle a move to safety as well.
Size is what stands out as a negative in regards to Alston. At just over 220lbs, he may lack the bulk to sustain a full season as a three down player. His lack of bulk allows defenders to lock on to him and take him out of plays, limiting his effectiveness. With his size concerns, some teams may project him to safety, which would be a totally new position for him.
Jon Alston is a player that would fill different roles depending on what team selects him. He is a linebacker and can play in the NFL in the right scheme at his size. Other teams will value him as a strong safety. The cloudiness around what position he plays pushes him down the board, but his ability on special teams and speed will make him an impact defender in some capacity.
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