NFL Draft Profile: Montana ILB Dante Olson

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The Los Angeles Rams are undergoing a defensive scheme and regime change. With that being said, former Pro Bowl starting inside linebacker Cory Littleton has departed via free agency. That leaves the Rams set to start Micah Kiser, a former fifth-round pick and one of their young crop of inexperienced talent. While the Rams have talent and potential at the position, one could make the argument that they will need to look in the NFL Draft early on for a replacement to Littleton.

Here’s a linebacker in the draft who could possess some value to the depth chart, Dante Olson.

College Bio

Dante Olson started his college career redshirting in 2015. His redshirt-freshman year he was named Montana’s Special Teams Player of the Year. He would follow suit in his redshirt-sophomore season. The next year it was all about his ability as a starter finishing top three in the FCS Defensive Player of the Year award voting, he led all the entire NCAA (FBS and FCS included) in tackles per game and set a school record for single-season tackles. His senior season he followed that up with another finalist appearance for the Defensive Player of the Year award and breaking the new school record for tackles he set the year before.

Measurables

Height: 6’2
Weight: 237

Stats provided by herosports.com

Strengths

Olson is a leader on the defense. He’s a see-ball-get-ball type of player that has a motor that runs very hot. Olson is very reactive and reads plays rather well. He is decent in coverage and is well above-average against the run. He is a form tackler but has a decent amount of pop behind his pads. Olson can blitz and do it well, he had six sacks in his redshirt-junior season for a reason. He’s a very patient linebacker and he’s an underrated athlete and while he didn’t run well in the 40, he has plenty of agility to make up for it and jumped a 42 inch vertical in the same testing. Production improved each year. Special teams background.

Weaknesses

Olson lacks long speed plain and simple. He struggles at times to deconstruct blocks and he lacks explosiveness and short-area burst that will be needed for the next level. Hips definitely are tight and he does struggle in man coverage. He’s going to have to work much harder than everyone else on the field due to his limitations. He has a tendency to take poor paths to the ball and as a result gets caught up in oncoming traffic.

Three Plays on Tape

Development

Dante Olson is a developmental linebacker at the next level who has the potential to start in the NFL. He does a lot of things well and while he is limited by his speed, it shouldn’t take away from the positives his game brings to the table. He’s a true tackling machine that wants to get down and dirty and make a play. He doesn’t shy away from contact and has a great feel for the game. He will likely have to fight his way onto a 53-man roster but his flashes in coverage, his abilities against the run and the overall versatility to blitz the quarterback could keep him along as an option to start for an NFL team.

Draft Grade: Early 5th round

Bottom Line

Dante Olson is someone that can come in and right away day one fit himself into your plans. In some facet, not even necessarily as a starter but football players with that much production and feel for the game have to make it one way or another. My guess is that Olson becomes a big-time special teamer and works his way into an eventual starter role. The Rams could definitely take a gander at Olson but they do not have a fifth-round pick so they might have to “reach” on him a round early. That is, of course, assuming general manager Les Snead doesn’t make a myriad of moves like he always does and acquire a fifth-round pick. The last Montana player the Rams drafted was Trumaine Johnson and that worked out rather well.

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