Why Undrafted?: Tre Lamar

Why Undrafted?: Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Five years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Throughout a lot of the 2019 NFL Draft process, I had Tre Lamar on the second day of mock drafts, and I knew some teams that really liked him. Lamar was a tough run stuffer for the National Champions and displayed upside to get better as he gained experience. Thus, it was surprising to see Lamar fall to the undrafted ranks.

Team sources say the reason Lamar fell undrafted was stiffness. Teams felt that he was a tough in-the-box run defender but really struggled in space. His stiffness and struggles in space make him a poor fit for pass coverage as a pro, and that is a crushing issue for a prospect to have in the passing-driven NFL. Sources from four different teams all independently cited the stiffness, playing in space, and coverage issues as the reason Lamar went undrafted.

After going undrafted, Lamar signed with the Detroit Lions, which was a fine landing spot for him. Detroit’s linebackers were terrible in 2018, so Lamar should get every opportunity to show that he can help upgrade the unit. Jarrad Davis and second-round rookie Jahlani Tavai are ensured roster spots, but beyond them, the competition looks wide open for playing time and roster spots. However, Lamar’s issues in pass coverage are going to be very problematic for him making the final 53-man roster. Thus, he probably is a better candidate to play on the practice squad and see if he can develop enough coverage skills to stick in the NFL.

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