Biography: Two-year starter awarded all-conference honors as a senior with totals of 76 tackles/14.5 tackles for loss/3.5 sacks, three interceptions and five pass breakups. Junior totals included 75/10.5/4.5 with one interception and three passes broken up.
Positives: Fluid, athletic weak side linebacker prospect who makes plays sideline to sideline. Breaks down well, displays good quickness and fires up the field in run defense. Moves well laterally getting to the sidelines and shows ability in pursuit. Explosive at the point, possesses a good closing burst and shows skill in coverage. Remains disciplined with assignments, gets depth on pass drops and fluidly pedals in reverse. Uses his hands to protect himself, rarely off his feet and possesses better than average instincts. Plays with an aggressive nature, fills the right holes in run defense and attacks ballcarriers. Effectively diagnoses the action and does not back down to challenge.
Negatives: Does not consistently take proper angles to the action. Not a strong wrap-up tackler. Lacks bulk, easily blocked from the action and struggles getting through the trash.
Analysis: Manning was a productive linebacker at North Carolina State and presented himself as a three-down defender with a complete game. He's a tough run defender who can also stay with tight ends downfield to defend passes. Slightly underrated entering the draft, Manning is a last-day pick who could eventually develop into a starter two seasons down the road.
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