The Wedge Scouting Report, Duke Riley, LB


Wow I had a great year!

67 species eliminated!  15 Planets obliterated!  Over 2000 different weapons used!

Do you mind if I brag a little.  Of course you don’t!  Just consider yourself lucky its not you I am destroying!


And why would I?  With schools like LSU putting so much talent into the NFL.

Even when LSU has a bad year they are stacked!  Year after year.  Even the Dolphins have benefited from the wealth of talent at LSU by bringing in Jarvis Landry a few years ago.

This year you will probably see a few LSU defensive backs in Jamal Adams and Tre ‘Davious White go off the board very early.  But there are a few LSU Linebackers worth looking at.  Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley are both expected to be drafted in 2017 as well.  Its not like LSU hasn’t put good Linebackers int he NFL.  Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones are both recent examples of LSU linebackers drafted in the last couple of years.

November 8, 2014: X at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA

This year I have my eye on Duke Riley to be the next impact linebacker from LSU.

Duke Riley is known as “Little Duke” to some.  Well he was as young kid, suffering from spinal meningitis and wearing thick glasses after be nearly blinded by the disorder he was said to be a bit of a runt.

As a matter of fact “Little Duke” sat on the bench watching those aforementioned linebackers for the last three years before finally getting his chance to start in 2016.


And now…

Riley finished with 93 tackles this season, nine tackles for losses.  He was a weekly playmaker for the Tigers all season.

Since Riley’s first three years at LSU used him primarily on special teams and as a reserve, he will probably help whatever NFL drafts him right away on special teams.

That long wait on the depth chart is not so unusual for LSU Linebackers.  Deion Jones followed a similar track to the NFL.


Its always great to find defensive players who actually played on dominant defenses in college.  And LSU fits that bill.  Only 2 teams scored more than 21 points against LSU in 2016 and Riley was one of the primary reasons for that.

When you watch Riley on tape what jumps out is the fact that he always seems to be in the right place.  He has a real knack for that.  And he seems very well rounded, able to cover Tight Ends and Running Backs, stopping the run and putting pressure on the QB.  He is a disciplined Linebacker who knows how to make an impact.

In fact, one things Riley has a knack for is clutch plays.  Riley has a tendency to make big plays in the 4th Qtr when his teams needs his most.  Think the Dolphins can use that kind of player?


If I was going to compare Duke Riley to an Alien Weapon of Destruction, I would be inclined to compare him to one of my favorites:

The Obliterating Photon Kannon!



Check out Riley vs Alabama in this video:

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299 Responses to The Wedge Scouting Report, Duke Riley, LB

  1. wyoming85 says:

    Reese’s Senior Bowl ‏@seniorbowl 9h9 hours ago
    DE Jordan Willis from @KStateFB had top speed among DL in practice (19.2mph) today, better time than ALL RBs courtesy @CatapultSports

  2. The Flying Pig says:


    when you consider the possibility of Cunningham at 22 or another pass rusher with 1st round talent
    and prospects that are viable in the 2nd round, I include players like Davis, Beckwith, riley and Anthony Walker in this group, then it becomes moot

    you can take 2 front 7 defensive players in the 1st 2 rounds without really trying to fit that square in the round hole

    It doesn’t bother me to take a prospects ranked in the 70s and 80s in the with a pick in the 50s
    It might be the kind of thing that turns Mel Kiper into jello – but that is usually fun to watch….lol

    At the end of the day if quality front 7 defensive players are not available early – I think you are right, they just have to look at other positions bc we do have some places where we can find a starter like interior OL and TE

    but I’m not sure there will be a void of front 7 defensive players with talent with those first 2 picks where it comes to that

  3. Tim Knight says:

    Yes I liked Jamar Taylor in the draft but not the 1st rd for us, too early at #12, and then we traded up for Jordan. I was stoked when he was there in the 2nd and I said I bet we take him here and we did. He showed promise early on then injury and illness set him back and he never quite rebounded. Ireland’s last draft blew up in our faces. Only Jenkins and Sims are still on the team and both are UFAs. Ugh!

    • The Flying Pig says:

      I remember it like that too

      Most of us were rooting for AMerson (who hasn’t panned out very well) or another CB from Tennessee who’s name escapes me but ended up going undrafted

      at the end of the day I’m not sure Taylor wasn’t the best pick there

      horrible draft as a whole
      the 1st round of that draft was pretty bad in general – not just for us but for a few teams

      • Tim Knight says:

        I just looked at the 2013 1st rd and you’re right, not a very good class in hindsight.

      • Again, my post wasn’t about the 2013 draft. It’s about what’s out there at LB this year and just throwing out names of guys who are prospects in this year’s draft doesn’t solve our issues at the position.
        I repeat. “who on the prospect list is an upgrade over Misi and Jenkins?” I don’t want to take a LB just for the purpose of taking a LB. If Cunningham is there at #22 and we take him he’s definitely an upgrade but who’s there in the 2nd rd or later that is as well?
        Can count them on one hand with missing fingers.

  4. Tim Knight says:

    Lou, I was responding to the posts about me liking Jamar Taylor in that draft.

  5. So, what happens if Foster or Cunningham are gone?

    • Tim Knight says:

      They should take the BPA on their board.

    • wyoming85 says:

      PEPPERS ( not my favorite )

      I could go on! But BPA baby!! 🙂

      • The Flying Pig says:

        Peppers would be awesome

        What is the likelihod that Foster, Cunningham and Peppers or a suitable pass rusher at 22 are all of the board

        its probably very unlikely

    • The Flying Pig says:

      I would probably look to the best pass rusher available 1st
      maybe consider trade downs
      maybe consider trade ups if it appears likely to happen
      I would consider taking OL or TE then
      but that basically makes a LB in the next round a very high priority

      and again that takes me to the fact that many of the guys we have discussed are fine int he 2nd round
      Riley, Walker, Davis or Beckwith in the 2nd

      then maybe see what’s out there in the 3rd or the 5th round picks

      We might be able to get a Fields, Nickerson, Anzalone or Boulware in the 5th round

      I’m not rigid about it
      but its not hard to upgrade Misi or Jenkins with a little bit of effort

      BPA isn’t crazy
      but its not a weak draft for LBs and I think the suggestion that it is is dead wrong

  6. wyoming85 says:

    I for one was ecstatic when we drafted Taylor!
    That would have been the last time his name caused excitement! 😦

  7. Mike E. says:

    I wanted Des Trufant, who finished this year on I/R, but has been a good starting CB for the Falcons.

  8. D says:

    Wyoming, I have been pretty interested with Steelhammer as a later round safety prospect and have been trying to get some other eyes as far as scouting him. He looks ok on tape, not spectacular, but he seems to be in the right place at the right time, and has some pretty solid football smarts which help him overcome some of his athletic limitations. Not sure what his potential would be at the next level, because i think the football smarts part makes much more of a difference in the NFL than college, where pure athleticism generally shows out more, so i think there is good potential for a guy to be used in a role of some sort, even if its not at the same position played in college. If he bulked up some i could for sure see him as WOLB or nickle LB, and id think that his level athleticism then might be more of a plus, than it is currently is as a S prospect.

    • wyoming85 says:

      He is a good player!
      But I haven’t checked into whether he will get a break in service or will complete service then start his NFL career?
      He may not be available to play for 2 years

  9. D says:

    I wouldnt sweat the needs of our team in the draft until you see whats done in FA. Obviously LB moved up a little, maybe even the need to double down since Collins dropped off the market. Still some good ones to play SOLB for us, possibly SOLB/MLB hybrids like Minter or Brown. We wont know how important WR will be for us until se see what happens with Stills re-signing, we wont really know how important TE will be because of Sims, etc. Some things will really have to settle out first. I think thats why we are seeing them do things a little different this year, really pushing through interviews of all the possible players they can, seemingly independent of their position. Things could go a lot of different ways and i like how they seem to be trying to prepare for any case that comes up.

    • Tim Knight says:

      I just said that last night about waiting for the combine, pro days and FA. Teams find out more about measureables, character, injuries, drug tests etc. after that process which changes draft boards. Then things become more clear after FA.

  10. wyoming85 says:

  11. D says:

    Misi doesnt fit our systems well, he doesnt provide much in the way of a true backup at any of the spots and outside of being a somewhat sure tackler, he lacks the ability to be a package LB. He might make some team a decent 2 down backup at MLB, but he cant be considered a starter because of durability, and thumper is more your starter with a coverage guy as the package player, he isnt good in coverage so he is good for being that package guy. I could see Jenkins retained as the later, a backup primary with package rotational value. I would try to retain Jenkins on the cheap, i wouldnt try to retain Misi even if he cut his pay in half. There really is no value there for us keeping Misi, but some still for Jenkins.

  12. wyoming85 says:

  13. wyoming85 says:

    167: R5P22 LB DUKE RILEY, LSU

  14. D says:

    Some prospects do that on purpose, come in to senior bowl week, and the “injure” themselves in a very innocuous way and then bow out. Senior bowl brings in an alternate player for them. Its kinda lame because i think some of them do it on purpose so they can get the all in one spot interviews, without the possibility of risking injury, they get to show off in practice a day or two, just enough for scouts and then poof. The player coming in doesnt get the benefit of a full week practice picking up the system and then they dont get much outside of maybe one day of practice and game performance to show out.

    Im sure sometimes its legit but i have seen it happen every year more times than makes me feel there arent some that dont use it to their advantage.

  15. D says:

    Im not a fan of Peppers. I thin he is too in the middle tweener such that it works against him instead of being able to be seen as a versatility plus. I just dont think there is anything he does spectacular. Some “tweeners” are able to do one or the other thing spectacular and have the versatility, that in a pinch you could move them to a different position to fill that gap before moving them back to their normal spot.

    You see it on the OL most often, but sometimes you have WR/RB tweeners like Ty Montgomery, and some S/CB tweeners, like Sean Davis. In Peppers case he’s a S/OLB tweener, and he isnt really fast/skilled enough at S and really not big/strong enough for LB. He has ST’s value as well, but all in all my feelings are, you dont draft a guy who doesnt have a dominant position that you are certain he will excel at, as your first round pick. A really talented guy like that may be a 2nd rounder for sure, but that 1st round pick, you are counting on him to be something.

    If they pick Peppers, i will say ill be highly nervous about the pick, ill assume they know something or they have a spot for him they think he is going to give them that dominant playing quality, but its going to be something i may not feel comfortable about until they unveil that plan.

    • The Flying Pig says:

      He’s a tweener between LB and S

      But isn’t that the trend in the NFL
      You need LBs that can cover now
      It’s the biggest difference maker on defense

      We need them va Brady and his stupid fucking Hogan, Edelman and amendola passes

      If Peppers pushing the twener to far. Maybe…but maybe he is the best coverage LB out there

      He’s an exceptional athlete
      Think Patrick Peterson qualities

  16. wyoming85 says:


    I don’t know if you read this or not?
    Sounds like he may have set up an option for the NFL if drafted?

    ARIZONA BOWL | Faith and family forged Air Force’s Weston Steelhammer

  17. wyoming85 says:

  18. Tim Knight says:

    D, I read Harbaugh say Peppers will run in the 4.3s.

  19. The Flying Pig says:


    I think in general our LBs getting in passing lanes will help our defense tremendously

    Do I think Peppers can cover slot receivers, TEs and running backs? Yes probably

    I definitely think he can cover more ground than a lot of other LB

    But I admit, I don’t know what he is either

    • Tim Knight says:

      He’s probably a hybrid OLB in the mold of Mark Barron for the Rams. Maybe he’s a safety as well. Definitely a nickel player which isn’t a bad thing because they’re on the field a lot anyway. I like his skill set and he’ll probably be a good NFL player. But you better know how to use him if you use a high draft pick on him.

  20. stangerx says:

    From SI’s “Stars of the 2017 NFL season? 10 potential breakout players to watch.”
    Nothing like having a young cub showing he might be ready to show more.

    8. Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins: One of the surprises in Miami’s offense this season was RB Damien Williams, who scored on approximately 10% of his touches (six of 58). He is about to be a restricted free agent, so the Dolphins could retain him at what should be a reasonable rate. But they may not need to with Drake waiting in the wings.

    As a rookie in 2016, Drake averaged 5.4 yards per carry and also took a kickoff back 96 yards to the house. He’s explosive in the open field—the type of chip that would pair well with starting back Jay Ajayi, while also being able to limit Ajayi’s workload. Ajayi’s presence would keep Drake from being a 1,000-yard back next season, but still, a significant bump up from his 225 yards from scrimmage is in the cards.

    • Tim Knight says:

      I like our 3 backs. People seem to forget Williams is a core STs player. Coaches seem to really like him.

      • Tim Knight says:

        In fact, I think we have the perfect game day backfield.
        Ajayi: we all know he can be a workhorse and wear defenses down while also breaking big runs.

        Drake: explosive KR who also plays on coverage teams – should see the ball more on offense in 2017 with a chance to work on his game this offseason.

        Williams: core STs player, excellent receiver and although he doesn’t have great vision to be an every down back, he plays extremely hard and showed us a few times this past season he doesn’t go down easily.

        There is plenty of speed here and they’re all big. I’m not concerned about the RB position at all.

  21. D says:

    All senior bowl draft:

  22. D says:

    If it worked out that you could get Riley and Hall that would work Wyoming, i just have never been able to. Riley i think is a fairly under the radar LB who will wind up being a value pick, unless he shoots up the boards like Jones did, and Hall is almost a mirror image of Garrett, im still not understanding why he isn’t universally a 2nd round projection, but he isnt, so i think he is likewise a underrated and value pick player.

    • Tim Knight says:

      I’m looking forward to seeing some other under the radar prospects we pick panning out. 🙂

      Every year there’s a bunch of those guys found. I hope Grier and his staff are a group that can be successful doing that. It makes your team better while maintaining a healthy salary cap. See the Pats.

  23. D says:

    Stright line speed isnt coverage ability Tim. It just means he would have the speed to run with the burners. He doesnt look that fast in coverage to me, he looks that fast on returns though. I dont doubt his top speed but it doesn’t seem to help him much in coverage.

    • D says:

      Still that said, i dont like him as a first round pick and im sure there are others out there that could gamble more on him or have a way more defined role they plan to use him for. Maybe that teams is us, i just dont think so with other needs we have.

    • Tim Knight says:

      I understand that. Agility speed is much more important. See Julian Edelman – had some of the best numbers in those categories ever. You know who was right there with him? Bobby McCain.

      That’s why I asked Piggy if you think Peppers can cover those Pats fucks. LOL

  24. D says:

    I think Piggy you are mistaking lighter athletic LB for a tweener, and most these guys arent tweeners, they are just LB’s who have a different playstyle, not a Safety that you might can use as a LB in certain packages, or a S who could bulk up to play LB, even though he was primarily a S in college. Its not a first rounder imo.

  25. D says:

    Peppers, i think is someone, that eventually will be pulled over to play on offense. I think its possible he would stay on defense but as a playmaker, unless he just has shitty hands, would be most useful as an offensive weapon. If that 4.3 speed is true, and with his vision once the ball is in his hands, as referenced by his ST’s ability, is a guy you would want to find a way to get the ball in his hands more, and that would be easiest to do on offense. I could easily see him doing the reverse of Lippett. Id bet money thats how NE, or GB would wind up using him.

  26. Tim Knight says:

    D, I’m not sure I would take Peppers in the 1st either. I would in the 2nd though.

    • D says:

      He’s a lot like Cravens was last year, but he is probably a more versatile athlete. I personally think id rather have him here as a RB/WR to be honest. Id draft him in the second to use him as one of those positions, im so confidant about his abilities there. He would be like an better and non-mini me sized Grant.

  27. D says:

    I see why Dauwane Smoot keeps dropping in the projections, but i think with the right development and mentor, he’s a Cam Wake kinda guy. He will have to put on some muscle, as will most college prospects, and i dont think power moves will ever be a strong suit, they arent really for Wake either, but he is quick, he defends the run pretty well, plays the leverage game well getting under the pads at whatever angle necessary to get around the outside and he has a very quick first step.

  28. herdfan says:

    Awwww. RIP Mary Tyler Moore. 😢

  29. wyoming85 says:

    • Tim Knight says:

      I was under the impression that it was a league protocol, not team.

      • D says:

        They even said on the broadcast that there is an independent evaluation that checks these things and they would not have given him back his helmet had he not passed their protocol checks. If anything it looked to me as if Gase was keeping Moore from going back, arguing him down until he got confirmation that he was able to go back in. It surely didnt look like Gase or the team tried to manipulate the situation just to get him back out there.

  30. Randy says:

    I think a S/LB tweener carries a lot more risk than, say, a DE/LB tweener. The difference in responsibilities is greater and the physical requirements are more different. It’s easier to take advantage of a guy playing a LB role when he’s really a S, for instance. A guy who can cover like a safety but play the run and tackle like a LB is hard to find. There aren’t a lot of Cam Chancellors out there. It leaves your defense vulnerable to smart QBs.
    Plus, they’re usually situational players and therefore shouldn’t be considered high in the draft. If they are, they better definitely be able to play both positions equally well.

  31. Mike E. says:

    Damn! RIP Mary Tyler Moore! This hurts a lot for some reason . . .

    • herdfan says:

      Her role on The MTM show was groundbreaking. A woman with a career, on her own. You didn’t just have to be married or a teacher or a mom if you were a female. Nothing wrong with those things but it was a different time.

  32. Randy says:

    I’d like to see us line Drake up out wide more often next season. His at his most dangerous in space.

    • D says:

      He’d be the perfect back for screens out of the backfield or lined up liek they normally do with Landry, and the perfect decoy when you line them up that way and throw a quick hitch to the outside away from there.

    • Tim Knight says:

      Agreed. 7-8 carries to complement Ajayi but maybe 4-5 receps per game. I think he is definitely a weapon that we will expand on in 2017.

  33. D says:

    Man Mike Roberts, TE Toledo, has 11 5/8 inch hands….. ridiculous.

    Incidentally im hearing OJ Howard is lighting it up at Seniro Bowl practices, but also Engram and Everett arent too far behind him. Mostly hearing that Howard is just a more consistent blocker than the other two but all three are showing that they are very capable and threats as receivers.

    Still feel Everett is more Clay/Hernandez kinda guy, but i hear a lot of people are comparing him to Jordan Reed, which i can also see.

  34. D says:

    Sprinkle is 6’4 and 3/4’s 256lbs 34 1/8 wingspan and 10 5/8 hands. Most those are reflective of LT numbers, outside of the 256 weight. He’s the overall biggest TE there. Didnt really get much feedback on him other than he looked pretty good both blocking and running, but right now everyone is on the OJ Howard train.

    • The Flying Pig says:

      He looks like one of the better blocking TEs in this draft

      If you wanted a power running game and a two TE set it seems like Sprinkle would be a great fit

  35. Randy says:

    No!! No screens! Lol

  36. Randy says:

    It seems to me after seeing it in a few games that the NFL is pretty lax when it comes to concussion protocol and QBs.

  37. D says:

    So you know how they measure hands for NFL measurements right? You lay your hands out flat and measure from tip of pinky to tip of thumb. Just to get an idea of how fucking big that Michael Roberts kid’s hands are, get out a ruler put your palm in the middle stretch your fingers out pinky to thumb and then look on either side of your fingers and thats how damn much of his nad you would still see if you put you hand inside of his. I just did that a minute ago and now i dont want to shake the dude’s hand when i meet him at Senior Bowl meet-n-greet Friday. Im scared it might make me feel extremely inadequate as a man LOL.

  38. D says:

    Sprinkle is everything Sims is but better. He is going to be a better blocker and a better receiver, and as a pair it could be a really nice couple of guys who basically can do the same thing and if on the feld at the same time could both be used as blockers in a jumbo run set, one blocker one receiver, both receivers, i think it would give us a solid set of TE options, especially running out of two TE sets, which we were at our best last year when we did. I think of Sprinkle as a Martellus Bennett kind of guy, or at least the potential to be that.

    Every year i try to find prospects i like for us that are going to be talent at a value and for TE’s thats my guy. I like Hikutini as a value pick too. I think that guys might develop into a real beast of a receiver and RZ guy.

    • The Flying Pig says:

      I like the idea of two TEs that block very well and a power running game much better than a receiving TE who “scares” defensive coordinators

      I think in a lot of ways re-signing Simms and Stills an bringing in a player like Sprinkle on offense is ideal

      that way you have your 3 WR set including some serious deep threats to open the field
      and your solid TEs who can help establish a solid running game

      Don’t like Mike E know I said this….lol

      For the record OJ Howard is pretty good at blocking
      Its not like he is a Jimmy Graham type
      Its not like if we drafted Howard he is a liability in terms of running the ball

      • D says:

        No Howard is considered by a lot to be the best blocking TE in the draft. I think its pretty damn close between he and Sprinkle.

      • Tim Knight says:

        That’s why he’s worthy of a 1st rd pick. He’s not one dimensional. He could change the dynamic of our offense once again like Ajayi did.

  39. D says:


  40. Mike E. says:

    I haven’t commented on any of those mock drafts you guys have done, there have been a lot of good ones. D’s latest is pretty damn good. I’d be thrilled with that haul.

  41. Mike E. says:

    I saw that Piggy!!!!!! LOL

    Actually, like D said, Howard may be a better blocker than Sims is, and for sure is a better blocker than Sims was as a rookie. He’s definitely a prototype TE Howard, and with Sims, you’d have two TE’s that can block and catch.

  42. Mike E. says:


    Absolutely on MTM. Getting old sucks, I felt a little part of my childhood die today. I actually choked up when I played the MTM opening. Crazy!

  43. Brian in NY says:

    If Weston Steelhammer doesn’t pan out in the NFL, he’s got a great porn name.

  44. ICYMI:
    Joe Marino

    Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly is currently meeting with the #Dolphins.

  45. just change the # on the jersey to 40 and what do you have?:

  46. wyoming85 says:

    Reese’s Senior Bowl ‏@seniorbowl 5h5 hours ago
    Our ExecDir @SeniorBowlPhil Savage talks about 6 players who stood out on Wed., one who has ‘pro bowl potential’ >

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