Earlier today the Arizona Cardinals cut 2008 free agent signee Travis LaBoy. The move was due in large part due to the the injury problems LaBoy has faced ever since being drafted by Tennessee. It's interesting because the Cardinals are willingly taking a decent sized cap hit in releasing a very talented player.
LaBoy played defensive end for the Cardinals, but his size could put him in position to be a 3-4 outside linebacker. Maybe it wouldn't work, but I figured I'd bring it up for discussion. So, should the 49ers look at Travis LaBoy as a possible pass rush specialist? He's recovering from a torn bicep that would keep him out of most pre-training camp workouts. If he waits until close to camp, maybe it's worth kicking the tires.
A look at LaBoy's ESPN scouting report seems to indicate a player who could fit in as a pass rush specialist in the 49ers 3-4, and also their 4-3 nickel as a defensive end:
He lacks the upper-body strength to control and shed blockers and can get engulfed by big offensive tackles. He has a tendency to play out of control and can whiff in space when trying to tackle. As a pass rusher he can be explosive off the ball and has started to develop some counter moves to go with his speed. He can burst off the block to pressure the quarterback once he gets free and has the speed to chase things down from behind. He has become pretty one-dimensional in his play and would really struggle if asked to play both the run as well as rush the passer.
The 49ers have plenty of cap space (don't have the exact dollar figure) so maybe this is a move worth considering. If you don't think LaBoy could work in the 3-4, feel free to say so. If he could work in the 3-4, one other interesting tidbit: LaBoy is represented by Octagon Football, based out here in the Bay Area, in Walnut Creek. Not a huge reason for him to come to the 49ers (or even the Raiders), but one more thing to consider.
So, what do you think? Given the injuries, should the 49ers look into Travis LaBoy? A possible situational pass rush threat?