Notes: Last name is pronounced "STIR-di-vent." North Carolina prep quarterback-linebacker who missed a pair of games as a senior while nursing a pulled hamstring. As a true freshman in 2007, started 5-of-12 games in the middle and recorded 47 tackles, 1½ for loss and one sack with one interception and a blocked kick. Led the country in solo tackles (87) in '08, starting all 13 games on the weak side and posting 122-5½-2 with four pass breakups, two interceptions (32-yard TD against Notre Dame) and a forced fumble. Started all 13 games in '09 - the first eight in the middle, the final five on the weak side - and paced the Tar Heels' defense for the second consecutive season, tallying 79-12-1 with three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a 49-yard fumble recovery TD against Georgia Southern. Was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession in July '10, but charges were dropped. In the fall, he posted 61-8½-3 with two pass breakups and one interception in eight games (seven starts) at WLB. Did not start the season opener against LSU after being cleared the night before in a NCAA investigation related to academic fraud and improper dealings with agents. Strained his left hamstring against Rutgers and missed the next five weeks. Did not perform all running at the Combine because of the injury.
Positives: Very good instincts. Diagnoses quickly. Tough and physical. Can dip his shoulder, get skinny and play in gaps. Quick to step downhill and show good short-area quickness and burst. Aggressive in pursuit and takes good angles. Solid tackler. Sniffs out screens and draws. Can run with tight ends and has enough hip flexibility to drop and redirect in zone. Played outside and inside. Highly respected on-field leader. Experienced, three-year starter.
Negatives: Average size and does not have intimidating stature - lacks bulk and take-on strength. Short-strider can be outpaced to the perimeter. Overruns some plays. Needs to improve hand use. Plays short-armed - does not jolt blockers and can be slow to disengage. Can get caught in the wash. Tends to thud and wrap and is not an explosive, striking tackler.
Summary: Adequate-sized, instinctive middle linebacker who does not have ideal length or athletic ability, but compensates with football smarts and instant instincts that enable him to play faster than he times. Has natural leadership skills at a position that requires them and could be effective if protected in a 4-3 scheme like that of the Jaguars, Lions, Vikings or Saints.