Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State


If you covet a LB with great length, good burst off the ball, above average coverage skills and a blue-collar attitude, then Kyler Fackrell is your guy!  I believe the LB depth to be one of the strengths of this NFL draft class.  As such, Fackrell will be a great value.  He is currently my number 6 LB and our IDP Team’s number 11 LB in this class.  In our blended rankings, he is the DFW IDP Team’s 54th best prospect overall and my 44th.  Fackrell is ranked as the draft’s 24th-best prospect by NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein. He’s also No. 28 on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s list of top prospects.   In October, he was PFF’s top ranked OLB as well.

Fackrell started his collegiate career off with solid campaigns in his first two seasons.  In 2012 he had 87 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and 3 INT’s.  He followed that up in 2013 with 82 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 pass defended, 2 forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.  His junior season was derailed by an ACL injury.  He came back strong his senior year with 82 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries.  He also had a team record 12 QB hurries. Fackrell was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

NFL Combine/Pro-Day Results

Fackrell had a solid combine with the exception of the bench press, where he put up a pedestrian 15 reps at 225.  He had a 4.72 40 yard dash (tied with Reggie Ragland for 12th best time), 34.5″ vertical (6th best), and 121″ broad jump (7th best).  At his Pro-Day he posted a 4.31 short shuttle, 7.24 3-cone, and improved his bench by one rep with 16.


Size: 6’5″ 245 pounds; 33 1/4″ arms; 10 1/8″ hands; Fackrell has a prototypical long and rangy 3-4 OLB build

Athleticism: Fackrell is an above average athlete.  He has good mobility and lateral agility for a player his size.  He has good bend and movement for a player his size.  Play strength is a huge concern.  He is at the bottom of his position in terms of upper body strength.  

Pass Rush:  He has the potential to be a plus pass rusher at the next level.  His size and range allows him to have a very good tackle radius.  He is great covering in open space. He had the second highest pass rushing productivity against guards in the country.  His long strides can cause difficulty in tight spaces.  At times, can have trouble executing inside moves.  Not very good at dropping into coverage.

Run Defense: Has good burst with initial steps and covers a lot of ground.  Has a high center of gravity, which can hurt him at the point of attack when tackling NFL RB’s.  Has a tendency to bite on delayed handoffs and draws.  He does have good read and react skills overall and can hold well at the point of attack.

Tackling: Produced good tackle numbers in college.  Picks good pursuit angles leading to tackle opportunities.  Does not do well recovering after back pedaling.  Has trouble playing man to man in coverage, which can lend to difficulty in tackling WR’s.  

Coverage:  I believe this is an area that he will need to work on quite a bit.  He faced lower level talent and did alright.  However, he could struggle against NFL caliber players.  He is awkward at times back pedaling and can look out of place in open space.  Overall, he will be adequate but not stellar in coverage.

Versatility: I believe Fackrell is fairly one dimensional.  His skill set really only fits a 3-4 OLB scheme. I have read a few opinions that think he can adapt to a 4-3 SAM.  I strongly disagree with that.   Some have compared him to Paul Krueger, which I think is a fair comparison athletically.  However, Krueger has much more upper body strength.  If Fackrell can put on 10-15 pounds of muscle he could be much more successful and warrant that comparison.  If he does not get the requisite strength he will never be a 3-down LB.

Medical:  Shows no lingering affects of the ACL injury from 2014.  All medical checks out ok.

Intangibles:  Fackrell will be a 25 year old married rookie with a child.  He has always been a mature leader that sets a great example.  He’s well respected by coaches and players alike.  Consequently, any team would be lucky to have him in their locker room.

Motor: Often referred to as a “blue collar” type, Fackrell goes to work.  He is very active in pursuit.  At times because of his size he can get turned around while he over pursues.  However, he works very hard to shed blocks and execute the tackle.  In watching tape, Fackrell has one of the best motors in this LB corp.  He does not give up on plays and he works extremely hard to succeed.  

NFL Draft Projections

Because this draft is rich in LB wealth it is hard to project Fackrell’s place in the draft.  The consensus seems to be late second or early third round.   He had an extended visit with the Jets recently.   They are actively shopping Wilkerson. They also have Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams that aren’t necessarily playing in their natural positions.  He would be a great fit in their scheme and allow the Jets to solidify their rotation.  The Jets 51st overall pick seems to be about the right spot in the draft for him to go.  The Colts and Bills are also options at 48th and 49th overall.  He would be best suited in a situation where he could learn on the job and not be counted on for lots of snaps in year one.

Fantasy Projections

Fackrell projects to be a mid 4th to late 5th round pick in 12 team rookie drafts.  However, depending on your scoring format he could possibly be taken as early as late third round.  If he lands in a starting role right away his draft stock will rise.  Just remember that the bread and butter of LB’s is tackle numbers.  He showed consistent tackle numbers in college.  Depending on your roster composition and needs Kyler Fackrell could be a great upside pick!