A Prospect A Day: Running Backs, Derrick Henry Scouting Report

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

6’3 238

Tape Viewed: 2014 vs. Michigan, 2015 vs. Ole Miss, 2015 vs. Georgia, 2015 vs. Wisconsin


A true volume runner, Henry runs with a purpose and has very solid pad level and gets more effective as the game goes on. This is especially shown in the Georgia game where the defense is clearly fired up to stop him and even forces a fumble early.

He seems to take it as a challenge and just becomes impossible to bring down with less than three men as the game goes on. He’s an adequate pass catcher but was a limited route runner in the Alabama offense.

He shows solid top-end speed coming downhill as a runner and excels as a one-cut specialist. When he gets up to speed, he’s difficult to bring down but he’s not sudden or quick from a flat start and doesn’t maintain speed laterally at an elite level.

He is a brilliant pass protector, and an adequate lead blocker. Benefited from excellent blocks on most of his long runs and could struggle without support at the next level.


Speed: 3 out of 5

Henry can get going downhill, shown on two long runs against Wisconsin, but it’s more dependent on the blocking to get him to the second level where safeties are usually already in the box to stop him. His top speed would be average in the NFL and slightly above-average burst.

Power: 4 out of 5

He runs angry, for sure. But has more finesse to his game than you’d expect for a man his size. Still, he can hit like a ton of bricks, this especially shows up later in games.

Field Vision: 11 out of 15

While he does a nice job working off blocks, rarely does his ability to read the field jump off of tape. The creases he runs through are fairly obvious and he doesn’t really use the width of the field, preferring straight-line running. This likely limits some of his gains.

Balance: 8 out of 10

While Henry can usually maintain his balance through arm tackles, he can get tripped up easily in the open field. He shows elite balance when bending around the edge.

Break Tackle: 7 out of 10

Henry needs to learn to use his size in this aspect, he should be able to break far more tackles than he does. It’s very good compared to most backs but he should not be brought down in the open-field or hammered at the line one-on-one and he was, at least a few times in the Georgia game.

Moves: 3 out of 5

Uses the juke and stiff arm well, had a half-spin that gained him some extra yards. None of his moves are terribly impressive and he mostly relies on burst and power to gain yards.

Run blocking: 3 out of 5

He’s an adequate lead blocker, but no blocks really stood out on tape as helping spring an offensive player.


Route running: 3 out of 5

On tape, I saw Henry run 5 screens and a swing pass. He does a really nice job selling the block and whipping around on the screen. The swing was all right but he didn’t find the open space. Not much to see here. He should be adequate.

Hands: 8 out of 10

In 6 passes, he had one drop. The drop was more the result of a lack of concentration than anything else.

Run after catch: 3 out of 5

On the screens, he shows surprising wiggle to make defenders miss, there’s just not enough data to project much better.

Blocking: 2 out of 5

Looks lackadaisical at times and on a few plays would have been burned if the play had shifted back to his side, he takes plays off when he doesn’t expect the ball.


Technique: 5 out of 5

Henry gets solid pad level, squares up and pops with authority. He’s rarely out-leveraged and also has a really effective cut block.

Effectiveness: 5 out of 5

He never gives up sacks and rarely gives up pressure.

Potential: 10 out of 10

Has the frame and mean streak to be dominant in this aspect for as long as he plays in the pros.


NFL Comparison: James Starks, RB, Packers

StarksHenry 1










There are really no perfect comparisons for Henry in the NFL. He’s an uncommon specimen at his size but he and Starks are long one-cut runners who have good burst and run with power. They use field vision to set up blocks in the short area and accelerate into the secondary. Both are adequate pass catchers and Starks has shown he’s a solid volume runner when he’s had opportunities to start over Eddie Lacy.

A Prospect A Day: Running Backs, Ezekiel Elliott Scouting Report

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

6’0 225 lbs

Tape Viewed: 2014 vs. Michigan, 2014 vs. Wisconsin, 2015 vs. Virginia Tech, 2015 vs. Oregon


Ohio State plays Indiana at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, November 22, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.


Elliott possesses rare burst through the crease. He shoots through the line like a rocket into the secondary and can change direction laterally without losing speed. Benefited from running out of a spread, he’s an excellent run blocker that was used often in this capacity and also has the ability to receive out of the backfield.

What makes Elliott special is his mix of speed, field vision and balance, he uses these three traits to get to the secondary, and bust through arm tackles to finish for touchdowns more often than most.

Elliott has some strange lapses in concentration on tape, resulting in fumbles but they show up rarely and are likely the result of youth and slight inexperience. He is a very impressive prospect with a compact frame that could maybe stand to add a little bit of muscle weight in his legs.

Already a brilliant prospect in 2014, he upped nearly every facet of his game this past season and put an exclamation point on it by rushing for 149 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame.




Speed: 5 out of 5

Elliott may not put up a blazing 40 time, but his burst is rare and he has the speed to run away from defensive backs, while never losing it when moving laterally.


Elliott Burst speed

Outrunning the highly talented and athletic Alabama defense is nothing to sniff at. Elliott really burst onto the national scene with this dominating performance on the big stage.


Power: 3 out of 5

He rarely lowers his shoulders for trucking moves, but he’s definitely a load to bring down and runs with a physical presence.


Field Vision: 14 out of 15

Perhaps the best aspect of Elliott’s game, he works off excellent blocking from his lineman but rarely fails to find the crease when it’s there. On his long touchdown runs, this ability really shows as he dances through lanes deep into the secondary, easily transitioning from lateral to vertical movement.


Elliott burst, field vision, elusiveness

Giv via SB Nation. Elliott shows his graceful dance through Oregon’s secondary for a long touchdown. He sets up the block by WR Michael Thomas (3) and uses burst to get through the crease.


Balance: 10 out of 10

Had some brilliant moments on tape, including maintaining balance to burst for 2 more yards and a touchdown against Michigan, he shows rare ability in this aspect.

Elliott balance

After being tripped up, Elliott regains his balance almost immediately to burst up-field, turning a loss into a gain.


Break Tackle: 7 out of 10

Rarely goes down on first contact, but can get blown up one-on-one.


Elliott Break Tackle

Gif via SB Nation. Busts right through the tackle to walk into the end-zone, despite the tackler squaring up and getting low.


Moves: 3 out of 5

Has a nice juke and hurdle but rarely, if ever, uses a spin or truck.


Run blocking: 5 out of 5

Really nice lead block to spring QB Cardale Jones for a TD against Oregon. He has very good awareness of how a play develops and uses that mixed with tenacity to be a force in the run game even without the ball.



Route running: 4 out of 5

There isn’t a lot of data here, but he looks to be a fine route runner who could develop at the next level.


Hands: 8 out of 10

One drop on tape. As long as he’s focused, he’s reliable as a receiver out of the backfield.


Run after catch: 3 out of 5

A natural athlete in the open field, can make a play when there’s cushion, but lacks elite wiggle to get away when the defense is a little tighter.


Elliott hands

Elliott runs a nice little swing, creating the necessary cushion, completes the catch and gets up-field for the touchdown, bursting through a tackle and finishing forward.


Blocking: 4 out of 5

Much like his ability in the run game, when asked to block for receiver’s downfield, he’s willing and able. Came back from ten yards downfield to spring WR Braxton Miller for a touchdown against Virginia Tech



Technique: 4 out of 5

Squares up well and has solid pad level but can get lazy with his feet causing him to lose balance when someone comes at him with a bull rush.


Effectiveness: 4 out of 5

Bowled over by current-Packers linebacker Jake Ryan, nearly gives up safety to Oregon DE Gus Cumberlander. Other than that, Elliot is very stout in pass protection, he did not give up a sack on tape.


Elliot pass blocking

Elliott helps pick up the rusher as he bursts by the blocking tight end on Jones’ blindside. It’s not always pretty, but Elliott gets the job done in pass protection.


Potential: 8 out of 10

Looks like this could be a strength to his game at the next level, I don’t think he’ll be elite but neither do I think he’ll ever be a detriment in this area.



NFL Comparison: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers

BellElliott 1











No real weak points in their respective games. Elliott and Bell share incredible burst to pull away from defenders and the field vision to find those lanes and creases. Bell is a more accomplished pass catcher but Elliott has shown all the ability to develop in that role. Both are three-down backs that should never come off the field.


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Senior Bowl: On Defensive Stats

I noticed that it was somewhat difficult to find defensive stats for the senior bowl so I went through looking for sacks in the play-by-play. This is what I found:

TOP PERFORMER: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor


2 sacks, 1 forced fumble


Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech


1 sack, 1 forced fumble


Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky


1 sack


Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame


1 sack


Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State


1 sack

Also, on recommendation, I went a little deeper into the game and scoured what film I could gather to find some more defensive information:

  • There were no interceptions in the game. No turnovers at all. Each of the forced fumbles were recovered by the offense.
  • Jalen Mills, LSU FS, was playing corner in the game and had two PBU’s one of Ohio State receiver Braxton Miller on a slant and another against a low backshoulder throw. Showed great instincts and closing speed on both.
  • I also saw Alabama corner Cyrus Jones get way too physical and get penalized in the endzone for a pass interference. He never even turned his head. He’ll get burned for that at the next level.
  • Jake Ganus, Georgia Linebacker, got beat by Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett for a 29 yard pass from North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz. Ganus was in zone and also came up with the tackle.
  • Northern Iowa’s Deiondre’ Hall, playing corner, gave too much cushion on a 12 yard comeback from Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott to South East Missouri State receiver Paul McRoberts. Hall made the tackle.
  • Prescott found McRoberts again in the endzone for a 5 yard touchdown, Hall had primary coverage and Utah inside linebacker Jared Norris attempted to jump the route but just missed.
  • In the second half, USC QB Cody Kessler found North Western State of Louisiana receiver Ed Eagan for 23 yards. Okahoma outside linebacker Eric Striker had the underneath coverage and South Eastern Louisiana corner Harlan Miller had the bracket over the top. Miller forced Eagan out of bounds.
  • Hargrave and Alabama DL Jarran Reed got blown off the spot for the Kessler qb sneak touchdown.
  • Arkansas QB Brandon Allen found Kansas State H-back Glenn Gronkowski alone for a 32 yard gain. Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert had the underneath zone, West Virginia’s K.J. Dillon was one of the deep safeties and missed the tackle. Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell was the other deep man and made the tackle.
  • Alabama running back Kenyan Drake beat Utah defensive end Jason Fanaika to the edge on a pitch for a one yard touchdown
  • On the hail mary, Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel found Michigan State receiver Aaron Burbidge for a 26 yard touchdown in front of several defenders at the end of the play. The closest defenders to making the play were Auburn corner Jonathan Jones and William and Mary safety Deandre Houston-Carson.

A Prospect A Day: Quarterbacks, Christian Hackenberg Scouting Report

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

6’4 234 lbs

Christian Hackenberg

Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) throws a pass to Penn State wide receiver Richy Anderson (19) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Eastern Michigan in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. Penn State won 45-7. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)


Looks like he’s in the wrong system at Penn State. Has the mechanics of a pocket passer in a pro offense. He has functional arm strength and average athleticism, he can throw dimes into tight windows but misses more often than he should for a potential starter in the pros.

He has strong pocket presence when’s he’s actually able to step into his pocket but he lacks talent around him and is forced to do too much to play comfortably for Penn State.

The pressure he feels to make a play is evident, especially in his ball placement, and because of this he’ll miss a throw attempting to lead his players into the open field. Part of that is his receivers’ inability to make the play for him, but he can also miss easy passes.


Accuracy: 4 out of 5

His accuracy is only a small issue and he has the ability to place balls in perfect locations. He must improve his consistency but he’s well above average for a quarterback coming out of college.

Power: 3 out of 5

His arm is functional enough to throw the route tree but doesn’t blow you away on any given throw. Has the velocity to reach its mark on time most of the time.

On the run: 4 out of 5

Many of Hackenberg’s most brilliant throws on tape were on the run. He impresses greatly in this area but takes few risks.

Consistency: 4 out of 5

He’s a guy that can have a bad game and still look about the same as in his good games. He’s still a fairly accurate pocket passer with some mobility that makes some questionable decisions. Whether or not a good defense burns him for his mistakes typically determines what type of game he has.

Field vision: 4 out of 5

Shows more ability in this aspect than most in quarterbacks in this draft, Hackenberg is patient but efficient working through his reads to find an open man and will only take off when there’s nothing down field.

Athleticism: 3 out of 5

Hackenberg doesn’t scramble a lot, but he’s certainly not the statue in the pocket some are making him out to be. He can scramble for first downs when there’s room.

Pocket awareness: 4 out of 5

Being in a spread, he doesn’t work in a traditional pocket often, but he looks natural when he does.

Poise: 3 out of 5

Hackenberg can remain steady in pressure situations but he’s clearly rattled when he gets hit a lot. He will stop trusting his protection, get happy feet and start forcing passes, especially when down by a large deficit.

Clutch: 4 out of 5

In close games at the end, Hackenberg remains cool and rarely makes the game ending mistake. He projects well in this aspect for the next level.

Size: 5 out of 5

Has nice height and his weight is well-distributed.


NFL Comparison: Kyle Orton, QB, Retired


hackenberg 1









Lacks a special NFL arm but makes up for it by throwing an accurate ball and making mostly good decisions. Orton and Hackenberg have very similar physical dimensions and both are adequate runners that allow the full range of the playbook (rollouts, bootlegs)

A Prospect A Day: Quarterbacks, Connor Cook Scouting Report

Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

6’4 218 lbs

Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Michigan State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 07: Quarterback Connor Cook #18 of the Michigan State Spartans looks to pass against the defense of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Big Ten Conference Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


Really improved his game and helped his draft stock in the 2015 season. He has a lot of what teams look for at the position: live arm, deep ball accuracy, solid mechanics, excellent pocket presence and footwork, and functional athleticism.

However, Cook suffers with decision making, especially when his first read is covered. He has a bad tendency to predetermine throws and go through with them even when they’re covered.

This is on perfect display against Alabama in the CFB semifinals when corner Cyrus Jones intercepts his pass intended for receiver Aaron Burbidge. Cook also struggles with consistent ball placement and too often forces his receivers to adjust to his throws.

He’s not a phenomenal athlete and doesn’t have a natural feel in the run game, but he can scramble when there are large enough lanes. He led his team to a lot of success in his time as a starter at Michigan State but he must improve in certain areas if he’s going to be viable as a starter on the next level.

Right now, the Alabama game is a good example of all of his weaknesses coming to a head. He doesn’t look ready to start in the NFL.


Accuracy: 3 out of 5

Tends to throw high or wide, indicating he’s manufacturing arm strength. This further evidenced whenever he drives a ball right into the turf. He makes some brilliantly placed throws but doesn’t do it with any consistency.

Power: 3 out of 5

While he has a gorgeous deep ball, he allows shorter passes to wobble and doesn’t make the big-time velocity throws you see from Lynch or Wentz in this draft class.

On the run: 4 out of 5

A natural thrower on the run, there’s very little difference than when he’s throwing from a clean pocket from a ball placement standpoint.

Consistency: 3 out of 5

Cook can turn it on, and he can make some bone-headed mistakes, but he’s almost always a high percentage passer that prefers to take what defenses give him.

Field vision: 3 out of 5

Has shown ability to work through progressions but forgets that ability in pressure situations, when he does, it’s more mechanical and less fluid.

Athleticism: 4 out of 5

Not a natural runner, but a natural athlete, he can move quickly and has very good balance and body control.

Pocket awareness: 5 out of 5

Though there are a couple of poor plays on tape, he does an excellent job of climbing the pocket and moving around to avoid pressure. His feet are quick and his mechanics are sound.

Poise: 2 out of 5

Probably my biggest issue with Cook is his tendency to get tight with his mechanics and decision making at times. It’s not always late in the game either. But you can really tell when he feels the pressure to make a play.

Clutch: 4 out of 5

Despite his lack of poise at times, he’s a strong finisher in the tape I reviewed. He has plenty of late game heroics in his winning career at Michigan State and is able to engineer a game-winning drive when called upon.

Size: 5 out of 5

Cook has the height you want, and passes the eye test. A small amount of muscle could be added to his legs but he’s fairly prototypical.


NFL Comparison: Shaun Hill, QB, Vikings

NFL: Preseason-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

Wyoming v Michigan State











Hill and Cook share clean mechanics, size, functional athleticism and strong deep accuracy. Hill is a slightly better decision maker and Cook has a slightly better deep ball but the two are very similar as prospects.

A Prospect A Day: Quarterbacks, Jared Goff Scouting Report

Jared Goff, QB, Cal

6’4 215 lbs

Jared Goff, Dylan Wynn

California quarterback Jared Goff (16) scrambles out of the pocket from Oregon State defensive end Dylan Wynn (45) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)


Poise and moxie in abundance. Can miss throws high, low and wide, most common when trying to compensate for his lack of a rocket arm.

Has adequate arm strength for a standard NFL route tree, accuracy is solid and can fit into tight spots. Ideal size and play strength, decent athleticism and average pocket awareness.

Struggles with accuracy when throwing on the run, will make questionable decisions, but only once or twice a game. Will sometimes force to his first read, even if he isn’t open.


Throw Accuracy: 4 out of 5

Can miss in all ways, but fits into tight windows better than most quarterbacks coming out of college on a given year.

Throw Power: 3 out of 5

Can unload the deep ball with the best of them, but doesn’t do it consistently, also has to manufacture power on deep outs from the opposite hash.

On the run: 2 out of 5

Accuracy really suffers on the run. A couple of nice plays on tape, but more bad than good.

Consistency: 4 out of 5

You get what you get from Goff, he rarely has an awful game and fairly steadily brings his best from the moment he steps on the field.

Field vision: 4 out of 5

Reads defenses as well as anyone in this draft and very often identifies the open man.

Athleticism: 3 out of 5

Can outrun defensive lineman to the edge if needed, scrambles for first downs when lanes are open.

Pocket awareness: 3 out of 5

Can sometimes be blind-sided, but slides around and steps in the pocket more often than not.

Poise: 5 out of 5

No moment is too big for Goff. He doesn’t seem to have a stressed bone in his body, and he often elevates his play against higher competition.

Clutch: 5 out of 5

He’s a guy who can engineer the miracle drive at the end of the game, or the three possession comeback out of halftime.

Size: 4 out of 5

Goff has the look, makeup and build of the modern day NFL quarterback. Could stand to put a little more weight on.


NFL Comparison: Matt Cassel, QB, Dallas Cowboys










Both have prototypical size for the position and more accuracy than arm strength. Both Goff and Cassel remain poised in all game situations, can use their legs if needed and can routinely fit balls into tight windows.

A Prospect A Day: 4-3 Defensive Ends, Robert Nkemdiche Scouting Report

Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss

6’5 293 lbs



Height, weight, speed is impressive. Looks like a much smaller man, built very well. Impressive burst upfield, good array of pass rush moves.

Heavy penetrator but not very patient, can take himself out of plays and does often. Comparable against the run versus pass, probably a better pass rusher though. Can get washed out by double teams and beaten by talent one-on-one.

Plays like a much smaller man and needs to learn to use his size to dominate, that comes with understanding of pad level. He uses swim, rip, spin and can slide through double teams with ease when pass rushing. He’s also as sure a tackler as there is in this draft.


Technique: 4 out of 5

Nkemdiche is an impressive technician, using a wide array of moves to work his way to the quarterback. His rip and swim moves are his best, but he uses the spin move better than most. He has the balance to get around the edge but the bend is still being developed.

Effectiveness: 3 out of 5

His sack numbers were low, but rushing from primarily the DT spot limited his opportunities. On tape, he’s a consistent presence in disrupting the quarterback and forcing the ball out quicker.

Potential: 5 out of 5

With his impressive size, athleticism and pass rush moves, there’s no reason to believe Nkemdiche couldn’t evolve into one of the NFL’s most dangerous rushers on the edge of a 4-3.


Technique: 3 out of 5

While he’s effective at clogging gaps and disengaging from blockers, he gets washed out by double teams due to poor pad level. He slides between linemen with more grace than most, though.

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5

His tackle numbers are fairly on par for the position and amount of games (11) he played in 2015. But what really impresses is Nkemdiche’s ability to wrap up and bring down the ball carrier by himself in space.

Potential: 4 out of 5

The one thing that keeps Nkemdiche from being an elite prospect against the run on the edge is his finesse nature as a player. He doesn’t appear to have the ability to anchor and hold against stronger lineman. Other than that, he has all of the tools and could find a niche as an explosive play specialist.


NFL Comparison: Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo Bills

Mario Williams, Cam NewtonNkemdiche 1








Perhaps a lofty comparison, Williams is the best pass rushing 4-3 end in the league, using his size to dominate and complete array of pass rush moves to beat tackles of all sizes and skill sets. Rushing off the edge, Nkemdiche is the most complete pass rusher in this draft and easily the most pro ready. He might have 10 sacks by year 2 in the right system.

A Prospect A Day: 4-3 Defensive Ends, Emmanuel Ogbah Scouting Report

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

6’4 269 lbs



Ideal frame for the position, plus he’s built like a Greek God and has the strength to boot. His bull rush is second to none in this draft.

Transfers speed to power with such ferocity that he gets nearly every lineman on his heels immediately. He lacks a versatile arsenal of pass rush moves, relying on swim and bull rush mainly.

Lacks the natural bend around the edge of an elite edge rusher, but more than makes up for it with nifty hand and feet usage. His main move is to use his strength to drive back his opponent and close the pocket.

In the running game, he lacks gap discipline which causes him to rush himself out of plays at times. He’ll need coaching to be a three down player, but has all the potential to be one of the best defensive players in this draft class if he can put it together.


Technique: 3 out of 5

Ogbah employs the swim and bull rush beautifully. In two games of tape, he attempted a spin move once and sometimes attempts to dip under rushes, but not near enough. He needs to experiment with that aspect of the game but could develop that under the right coach.

Effectiveness: 5 out of 5

He was among the league leaders with 16.5 in just 13 games. He was relentless in collapsing the pocket on tape. He even had a measure of success against top-rated tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Potential: 5 out of 5

He’s got the body type, high motor, power to speed transfer and length to be a league leader in sacks in the NFL with the proper coaching. He’s that naturally gifted.


Technique: 2 out of 5

Ogbah consistently failed to stay in his gaps and missed several tackles due to being out of position. He has very little sense in how to set an edge. He is, however, very capable of taking on double teams and shedding to make the play in the backfield. He’s always looking to produce a negative play for the offense.

Effectiveness: 3 out of 5

In all of the tape I’ve watched, I can count on one hand the number of times I saw Ogbah make a positive play in the run game. It stood out. However, his 63 tackles are the best of his college career and the 16.5 for loss show a player that is able to shoot gaps, which is something you either have or don’t as a player.

Potential: 4 out of 5

He has the body to hold up in the run game and not get washed out. I don’t think he’ll ever be an elite run stuffer, but if he’s able to maintain more gap discipline, he’d be an asset on most rosters in that capacity.


NFL Comparison: Robert Quinn, DE, Los Angeles Rams

QuinnOgbah 1








Both Quinn and Ogbah combine power, speed and length to impose their will on offensive tackles off the edge. While Ogbah has to refine his play against the run, Quinn represents what Ogbah could potentially become as an edge player.

Projection: Top 20 pick

A Prospect A Day: 4-3 Defensive Ends, DeForest Buckner Scouting Report

DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

6’6 287 lbs

Buckner 1

Oregon Ducks defensive lineman DeForest Buckner (44) celebrates after bring down a back hind the line. The No. 18 Oregon Ducks face the Oregon State Beavers in the Civil War at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 27, 2015. (Cole Elsasser/Emerald)



Prototype height, weight, speed combination for a defensive end. Has scheme versatility as a 4-3 or 3-4 end but his best pro fit looks to be the 4-3 due to his difficulty with handling the power of inside guards in the run game.

Does a great job of engaging and disengaging from blocks. Probably has the best arm extension and hand usage of any prospect in this draft. Has ideal athleticism for the position and plays with high effort.

Had some serious struggles against Michigan State’s Jack Conklin and seems to thrive against weaker opponents, where he racks up his numbers. Possesses a strong bull rush if he wins at the point of attack, pushing lineman back into the pocket.

Must improve transferring speed to power and bending around the edge if he will be a viable edge rusher in the NFL, but has all the physical tools and is begging to be coached.


Technique: 3 out of 5

Buckner has two moves, swim and bull rush. He uses both effectively and usually in the right situations. He also does a great job using his arm length to keep opponents from getting into his body.

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5

Buckner was among the NCAA leaders in pressures, hits and sacks, though it can be argued that it came against the weaker teams in the Pac-10, he still had a standout year rushing the passer.

Potential: 3 out of 5

Because of his struggles against superior opponents, particularly Michigan State’s Jack Conklin, I fear for Buckner’s viability as a pass rusher on the edge. He could potentially be effective rushing inside with his hand usage and size, but he must learn to transfer speed to power or he’ll be stonewalled by the NFL’s better interior lineman.


Technique: 3 out of 5

He can be easily fooled by misdirection and is a little over-eager to make an explosive play rather than remaining disciplined in his gap, this is also the reason he was a leader in tackles for loss in 2015.

Effectiveness: 5 out of 5

He had over 80 tackles from the 5 technique. That’s impressive in and of itself, couple that with the tackles for loss number, 17, and you understand why he’s such a highly thought-of recruit.

Potential: 4 out of 5

Though he didn’t get to do it much, I think he could anchor a line in a 4-3 as a very good edge setter. He has the size and strength to take on even the toughest tackles in the league and elite disengaging ability with efficient use of his hands and feet at the same time.


NFL Comparison: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Cincinnati Bengals









As a rotational starter at defensive end for the Bengals, Dunlap offers the size and strength, coupled with an elite bull rush to anchor the defensive line and get after the quarterback at times. Like Buckner, Dunlap uses arm extension to effectively disengage from blockers to make plays in the run game and stay effective as a pass rusher.

Projection: Top 10 pick

A Prospect a Day: 4-3 Defensive Ends, Shaq Lawson Scouting Report

January 15, 2016

A Prospect a Day: This series, launching today, will outline one prospect per day, every day up to the upcoming draft. However, it is entirely possible that some days may feature more than one prospect.

The series will be starting with 4-3 Defensive Ends


6’4 260 lbs

Shaq Lawson



Very nice height, weight, speed combination, but probably larger than you’d want from an edge rusher in a 3-4.

Ideal fit is as a 4-3 end, though may even be effective as a 3-4 end due to his strong pocket-pushing ability and well-rounded abilities as a pass rusher and run-stuffer.

Can get sideline-to-sideline when needed and has a relentless motor, often making plays due to sheer effort.

Lacks a versatile arsenal of pass rushing skills, will sometimes use a spin move, but mostly sticks to a swim or bull rush, which is effective due to the massive strength in his lower body.

He’s a strong tackler and usually a strong finisher at the point of attack, which makes him effective even in goal line situations.

Could be an asset on an NFL roster, if not right away then within the first two years, though he has a relatively low ceiling to other prospects available in his range.


Technique: 3 out of 5

Lacks a versatile arsenal of pass rushing moves to go along with his bendability, functional strength, speed, and tackling technique.

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5

The sack numbers (12.5 in 15 games) are plenty impressive as a full-time starter on the edge who constantly sees chips and double teams, he’s a relentless effort guy that makes plays in the backfield more often than not.

Potential: 3 out of 5

Even if he can shore up the pass-rushing technique, he doesn’t possess the explosiveness or first-step quickness of the elite rushers in the NFL and will have a hard time competing against premiere left tackles at the pro level for sacks.


Technique: 3 out of 5

Lawson does a great job in play recognition, but can sometimes fail to set the edge, getting caught up in the backfield and opening lanes for runners.

Effectiveness: 3 out of 5

The 24.5 tackles for loss in 2015 shows Lawson’s strength: he lives in opponents’ backfields. It is also reveals his weakness as he often runs himself right out of plays rather than relying on sound technique to set the edge and hook the runner. His 59 tackles this season were due more to effort and motor than effectiveness in stopping the run.

Potential: 4 out of 5

The good news is, Lawson has all of the functional strength to be an above-average edge setter at the pro level, he just needs to be coached up. I would hesitate to project him as a premiere run stopper unless he puts on a little more weight, since I think he may get bullied by some of the bigger road graders in the NFL like Phil Loadholt, but he should find a nice niche on an NFL roster in this regard as his career progresses.


NFL Comparison: Jeremy Mincey, DE, Dallas Cowboys













Like Mincey, Lawson thrives as a pass rusher, but possesses the dimensions and leg strength to be an effective edge-setter. They’ll never set the world on fire with their sack numbers but can be a very effective part of nearly any 4-3 defensive rotation.

Projection: Top-15 pick