2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Pittsburgh LB SirVocea Dennis

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, we’ll be profiling Pittsburgh LB SirVocea Dennis.

#7 SirVocea Dennis, LB, Pittsburgh (Sr.) — 6003, 218

Senior Bowl


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
SirVocea Dennis 6003/226 10 1/2″ 33″ 78″
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press

The Good

— Has a quick trigger to burst downhill and shoot gaps
— Closing speed pops on delayed blitzes; gets on QB in a hurry
— Sure tackler: only 4 missed tackles all of 2022 (per PFF)
— Uses lateral agility and twitchiness to keep OLs off him
— Carries powerful hands, can stack and shed if he gets hands-on first
— Constantly around the ball, always pursuing the ball with maximum effort
— Smart player with good play recognition
— Great communicator on the field, actively signaling and yelling to get defense lined up

The Bad

— Could stand to add some lower body strength to take on blocks and hold gaps
— Can be weak at the point of the attack, has a tendency to backpedal away from bigger lineman
— Wasn’t asked to play in man coverage at all
— Zone drops were smooth but needs to do a better job at feeling crossers coming into zone


— 232 tackles, 36.0 tackles for loss, 15.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 pass deflections in 35 career games
— Lead team in tackles in 2022 and 2021, had second-most in 2020
— Team Captain in 2022
— First-Team All-ACC in 2022, Second-Team in 2021, Third-Team in 2020
— Not highly recruited out of HS after playing QB, went to prep school before Pitt (The Peddie School)
— 2-Star Recruit per 247sports
— Turns 23 in March 2023
— Brother SirVantis Dennis II, played football at Albany

Tape Breakdown

Pittsburgh linebacker SirVocea Dennis has defied expectations after being undersized and underrecruited coming out of high school. His hard work and dedication have paid off as he is now likely to be selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. After only seeing limited time as a true freshman, Dennis worked his way up to claim a starting role on the Panthers’ defense, where he excelled and never looked back. He led the team in tackles for his final two seasons and ended his college career with impressive stats, including 232 total tackles, 36.0 tackles for loss, 15.0 sacks, and two interceptions.

Let’s take a look at his tape and see what he brings to the table.

As a linebacker, one of the most critical skills to possess is the ability to shed blocks. Regardless of a player’s size, speed, or strength, if they can’t shed blocks, they will struggle to make impact plays for a defense.

Despite being considered undersized for his position, Dennis is able to utilize his 32-7/8″ arms(69th percentile) to stack and shed blocks more effectively than I anticipated on his tape.

Although Dennis showed a decent amount of block-shedding ability, there is room for improvement in his strength to become more effective at the point of attack. In his game against Tennessee, he struggled against bigger offensive linemen, often getting washed out of plays or resorting to spinning away from blocks.

Despite being smaller and less physically imposing than some of his opponents, Dennis compensates for his size and strength limitations with exceptional speed and lateral agility.

Here are a few examples of Dennis’ lateral agility in action, as he quickly slithers past would-be blockers to get into the backfield and disrupt the play.

Dennis also trusts his eyes. He’s an extremely smart player that is hard to be fooled. That combined with his speed and downhill trigger, allows him to shoot gaps, beat blockers to the spot, and create havoc in the backfield.

Dennis’ quick trigger downhill and impressive lateral movement were on full display in a play against Clemson in 2021. As part of a Double A Gap LB Twist, he was able to shake off the center and close in on the quarterback, only to find himself in the throwing lane of a shovel pass. He was able to catch it and return it all the way for a touchdown.

Not only does his closing speed make him effective at shooting gaps, but it also comes in handy when he blitzes the quarterback. He has excellent timing when it comes to blitzing, and if he has a clear path to the QB, he’ll be on top of him in no time.

Dennis shows adequate strength and determination when facing blockers in his pursuit of the quarterback. He’s adept at using his physicality to his advantage, often bulldozing through defenders to create pressure and disrupt the opposing team’s passing game.

Dennis is an exceptional tackler, making him a valuable asset to any defense. In fact, according to PFF, he only missed four tackles in 12 games during the 2022 season, giving him an impressive missed tackle rate of 4.9%. He consistently uses proper technique, focusing on wrapping up the ball carrier and driving through the tackle, as seen in this play against Tennessee.

In addition to his exceptional tackling ability, Dennis’ motor can be seen in his pursuit of ball carriers all over the field. He never gives up on a play and can often be seen chasing down ball carriers from behind or fighting through blockers to make a tackle.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much coverage tape on Dennis as Pitt rarely used their linebackers in man coverage situations. While he has twitchiness and lateral agility that could make him effective in man coverage, it’s still unclear how he’ll perform in those situations outside of limited 1-on-1 reps at the Senior Bowl where Dennis’ held his own.

In zone coverage, Dennis is a smooth zone dropper. However, he occasionally struggles to locate crossers entering his zone, leading to open windows behind him. His feel and spatial awareness are just a bit off.


SirVocea Dennis is an undersized player who makes up for his size and strength limitations with his lateral agility, closing speed, and exceptional tackling ability. He has a great motor and consistently pursues the ball with maximum effort, making him a valuable asset to any defense. Although he could improve his strength to become more effective at the point of attack, he does show the ability to block shed. He’s intelligent with good play recognition and is a great communicator on the field. While his coverage skills are yet to be tested extensively, he has shown potential in limited 1-on-1 reps and has smooth zone drops.

In my opinion, Dennis would be a great fit for teams looking for a versatile linebacker in the 5th-6th round range. While he may not possess any elite physical or athletic traits, he has the smarts to learn and master any NFL system. Initially, he may have to prove himself on special teams while adjusting to the professional game, but I have confidence in his abilities to eventually become a starter.

I liken his game to that of David Long Jr., an aggressive and undersized linebacker from West Virginia. Long was drafted in the 6th round in 2019 and had to wait his turn and contribute on special teams for the Tennessee Titans before becoming a starter with 21 combined starts over the last 2 seasons. With similar traits, I believe Dennis has the potential to follow a similar path and become a successful player in the NFL.

If the Steelers decide to wait until the middle-to-late rounds to address their linebacker needs, Dennis should be on their radar as a potential candidate to boost the depth of their linebacker room.

Projection: Day 3

Depot Draft Grade: 6.8- Backup/Special Teamer (5th Round)

Games Watched: Tennessee (2022), West Virginia (2022), North Carolina (2022), North Carolina (2021), Clemson (2021), Senior Bowl (2022)

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