Birthday: April 16, 1982
Strengths: Cerebral middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma is the field general of the Miami defense. He is extremely efficient, rarely making mental errors and seemingly always taking the right angle and putting himself in the right place. The coaches signal in the defensive call before each play, then Vilma takes over and adjusts his teammates based upon the offense’s formation, personnel package, and any tendencies that he may have picked up while studying film of the opponent.
Vilma was at his best last year in Miami’s 28-27 win against Florida State. He racked up 20 tackles, including a dozen solos and one behind the line, as well as a fumble recovery.
Vilma is only an average athlete by NFL standards, although he runs fairly well for an inside linebacker. He is known primarily for his intelligence, but Vilma is also a physical player capable of delivering big hits.
Areas of Concern: At less than 220 lbs., Vilma lacks the size and strength to take on blockers. He benefits from playing behind a great set of defensive tackles (including last year’s first-rounder William Joseph and future first-rounder Vince Wilfork) that keep him clean and free to pursue the football. He makes a lot of tackles, but very few come behind the line of scrimmage.
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? Dom Capers and Vic Fangio had great success in New Orleans and Carolina with an undersized inside linebacker who had a knack for putting himself in position to make the play. While Vilma may not be the next Sam Mills, he should not be downgraded too severely due to his lack of size. History has shown that physical stature tends to be an overrated attribute for inside linebackers.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca
Jonathan Vilma’s 2002 Stats G TCK TFL SACK FF FR INT 14 122 23.5 10.5 1 3 2
Jonathan Vilma Return to The War Room
Click on a player’s name to preview other top ILB prospects: