by Ryan Myers
Photo courtesy of 247Sports.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - North Carolina, Linebacker, Amari Gainer
Name - Amari Gainer
Pos - LB
Team - North Carolina Tar Heels
HT/WT - 6’4” 235 lbs.
Born - 06/22/2000
Home – Tallahassee, FL
Amari Gainer attended Chiles High School in Tallahassee, FL. Out of high school, Gainer was graded as a three-star recruit by ESPN and 247sports and given a four-star rating by Rivals.com. At the time, Gainer was 6’2” and 204 pounds. Over his high school career, he had 240 tackles including 60 TFL and 26 sacks. His best season was his senior year where he notched 93 tackles with 24 TFL, 12 sacks and an interception. After high school, he decided to stay in his hometown and attend Florida State University.
He spent his first 4 years with the Seminoles and had some definite ups and downs throughout his time there. His best seasons were his 2019 and 2021 seasons. In these two years, he played 25 games bringing in 128 tackles with 12.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 recoveries.
His career was paused at the beginning of the 2022 season when he sustained a lower leg injury in the first game which kept him out for several weeks. He played 7 games to end the season and had just 17 tackles as he lost playing time due to his lingering injury.
With his injury situation, Gainer decided to return to college for his fifth season but hit the transfer portal to head to UNC. He recovered from his injuries and was 100% healthy going into this season.
Gainer’s game is defined by speed and quickness from the linebacker position. He’s a coverage linebacker who plays high end zone defense but uses his speed to get around the edge and go after the quarterback. Gainer’s burst off the outside makes him difficult to deal with on the edge for slower offensive linemen. Gainer’s height of 6’4” is slightly above average for linebackers in the NFL, but his “strength is his weakness,” and he may struggle against more powerful linemen at the next level. He needs to add some muscle to his frame before making the leap to the league.
In the running game, Gainer is not always aware of the direction of plays and struggles to make the right reads. In part, this is due to his undisciplined play. He plays aggressive and fast, but sometimes too fast. At times, he can be reckless and can overrun or over pursue certain plays.
- Zone Coverage
- Run Awareness
Amari Gainer is a fast, explosive linebacker that presents an interesting skill set. He is at his best in passing situations where he can use his length and speed to play zone coverage or use his quickness and pursuit off the edge to attack the QB. His style of play may lead him to be overaggressive at times, but his athletic ability cannot be ignored.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 4th or 5th round.