Chasing his professional dreams has been a long and winding road for Husky star Azeem Victor.
NFL Draft Profile Summary
Name: Azeem Victor
Measure: 6’2”, 240 lbs
40 yard dash: 4.72 secs
Bench Press: 19 reps
Vertical Jump: 32.5”
Broad Jump: 9’ 7”
3 Cone: 7.2 secs
Pros: Run stopping, pursuit speed, drop-back zone coverage, football acumen
Cons: Pass rush, off-the-field concerns
The former All-PAC 12 linebacker has seen his NFL draft stock rise and fall with every step forward and backward he has experienced throughout his college career. Now the question on everybody’s mind is just what version of Azeem the NFL is going to get.
At his best, Azeem is a middle-of-the-defense enforcer who plays the game with a rare combination of physicality, mental astuteness, and barely controlled fury. At his lowest of moments, he’s been labeled injury-prone, out-of-shape, and susceptible to bad judgement off the field.
Azeem goes into this week’s NFL draft hopeful that the best version of himself will resonate with a team looking to draft a high-value, back-of-the-draft linebacker who has starter-level upside. But the odds of that are 50-50.
Before his senior season, when Azeem made the decision to come back to Washington after considering an early declaration, NFL scouts were salivating over the UW linebacker. He was flourishing in DC Pete Kwiatkowski’s system as a run-stopper and field general. His hustle was never questioned as he developed a reputation for being the kind of guy who could just as easily take on an offensive guard in the hole as chase down a 4.4 running back on a sideline-to-sideline chase. Even with the major injury that he suffered against USC in 2016, Victor still recorded 67 tackles following up on a sophomore campaign where he racked up 95.
But the wheels came off the bus in 2017. Victor struggled to come back from that injury. Once he did, he saw his job had been taken by emerging star Ben Burr-Kirven. Victor struggled to get into shape and was experimented in the role of an edge-rusher to little avail. Azeem finished his senior campaign with just 30 tackles and two sacks to show.
Off the field is where Azeem has both shined and struggled. Questions related to issues with alcohol and overall judgement have been raised after a tumultuous senior year. Victor was suspended twice last season, including once for a DUI.
On the other hand, Azeem has shown remarkable character both in how he attacked his academics - going from a struggling Compton-raised high school senior to a four-year college graduate - and in starting an at-risk youth foundation known as Azeem’s Dream to help struggling middle schoolers chart a path to college.
Victor projects as an inside linebacker in the NFL. He helped himself during the NFL Scouting Combine where he recorded a 4.72 40-yard dash and 19 reps on the 225-lb bench press. Those kinds of numbers suggest that his overall athleticism is NFL caliber and that he has gotten himself back into good overall shape.
Based on my survey of various scouting services, Azeem appears to be a good bet to get drafted somewhere between the 6th and 7th round. If off-the-field concerns keep him from being drafted, he’ll almost certainly get a chance as an undrafted free agent.
Prediction: 6th round pick