Kevin Pierre-Louis has been a four year starter at linebacker for Boston College. His combination of athleticism and speed has made him a good fit for a college game increasingly seeing more and more spread concepts that spread the field. Louis has played in a number of different roles ranging from inside and outside linebacker as well as safety in certain looks and a standup rusher.
For the NFL, Louis is a height, weight, speed prospect that has potential to contribute as a sub package player as well as on special teams. He has not played up to his physical talent, but he does show ability to help a team in coverage, and can blitz off of the edge with speed. Louis has trouble taking on and shedding blocks and combined with his below average ability to read and diagnose plays quickly, he tends to struggle as a run defender. Should he realize his full potential, he can become a weak side linebacker and a full service player, but he should be able to make a roster if he can contribute on special teams and help in passing situations. Louis warrants a late round pick but could end up going undrafted, but he will have his chance to make an NFL team.
Vitals & Build
Louis measured in 6’ 232lbs with 32 ¼” arms at the scouting combine. He has impressive burst and speed. His agility and quickness are good, but he tends to play smaller than his size in terms of power and functional strength. His potential lies in being able to get stronger while maintaining his athleticism.
Louis is a decent tackler. He wraps up opponents pretty consistently and though he tends to leave his feet, he does not seem to lose tackles. Keeping his feet under him and driving on contact would allow him to be more effective, but he is able to drag opponents down or at least slow them down enough where opponents can come secure the play. He needs to eliminate some of the lunging he does to avoid missing out on some opportunities.
Louis is a mediocre run defender. He tends to be too slow on diagnosing where the play is going and too often is using his speed to catch him up rather than be ahead of the play. He is at his most effective when he is already attacking a gap and the run happens to be going near him. At times, he can be quick enough to knife into the backfield and make a stop before the play gets started.
When it comes to taking on and shedding blocks, Louis tends to struggle and can get bodied out of plays too easily. Occasionally, he can slip blocks and make a quick move to catch an opponent off balance and beat them to the spot.
Louis is at his best when he is able to operate as a run and chase linebacker, showing the ability to chase down plays from behind. Some may try to talk themselves into Louis being a full time weak side linebacker and there is some potential there, but it all comes down to how fast Louis can become when reading and diagnosing plays, so he is not just an undersized linebacker, but a speedy linebacker that has to opponents to have to stop.
Louis has played in man as well as zone both from a traditional linebacker spot and a hybrid safety position in the slot. His backpedal and ability to get his drops is excellent and he does show some upside when it comes to his ability to mirror and run with receivers in the slot. He should also excel in coverage with running backs. When it comes to tight ends, Louis has the speed but has to prove he can hold up with power.
Louis certainly has the skill set to play in zone, but can get lost in space. Opponents have been able to slip his coverage when he is focused on the quarterback and he needs to keep his head on a swivel better. His acceleration and burst should allow him to make plays on the football.
With all of that said, Louis has to show more in terms of being able to make plays on the football. For all of his athleticism and potential in coverage, he has not been able to make as many plays as he should.
Pass Rush & Blitz ability
Louis’s speed and explosive ability makes him a threat off of the edge. When he is unblocked, he can get to the quarterback or mesh point of the handoff easily and disrupt plays. The problem for Louis is that he does not beat enough blocks, so as long as opponents can get a body on him, Louis is relatively easily neutralized. If he can develop more in terms of ways to defeat blocks, he can be a far more dangerous threat.
At this point, he is most effective either in an overload situation where the opponent just cannot get enough bodies on them to stop them. He can also sneak up and come on the blitz with the chance to make an impact if the opponent does not see him coming.
From an athletic and size standpoint, Louis has to be able to find himself a home on nearly every special teams coverage unit. His speed should allow him to help in kickoff and punt coverage and give him the opportunity to get in and block a kick.
Louis might be best suited to be groomed to play weak side linebacker at the next level, but he could also get looked at for a strong safety position. Right now, he is a sub package player and looks like he can really play either spot depending on the situation. Somewhere on the second level, he can play underneath, blitz off of the edge and play with speed.
Louis’s skill set and potential may have him most comparable to Malcolm Smith of the Seattle Seahawks. Smith was a 7th round pick coming from USC in 2011 because he was a great fit as a sub package player and has been able to excel in that role with the Seahawks. If a team can get that type of player out of Louis, they would be thrilled with their investment.
Kevin Pierre-Louis has shown a great deal of potential in what he could do as a sub package player, but he has to find a way to play up to his impressive physical skills. He can attack off of the edge and help in coverage, but still has some issues to address in those facets of his game. Louis needs to get better in his ability to diagnose as well as take on and shed blocks to help against the run, but if he can do it, he could have long term potential as a weak side linebacker. He warrants a late round pick but could end up going undrafted, but should have a chance to make a roster if he can help on special teams and various passing situations.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com