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Matt Word

MLB | (5-11, 233, 4.7) | Iowa State
By Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Lettered in football, track and basketball in high school. Brother Mark Word has been a defensive end with the Browns. Matt played in 10 games as a true freshman in 1999 and had 22 stops and two tackles for loss. He started four-of-11 games in 2000 and recorded 63 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and three passes broken up. In '01, he started every game and led the team in tackles (108) with 11-3-3 and an interception. Underwent shoulder surgery after the year and missed spring practice. Had a better season in '02, making 124 tackles, including seven for loss, two sacks and broke up five passes.

Positives: Has evident athletic ability, feet and balance. Can be used effectively as a blitzing linebacker but also is quick to fill the hole. Plays with good knee bend and uses his hands. Makes solid form tackles and can provide big hits, like in the team's bowl game vs. Alabama in '01. Is well-built and has long, 33-inch arms.

Negatives: If left unprotected by his line, will get smothered. Lack of height is a concern, as is playing strength. Must learn to handle the counter and play-action without overreacting. Is only average against the pass and disappears in some games because he has a tendency to play hot and cold.

Summary: Could do well if he figures out the offensive mode of attack and is protected by a large defensive line.

* Player biographies are provided by Pro Football Weekly.