NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Indiana LB Tegray Scales

From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#8 Tegray Scales/LB/Indiana 6’0”, 230 Lbs

The Good

-Disciplined linebacker that reads keys well
-Instinctive, reactive linebacker that loves to fly downhill
-Consistently around the football
-Flashes ability to get home as a pass rusher off of the edge, or on blitzes
-Comfortable dropping into coverage
-Takes solid angles to the football in pursuit and can adjust on the fly quickly

The Bad

-Hesitates at times against the run, allowing blockers to reach him on the second level
-Will pick sides against a blocker, rather than taking him head-on against the run
-A bit undersized for position, in terms of height and reach
-Doesn’t maintain gap leverage consistently
-Appears a step slow at times on tape


-Scales became the first Indiana linebacker to earn All-America honors (2016) since 1987 and the first to collect first team All-Big Ten recognition (2017) since 1988.
-Finished third on IU’s charts with 46 career tackles for loss (152 yards), sixth with 18 career sacks (104 yards) and 10th with 325 stops.
-Scales recorded 13 double-digit tackle games, four multi-sack games and 14 multi-TFL games.
-Scales appeared in 48 games with 26 career starts for Hoosiers, and added 218 solo stops, eight interceptions (1 pick-6), two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, nine quarterback hurries and eight pass breakups
-Former standout high school wrestler

Tape Breakdown

Throughout the draft process, evaluators will often have guys that they love to watch live, yet come away feeling differently once they pop on the game tape.

This year, Indiana’s Tegray Scales takes the cake as that player for me. While I loved watching him fly all over the field for the Hoosiers over the last two seasons, when diving into his game tape I noticed a number of flaws and concerns, even if he was productive.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a ton to love about his game, but prior to the start of draft season, I had Scales pegged as an early Day 2 type of linebacker.

Sure, he’s very athletic, a sound tackler and is constantly around the football, but I just couldn’t help but shake some issues he had with blockers reaching him at the second level, largely due to his hesitation and not trusting his eyes at times.

Against Michigan State in 2017, Scales had a rough game, allowing the big, lumbering Spartan linemen to reach him at the second level consistently.

The problem with Scales and his size/reach is that he can’t get off blocks, as you can see in the clip above. While this isn’t always common in Scales’ game, it’s certainly concerning, considering how athletic most offensive linemen in the NFL are becoming.

By not getting off the block, Scales can’t even come close to making the play. To cap it off, he gets buried in the dirt. Not a great look.

When he’s reading and reacting as quickly as he does, he’s tough to get a hat on with the way he can dip under blocks, sift through the trash in front of him and find the football quickly. The key to these types of plays from Scales is getting him to consistently trust his eyes and instincts.

You can see the lateral quickness to his game and the suddenness in his lower half when he’s locked in. That alone can be tantalizing for the position.

Play-fakes, misdirections and trick plays, won’t fool Scales, which is one part of his game that I am fascinated with. You can tell he puts in a ton of film work and is very disciplined, and when he locates the ball he can close ground quickly.

Trace McSorley is no slouch as a dual-threat running back, but the Penn State product simply didn’t stand a chance against Scales in the open field. The former star high school wrestler has a strong upper body that routinely leads to tackles when he gets his mitts on the ball carrier.

But here, it’s his smarts and lower body that takes him to the football.

While Scales is constantly around the football, he can often take himself out of plays because he tries to do too much, whether that’s trying to avoid blocks or choosing sides against blockers in the hole.

Through six games of Scales’ tape, I saw him pick a side against a blocker in the hole at least once a game, but fortunately for him, very few led to splash plays.

However, against Michigan in 2017, Scales picked the wrong side at the wrong time, leading to a long touchdown run for the Maize and Blue.

I know it’s hard for guys in the moment to just meet up head-on with blockers in the hole, and I know this run isn’t all Scales’s fault, but he has to do a better job of just sticking his nose in there to either cut down the blocker right there in the hole, or try and cause a stalemate in the hole in hopes of a fellow defender coming in for the tackle.

He simply can’t do what he did here, or he’ll find himself on the bench at the next level.

As I said earlier, there are a couple of flaws and concerns with Scales’s game, but there’s also a lot to like. He is a special teams demon who can contribute right away even if he doesn’t crack the starting lineup at linebacker. He’s not one you’re going to have to worry about when it comes to putting in the work in the film room and the weight room either.

While he’s certainly not up there with the other big names at off-ball linebacker in the 2018 NFL Draft class, he’s a guy who has a ton of value in the middle rounds and should be able to carve out a lengthy NFL career.

Projection:  Early Day 3

Games Watched:  at Ohio State (’16), at Penn State (’17), vs. Michigan (’17), at Michigan State (’17), at Maryland (’17), vs. Wisconsin (’17)


Previous 2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Sam Darnold Garret Dooley Calvin Ridley Fred Warner Ronald Jones II
Maurice Hurst Mike McCray DeShon Elliott  Malik Jefferson Ogbo Okoronkwo
Trayvon Henderson Josh Rosen Ronnie Harrison Kallen Ballage Cedric Wilson Jr.
Micah Kiser Will Hernandez Leighton Vander Esch Josh Allen   Harold Landry
Marquis Haynes  Tremaine Edmunds Kerryon Johnson Lorenzo Carter  Sony Michael
 Rashaan Evans  Kyzir White


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