Oklahoma has had a lot of talent in its front seven over the past few seasons, and Wort is a young improving linebacker. He had 66 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2010. Heading into his sophomore season, head coach Bob Stoops was expecting Wort to raise his level of play. Stoops and teammates like Travis Lewis were raving about the improvements that Wort made during spring and fall practice.
The sophomore started out the year with a monster game to help lead Oklahoma to a road win against Florida State. Wort had eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one interception versus the Seminoles. A week later, he returned a fumble for a touchdown versus Ball State.
After that, Wort had a lot of quiet games and only reached double-digit tackles in one game all season. To conclude 2011, he had five tackles and an interception in Oklahoma's bowl win over Iowa. Wort totaled 71 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions last year.
2012 Season Outlook:
Wort should continue to get better with the amount of experience he has entering his junior season. Wort also has added close to 10 pounds of bulk this offseason. That added strength should help him to shed blockers and make him more stout at the point of attack.
The 2012 season won't be without challenges. Wort lost some serious talent around him in the front seven. Defensive ends Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander were good players for the Sooners last year. Wort also won't have Travis Lewis playing next to him. Oklahoma has recruited well, so the team should reload with some talent, but it will take some time to replace those defenders. The Sooners will really need Wort to raise his play to another level.
There is some upside for Wort, who is a young, improving player. He has gotten steadily better over his three seasons in Norman. Wort is a quality athlete with plus instincts. He does a good job of reading his keys and getting in position to make plays.
Wort is extremely quick in run defense. He is a very fast middle linebacker with the ability to get to the sideline on perimeter runs. Although Wort is a solid tackler, he needs to continue to improve his ability to shed blocks. The added strength Wort built up this offseason should pay off in that aspect for him in the fall.
Wort would have better tackle totals if he played in a conference that ran the ball more consistently. The Big XII is a passing-driven league, and the benefit is that it has developed his ability to be a three-down linebacker.
Wort operates well in zone-coverage and is very advanced at getting deep in his drops in the middle of the field. An underrated skill that he brings to the table is his blitzing ability. Wort has nice closing speed and times his rushes well. Averaging four sacks per season the past two years is pretty impressive for a middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
NFL teams that run 4-3 defenses like the Tampa 2 will like the pass defense that Wort brings to the table. If the junior continues to add weight - say another 10-12 pounds - he could stay as a middle linebacker. If Wort tops out around 240 pounds, he would be best as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. Wort doesn't look like a good fit for a 3-4 scheme at this time.
2013 Draft Expectations:
Wort currently looks like a mid-round pick. If he improves again this season, he could rise into second round-consideration. If Wort's production stays at a similar level to his sophomore season, he probably would go at least one round lower, if not in the third day. Wort would probably be better off staying for all four seasons and improving each year, before entering the NFL.
@Bear Down He didn't do a horrible job even if Mitch doesn't pan out, I do believe Shaheen is going to be a monster TE for the Bears for quite a while. However Adams wouldve raised the level of the defense but Demps is a decent player and a veteran which might be just what this young secondary needs.