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« Multisport »
 »This Week in History

Name: A.J. Klein 
College: Iowa State     Number: 47
Height: 6-1   Weight: 250
Position: ILB  Pos2: OLB
Class/Draft Year: Sr/2013

40 Time: 4.66

Projected Round: 3-4
     Stock: 
Rated number 4 out of 131 ILB's      109 / 2429 TOTAL
Combine Invite: 
Height: 6012
Weight: 250
40 Yrd Dash: 4.66
20 Yrd Dash: 2.69
10 Yrd Dash: 1.60
Wonderlic: 
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 20
Vertical Jump: 
Broad Jump: 09'05"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 
3-Cone Drill: 

Dates: 03/26/13
Height: 6012
Weight: 250
40 Yrd Dash: 
20 Yrd Dash: 
10 Yrd Dash: 
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 24
Vertical Jump: 33
Broad Jump: 
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.35
3-Cone Drill: 7.06

 Overview

  Paired with outside linebacker Jake Knott, Klein made up half of arguably the top linebacker tandem in the nation over the past couple of seasons. Klein's terrific play didn't end in Ames, however. A solid performance at the East-West Shrine Game might have teams wondering if the highly instinctive playmaker can enjoy similar production in the NFL.

Klein was a three-star recruit out of Wisconsin, but didn't receive an offer from the Badgers and accepted a scholarship from the Cyclones.

After limited playing time as a freshman in 2009, he became a starter in 2010 and was quickly a standout, registering 111 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss and three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. He followed that up two more remarkably statistically-similar campaigns, averaging 116.5 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and another interception, each of which he returned for a score. Characterized by many throughout his career as lacking athleticism, Klein leaves Iowa State having tied the FBS record with four touchdowns scored off of interception returns.

Named a consensus All-Big 12 player in 2012 and the co-Defensive Player of the Year out of the conference (along with Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander) in 2011, Klein has proved himself to be among the more consistent and dependable linebackers in the country. While he may not possess the ideal timed speed or change of direction of his peers, he's fast on the field due to terrific instincts and effort.

As such, don't be among those "surprised" when his success continues in the NFL, even if he winds up being drafted later than his production would seem to warrant.


 Analysis

  Strengths
Excellent key and diagnosis skills. Reads the action and gets a jump-start, often beating blockers to the ball. Better than advertised speed to the flanks and in pursuit downfield and is a quick accelerator, able to slip through gaps to make plays at the line ofscrimmage. Scrapes the edge nicely, showing good balance and flexibility to dip under the reach of offensive linemen, turn quickly and close on the ball. Technically sound defender who extends his arms and delivers a blow to separate from would-be blockers before they have a chance to latch on. Reliable open-field tackler. Breaks down well and has the patience to wait for the ball-carrier to commit before making the secure wrap-up tackle. Alert in zone coverage. Reads the quarterback's eyes and shows a good understanding of route-development as well as the burst to close on the ball. Good ball skills. Shows some vision to set up blocks on the return and surprising open field running skills. Passionate defender who was voted a team captain as a junior and senior.

Weaknesses
Could be viewed by some as a bit of a 'tweener as he lacks ideal athleticism for the outside and does not take on and shed blocks as well as preferred to remain inside. Usually has to give ground to release from blocks once his opponents get their hands into his chest. Is not a physically intimidating striker, though he is a reliable tackler. Does not possess ideal fluidity for man to man coverage in the NFL.

Compares To: James Laurinaitis, ILB, St. Louis Rams

--Rob Rang


 Career Notes

  Phil Steele's College Football Preview 2012 first-team All-Big 12 and fourth-team All-American ... 2012 Lindy's preseason first-team All-Big 12 and second-team All-American ... 2012 Athlon Sports preseason first-team All-Big 12 ... USA Today first-team All-Big 12 ... 2011 Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year ... 2011 first-team All-Big 12 (coaches) ... 2011 second-team All-Big 12 (AP) ... Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (Nov. 21, 2011) ... 2011 Pete Taylor MVP Award ... 2010 Honorable mention All-Big 12 (AP, Coaches) ... First-team Academic All-Big 12 (2010, 2011) ... Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (F09, S10, S11, F11) ... Scholar Athlete (2012).

 2012 Season

  Klein leads Iowa State with 98 tackles this season. He enters the Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. with 342 career tackles and 19 tackles for loss. His four career interception returns for touchdowns equal the NCAA record for linebackers. Klein was a first-team selection by the Big 12 coaches and second-team choice by the conference's coaches last season. The 2011 Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches earned honorable mention honors for that award this season. Klein was an honorable mention choice on the AP team in 2010.

 2011 Season

  Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year ... earned first-team All-Big 12 honors from the coaches and second-team all-conference from The Associated Press ... earned Iowa State's Peter Taylor MVP Award recipient ... started all 13 games ... led Iowa State with 116 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss ... finished second in the Big 12 and tied for 45th nationally in tackles ... broke up six passes, had two sacks and grabbed an interception as well ... had five games with at least 10 tackles ... up to 12 career games with double-figures in tackles ... enters senior season with 244 career tackles, including 16.5 for a loss ... led Iowa State with 14 tackles, one for loss, in win over Oklahoma State ... tied a career-high with 15 tackles against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl ... recorded Iowa State's longest play from scrimmage, returning an interception 78 yards for a touchdown at Missouri, the longest interception return in the Big 12 in 2011 ... return touchdown was third of his career, which makes him Iowa State's all-time leader in interception returns for touchdowns and ties him with former defensive tackle Brent Curvey (2003-06) for Iowa State's most career defensive touchdowns (three) ... also recorded 12 tackles, 1.5 for loss, against the Tigers ... also posted 12 tackles at Oklahoma ... finished with 10 tackles against Texas A&M ... posted sacks vs. Baylor and Kansas.

 2010 Season

  Earned honorable mention All-Big 12 Conference honors ... averaged 9.25 tackles per game, ranking him fifth in the Big 12 in that category ... made 13 tackles against Oklahoma ...had 10 stops against Kansas State and returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown ... returned a pick 25 yards for a touchdown the following week against UNI to become the first Iowa Stater to return interceptions to the house in consecutive games since 1996 ... led the Cyclones with 11 tackles, including one for a loss, at Iowa ... made auspicious performance in first career start, making career-high 15 tackles, one for a 3-yard loss against Northern Illinois.

 2009 Season

  Played in every game as a true freshman ... finished season with 17 tackles ... also caused and recovered a fumble ... had four tackles at Nebraska.

 High School

  Sixth-ranked prospect in Wisconsin ... chose Iowa State over Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Wyoming ... 86th-rated outside linebacker ... high school team went 37-1 during his career ... led team to back-to-back Division II state championships in his final two seasons ... 121 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a senior ... career included 287 tackles, 17 sacks, two interceptions ... returned one interception for a touchdown ... five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries ... two-time FVA Conference Linebacker of the Year and FVA Conference Defensive Player of the Year ... WFCA first-team all-state as a senior ... Inside Wisconsin Sports magazine's Defensive Player of the Year ... team captain as a junior and senior ... coached by Steve Jorgensen ... also lettered in track and field ... four-year member of the honor roll.

 Personal

  Born July 30, 1991 in Appleton, Wis. ... parents are Jean and Leonard Klein ... kinesiology - physical therapy major ... cousin Aron Klein played football at Iowa.

 
 Draft Scout Player News
10/19/14 - LB A.J. Klein got the start with LB Chase Blackburn out. Klein, a native of Kimberly, Wis., which is located about a half-hour from Lambeau Field, entered the game ranked fifth on the team with 23 tackles. He had three tackles against the Packers, including two for losses late in the game.
09/29/14 - LB A.J. Klein, who took the bulk of Davis's snaps, had a career-high seven tackles.
09/08/14 - LB A.J. Klein started ahead of Chase Blackburn on the strongside, but neither played much in the Panthers nickel-heavy defense. Klein had 14 snaps while Blackburn was in for only two.
12/02/13 - LB A.J. Klein, making his fourth straight start, picked up his second career sack and added three tackles for a loss.
11/11/13 - --LB A.J. Klein, a 5th round pick in April's draft, had five tackles and a sack in his 1st career start.

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