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2017 NFL draft player breakdown and interview: Paul Magloire Jr.

In the past month, Paul Magloire’s draft stock has begun to rise, so I was sure to break down his film and chat with him.

NCAA Football: Arizona vs Brigham Young Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

As the Super Bowl approaches and the 2016-2017 NFL season comes to a close, football is all but done. Free agency and the draft are right around the corner, and although there are plenty of high-profile names who’s dreams are about to come true when their name is called during the 2017 NFL Draft, there’s some college prospects out there that are certainly deserving of attention.

Paul Magloire Jr., the hybrid OLB/SS out of the University of Arizona, is one of those guys.

Magloire, who was on the 2016 NCAA Bednarik Award watch list, has shot up draft boards in the past two months since the regular season of college football ended. In his two years at Arizona after transferring from Arizona Western Junior College, Magloire has recorded 153 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two defended passes, and forced one fumble.

There have been questions as to where Magloire should play in the NFL, as he carries the size of a safety — 6-1, 230 lbs — but has the instincts and talents to thrive as a weakside linebacker. When I interviewed Magloire, he told me this about his transition in his junior season from strong safety to WILL:

“After some injuries, I moved to that WILL linebacker position, and things just took off from there.”

And surely, they did.

Magloire was a consistently effective run defender. His instincts as a gap shooter and run defender are the most impressive aspects of his game:

Here’s another example of his speed being used to shoot gaps, this one coming from the East West Shrine Game — Magloire made the jump from the Tropical Bowl to the Shrine Game very shortly after his name starting getting some hype. There is a lot of value in this aspect of run-stopping:

As stated in the tweet: Magloire has an eye for the ball. He reads the backfield with ease and is great at making his way into it.

He draws comparisons to Jacksonville’s very own Telvin Smith, who fell in the 2014 draft due to his size and issues in pass protection. Those two aspects hurt Magloire’s stock, but as seen by Smith’s progression, those things are fixable and can be taught.

In the pass game, Magloire was used as a pressure creator, and although he didn’t get home much for the sack (WILL linebackers don’t specialize in sacks so that’s O.K.), Magloire consistently forced the QB to force the ball:

What will cause Magloire to rise is his ability to play the run and his physicality:

Magloire timed his dip against the pulling guard here perfectly to where he could beat the block and make a stop at the line of scrimmage.

Yes, Paul made that hit on the running back.

Paul has risen quickly during this draft process. Per a source, Magloire met with the Jaguars during the week of the East-West Shrine Game. A couple weeks before the Shrine Game, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report had Magloire ranked as the 292nd best prospect in the draft. Now, he has Magloire sitting at 162, up 130 spots and a projected early fifth round pick.

I got to chat with Magloire recently about the draft process, the Shrine Game, and more!

[On how surreal the past two months have been]: It’s been real surreal, especially when you’re putting in the hard work and are dedicated to what you’re doing.

[On comfort playing linebacker/safety]: I’m definitely really comfortable at outside linebacker, and it’s still something I can get better at. I look forward to seeing where that’s going to take me.

{On journey from Arizona Western JUCO to Arizona to preparing for draft]: It’s been a great ride. I ended up at Arizona Western and coaches over there thought I’d make a really good strong safety, so I made that switch (played QB/offense in high school) and grinded and learned everything about that position, and then everything took off. I started getting offers from the Big 12, Pac 12, SEC, but I originally committed to Arizona and I stayed true to that. It was an exciting time for me. I made it to Arizona and played safety, where I rotated for six games. After some injuries, I moved to that WILL linebacker position, and things just took off from there.

[On strengths as a WILL] Definitely playing the backfield and covering the tight end, being able to shoot gaps in the run game. I feel like I’m a three down linebacker. I think the traits that I bring make me really valuable in both a base defense or as a dime linebacker.

[NFL role model]: I feel like my game really resembles Deone Buchanan’s, you know, he played a great job at linebacker, as a “money-backer” {in Arizona], that guy that everybody wants.

[On experience at the Shrine Game]: It was awesome. Coach [George] Edwards (Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator) is a great coach and is someone I definitely wouldn’t mind playing for. The experience I gained in learning from all of those NFL coaches, and being able to talk to all of these scouts, and to run an NFL defense with this NFL language and how they explain things, then being able to show what I could do, it was awesome. It was a blessing.

[On how he has handled recent exposure]: I think I’ve handled it well. As soon as I got back (from the Shrine Game) I got right back to work, back to training. I’m keeping focused on the main goal — getting drafted. I’m still grinding it out and working towards the main goal.

[On what’s next]: I’m going to keep on following this path and I’ll let God do the rest. I’m going to be sure to do my part and the rest will pan out perfectly. Hopefully you’ll be watching me on Sunday’s soon.