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Saleem Rasheed, ILB
Round 3, Pick 4 , Overall 69
From: Alabama

Height/Weight: 6-2/229
Speed (40 time): 4.64


1999 12 12 84 48 36 1 1 0-0 8-29 3.0 6
2000 11 10 81 42 39 0 0 0-0 4-15 0.0 8
2001 11 11 114 71 43 0 2 0-0 7-14 2.0 1
TOTAL 34 33 279 161 118 1 3 0-0 19-58 5.0 15

Analysis by CBS Sportsline:

Positives: Has a lean, well-defined frame with long legs and thick thighs…Quickly digests the plays, making instant decisions towards the ball…Shows proper hand placement to prevent blockers from attacking his feet…Moves well down the line, showing a good short area burst to close…Stays low in his pads, extending his arms to wrap and secure the ball carrier…Makes quick turns out of his backpedal and mirrors the tight end, doing a nice job of pressing the opponent at the line…Uses his rip-and-swim moves with force…Has great power for his lanky frame, setting four school lifting records for linebackers (clean, bench, incline, vertical)…Explosive hitter who closes incredibly quick in pursuit…Effective inside blitzer who backpedals smoothly in pass coverage…Does a nice job using his hands to avoid low blocks…Has the balance and redirection skills to flash into the plays…Good knee bender with a fluid change of direction.

Negatives: Gets out of control at times, trying to out-muscle blockers rather than slide off blocks…While he is effective in pass coverage, he seems to gather himself a bit before heading upfield…Needs to add some bulk to his frame to prevent punishment when trying to get through the inside trash…Seems to work better in space rather than up at the line and could be better suited for the outside…Can get off the edge on the blitz, but does not always locate the ball when in the backfield…Tends to lean into blockers rather than delivering a strong hand jolt in attempts to penetrate.


One of the finest linebackers to ever perform for the Crimson Tide, Saleem has also earned numerous honors for his excellence in the classroom…The Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar and two-time Academic All-Southeastern Conference choice is only of only twelve players in school history to record over 100 tackles in a season…Ranks seventh on the school’s career-record list with 279 tackles while appearing in 34 games…Added five sacks for minus-35 yards, 19 stops for losses of 58 yards and 19 quarterback pressures.

REMINDS YOU OF… Ed McDaniel, ex-Viking. Like McDaniel in his prime, he brings that combination of safety speed and down lineman power. 

GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL… Could end up becoming a Viking. With the cutting of McDaniel and the free agency loss of Kailee Wong, the Vikings are one of the few teams desperate for young blood in the middle. Still feel he's a strongside outside linebacker, though.


4.66 in the 40-yard dash…37.5-inch vertical jump…Bench presses 225 pounds 26 times…475-pound bench press…410-pound incline press…365-pound hang clean…32-inch arm length…8 ½-inch hands…Right-handed…32 Wonderlic score. 


Super Prep National 50, Parade All-American, Super Prep Dixie Defensive Player of the Year and Birmingham News Super All-State selection at Shades Valley (Birmingham, Ala.) High…Led the team in tackles four-straight years…Three-time All-Metro pick…Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year…All-South choice who recorded 157 tackles with 15 sacks and 17 stops behind the line of scrimmage as a senior…Added 142 tackles, six sacks, a blocked punt and a field goal as a junior…Rushed for 604 yards and 16 touchdowns that year.


Management major…Son of Murcelle Rasheed and Labeebah Abdullah…Brother, Dawud, was the 1994 Mr. Alabama Football and played fullback at Duke…Born 6/15/81…Resides in Birmingham, Ala.

Info from Pro Football Weekly:

Notes: Third-year junior who opted to come out early. Former high school All-American. Started every game as a true freshman, with most of his action coming at "Sam" linebacker and 2 1/2 games at middle linebacker. Led the Tide in tackles. Was named the SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year and won Freshman All-America honors. Moved to the weak side in 2000 and started the first 10 games but did not start vs. Auburn. Started every game in the middle in '01, led the team in tackles and was named to the coaches' All-SEC team. Had 84 stops, including eight for loss and three sacks, one pass broken up and no interceptions in 1999, 81-4-0-1-0 in 2000 and 114-7-2-5-0 in '01.

Positives: Very good athlete. Quick and active with the speed to run plays down. Instinctive vs. the run. Has been durable and productive. Versatile enough to have started at all three LB positions. Tough and competitive. Should do well on special teams. Very good weight-room numbers and is very strong pound-for-pound in the weight room. Reportedly can bench-press close to 500 pounds, which is more than twice his body weight, and handle more than 400 pounds on the incline press.

Negatives: Lacks great size. Is not really big enough to be a true "Mike" or "Sam" linebacker in the NFL. Gets knocked down a lot and blocked in the middle when he tries to take on blocks instead of running around them. Takes himself out of some plays when he runs around. Has not been very productive in coverage and may lack a good feel for it. Also looks a little stiff at times.

Summary: A very good football player but may not be a great fit at any of the LB positions unless he gets a lot more natural in coverage. In that case, he would make an excellent "Will" 'backer.

Info from CNNSI.com:

Three-year starter that made an immediate impact in the Alabama defense as a true freshman. All-Conference selection last season when he totaled 114/9/2/0/3, leading the team in tackles from his middle linebacker position. Sophomore totals were 81/4/0/0/1 after 84 tackles his first year in the program. Spent his initial two seasons at outside linebacker. Has run forty times anywhere from the 4.7-range to the mid-4.5’s. 

Athletic linebacker that flashes on the scene. Quick reading or anticipating run plays, takes good angles to the action and forceful moving up the field. Displays range, covers a lot of area and scrapes well laterally getting to the flanks. Works to get involved in the action, has a burst of speed and redirects well to the oncoming ballcarrier. Improved as the season progressed last year. Pound for pound very strong but still has tackles broken, rather easily knocked off balance and does not display the great instincts in pass coverage. Hesitant, slow locating the ball and a little too quick to move up the field blowing assignments on occasion. His size dictates weak side linebacker is his best position, but deficiencies defending the pass may make it a little tough for him in the beginning. Really could have used another season in college to hone his skills, but should still be a first day pick in a weak linebacker draft. Early Third Round.

Info from NFL.com:

Lifted at the combine. Performed 26 strength reps. Did everything else at school. Posted a 38½-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot, 2-inch long jump and ran two 40s on grass — 4.59 and 4.60. Played running back and linebacker in high school. Started all four years and led team in tackles each season. Started all games as a true freshman in 1999 and was the first freshman ever to lead Alabama in tackles. Played strong-side linebacker. Played weakside 'backer in 2000 and middle 'backer in 2001. Very good athlete. Very instinctive player. Tough and competitive. Strong, but gets overpowered in the middle when he tries to take on blockers. Lacks size (upper body). Needs to improve on pass coverage. Plays like Cleveland's Dwayne Rudd, only better. A very good player that lacks size.

Info from FOXSports:

Rasheed shocked the Alabama contingent when he decided to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft after his junior season, and the jury still seems out on where he will wind up being selected. He is a tremendous athlete (4.55 speed) who is able to fight against blocks despite his 225-pound frame. Rasheed was an impact player on the collegiate level, able to quickly navigate in traffic and hone in on enemy ball carriers. He was moved to the middle in his junior season but will play on the outside in the pros.

Info from Football.com:

Speed off the ball
Blitzing ability

Run defense

Rasheed plays like a middle linebacker but his size will relegate him to the outside. He has a lot of upside and might be able to sneak into the late first round. Rasheed has great speed off the ball and uses it to his advantage in blitzing packages. He can blitz right up the heart of the defense or can use the corner and get to the quarterback. His great instincts normally allow him to be in the right place at the right time. Rasheed will have to add at least 10 pounds to his frame to play in the NFL and teams will probably try to use his aggressive style against him and run in his direction. Has great pursuit ability and will make a lot of tackles from behind. Sometimes disappears in a game when he gets flustered. Can make an immediate impact on a team playing about 50% of the snaps in his first year.

Info from KFLL.com:

Rasheed is one of the best coverage linebackers in this class. He's fairly inexperienced and needs to add bulk, but has a ton of potential. He reminds us a lot of former FSU linebacker Tommey Polley, who we had ranked as a first round pick last year. 
Ranking: No. 55, 2nd Round.