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NFL Draft Preview: Minnesota Gophers LB Blake Cashman

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The Gopher linebacker continues to see his draft stock rise

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Blake Cashman will hear his name called on Day 2 or 3
gophersports.com

The 2019 NFL Draft kicks off with the first round on Thursday night live from Nashville. While no Minnesota Golden Gophers will go in the first round, at least one Gopher and hopefully more will hear their name called over the next few days. We will take a look at the potential Gopher draftees and highlight their strengths and weaknesses. First up is linebacker Blake Cashman.

Blake Cashman—LB

Measurables:

Height: 6’ 1”

Weight: 237 lbs

Arms: 30 1/8”

Hands: 8 3/4”

Combine Results: (Rank out of LBs)

40 yard Dash: 4.5 seconds (4th)

Bench Press: 18 reps (19th)

Vertical Jump: 37.5” (5th)

Broad Jump: 12’ 4” (4th)

3 Cone Drill: 6.95 seconds (7th)

20 yd Shuttle: 4.12 seconds (4th)

Mockdraftable Spider Graph:

Cashman’s story is a great one. Originally recruited by Division 3 schools in Minnesota, the Eden Prairie native decided to walk on with the Gophers. Within two season he had been put on scholarship by PJ Fleck.

He broke out his senior year where he led Minnesota with 104 tackles while also recording 2.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. His most notable play was forcing a David Blough fumble and recovering it and taking it back 40 yards for a touchdown in Minnesota’s 41-10 blowout of the Boilermakers. He ended the season by being named named second team All-Big Ten by the media and third team by the coaches.

Cashman’s draft stock really took off after exploding at the NFL Combine. Cashman performed better than most all of the other linebackers in attendance and showed that he did have several of the measurables that NFL teams are looking for. Cashman should step in immediately and be a special teams stud, and with some practice could step into at least a situational playing spot on the defense.

Positives:

  • Smooth rangy athlete
  • Excellent range and is a sideline to sideline linebacker
  • Consistent wrap up tackler
  • Non-stop motor with a nose for the ball
  • Smooth in coverage
  • Reads and reacts quickly
  • Proven to be an efficient blitzer
  • Linebacker who excels in space

Weaknesses:

  • Not the biggest or strongest linebacker
  • Needs defensive line to keep him clean
  • Block shedding isn’t a strength
  • Short arms/small hands
  • Not a powerful tackler

What others are saying about him:

“It’s hard to believe a walk-on has this type of athleticism. He finished fourth in the 40, shuttle and 10-yard split. In other words, he’s fast by any measurement. Making him faster still, Cashman has excellent read-and-react skills, putting him a half-step ahead of everyone else on most plays. Cashman plays a physical style of football, whether it’s hitting the ball-carrier or taking on blockers. He missed eight tackles to finish 31st in ProFootballFocus.com’s tackling metric.” Bill Huber 247 Sports

“Cashman earned a 90.0-plus overall grade this past season and tested out as one of the most athletic linebackers in the class at the combine.”—Pro Football Focus

“On film, Cashman consistently rallies to the ball on film with steady ball awareness and aggressive intentions in pursuit. He plays tougher than he looks, but isn’t a power player and will struggle to discard blocks once engaged. Cashman has shown to line up up across tight ends, offering reliability in zone coverage. Overall, the former Minnesota product lacks ideal size and strength measurements, but he plays with a tough demeanor. Cashman is always hunting and quick to key, diagnose and attack, projecting best as a Will linebacker that will offer plus special teams ability.” —DraftWire/ USA Today

Highlights:

Mock Draft Predictions?

Cashman is all over the board. Some people have him rising as high to the second round, while some have him dropping as low as the fifth. The vast majority have him somewhere in the late third or early fourth round however. Here are a few predictions:

Draftwire/USA Today—Round 2 Pick 52 to Pittsburgh Steelers

Blogging the Boys-Round 2 Pick 60 to San Diego Chargers

Pro Football Focus-Round 2 Pick 63 to Kansas City Chiefs

Athlon Sports-Round 3 Pick 90 to Los Angeles Rams

CBSSports—Round 4 Pick 107 to New England Patriots

Walterfootball.com Round 4 Pick 123 to Baltimore Ravens

NFL.com/ Chad Reuter Round 5 Pick 161 to Houston Texans

Our Prediction?

Cashman goes in the 4th round to the Baltimore Ravens at Pick 113.