Takeaway No. 4: Undrafted linebacker Justin March has a real chance to make the roster.
Every year there are previously unheard of players that make a name for themselves during training camp. Sometimes these players are the real deal and end up making an NFL roster. Other times their practice “super stardom” doesn’t translate to the actual games and they are never heard from again.
I had heard a lot of buzz about Justin March an undrafted rookie out of Akron since camp started. Looking at his listed size of 6-foot-0 and 230 pounds, I had serious questions about his ability to play inside linebacker at the NFL level, especially coming from a non-major conference.
Jul 29, 2015; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin March (59) walks to the field during the first day of training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
While watching some offense vs defense team snaps I saw a linebacker fly in and stuff the ball carrier. Seeing a powerfully built number 59 jump up after the tackle, I checked the camp program roster and was surprised to see it was March. He looks (and plays) bigger than his listed weight. In fact, in a recent Terez Paylor piece for The Kansas City Star, March claims he is up to 240 pounds now and I believe it.
If he has added 10 pounds it doesn’t seem to have slowed him down because he has an explosive burst to close on a ballcarrier that is impressive. He plays physical and doesn’t seem to be intimidated by the situation that he’s in. As the day continued I saw him make a couple other big stops and seemed to hold his own in coverage too.
As I left, I decided I was going to do a little more homework on him. My worry was that while he was hitting hard, an undersized run stopper would have trouble seeing the field in the NFL unless he was strong in coverage. March looked alright in coverage at the practice I watched, but I wanted to see if there were any scouting reports out on him. While I had a hard time finding much on him, what I did find surprised me. The lone scouting report I found was from draftinsider.net and it included the following:
"Instinctive linebacker who throws his body around the field to make plays. Gets depth on pass drops, moves well in space and easily changes direction or alters his angle of attack without losing momentum. Effective in pursuit, covers a lot of ground and plays aggressive football. Quick up the field to defend the run or screen passes."
That sounds encouraging, but I wanted to see if I could find any footage. After scouring draftbreakdown.com I failed to find much of anything. There was a game of Blake Bortles against the Akron defense from 2013, but it didn’t show me much either way. March wasn’t a big factor, but didn’t really do anything wrong either. I went to YouTube next and did find a couple of videos that appear to have been put out by March himself. Click through for one of them.
Next: The Justin March highlight reel