by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Rock M Nation.
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 - Missouri, Linebacker, Ty’Ron Hopper
Name- Ty’Ron Hopper
HT/WT- 6’2” 221 lbs.
Home – Shelby, NC
Ty’Ron Hopper attended Roswell High School in North Carolina. While at Roswell, he racked up 193 tackles, 7 sacks and 7 interceptions and was considered one of the top linebackers in North Carolina. He started his career as a safety but as he grew, he moved into the linebacker position. After playing in the 2019 All-American Bowl, Hopper committed to the University of Florida over several other offers.
Hopper spent his true freshman season playing mostly on special teams for the Gators and finished with just 2 tackles. In 2020, he started to see the field more and saw action in 11 games for Florida. He spent time as a reserve linebacker and collected 13 tackles and 0.5 sacks.
Hopper played in all 13 games, starting 4 in 2021 and saw his production rise with the playing time. He tallied 62 tackles, 8.0 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. After the season ended, he decided to enter the transfer portal and elected to play football at Missouri.
Last season for Missouri, he started 12 out of the 13 games and had his most productive season of his college career. He made plays all over the field and ended the season with 77 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception. For his performance, he was named to the All-SEC second team.
Coming into this season, Hopper was named a preseason 3rd-team All-American by Athlon Sports. He once again had a productive season for the Tigers, collecting 55 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss and 3 sacks in 10 starts.
Ty’Ron Hopper is a fluid athlete who has the athleticism to succeed in coverage. He has good agility and sideline to sideline speed, never being out of the play with his hustle. When blitzing, he has a knack for finding the right gap and his closing burst stands out in this class. He is a hard hitter in a safety’s body and can hunt down running backs behind the line of scrimmage. He is always around the ball and has a penchant for knowing when to get his long arms in the way of passes.
On the downside, Hopper is a “tweener”—a hybrid linebacker that is starting to make its way into the NFL. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a team will definitely have to find the right scheme to get him involved. He struggles when grappling with larger offensive lineman and needs to do a better job of using his hands to shed blocks. He does a good job chasing down the ball carrier but is only average in his mechanics in tackling. He will grab and pull a runner instead of hitting and wrapping up, leaving missed tackles on the field. He is still raw in pass coverage, but has all the tools to do this sufficiently with more work.
Ty’Ron Hopper reminds Draft 412 of former 1st round pick Isaiah Simmons. Simmons, was selected 8th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Clemson and has already been moved from linebacker to safety this season with the Giants. They both have elite speed and can make tackles sideline to sideline. Though Simmons is a little taller than Hopper, they both play the game the same way at the same speed. Hopper will not go in the first round but will be a player who could make his mark in the right situation.
Sideline to sideline
Explosive 1st step
Limited pass rush
Ty’Ron Hopper is one of the best athletes coming out in this linebacker class. He is not a run of the mill linebacker and will need to find the right scheme to be effective in. He has the speed and footwork to eventually play some strong safety as well, which will help his overall draft stock.
Draft 412 Projection- 4th or 5th round