Scouting Report: Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

6’3 270 lbs

Barnett

Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Texas A&M, 2016 vs. Florida

OVERVIEW

Barnett is bizzare to watch play. At times, he looks sluggish beyond belief and yet covers ground quickly. At times he looks like he’s carrying way too much weight on that relatively small (for the position) frame. And yet, you see this outstanding quickness, hand fighting ability, bend around the edge and excellent finish that have made him a premiere sack specialist in the SEC.

Derek Barnett also boasts the experience and consistency against top level competition, at times taking over the entire game against Alabama’s Cam Robinson (also a potential first-rounder). This is the one question mark in Myles Garrett’s game, so it’s certainly encouraging to see Barnett thrive regardless of who he’s lined up against.

PASS RUSH

Moves: 2 out of 5

It seems that this is the area on tape, consistently, where Barnett shows a lack of versatility. He’s pretty much just a finesse rusher, using superior agility and hand fighting to weave his way through lineman. He must add more to the arsenal at the next level.

Technique: 14 out of 15

Of this, Barnett may be among the cleanest in the draft, his hand use, footwork and control of his body allow him to consistently put himself in the correct positions and gain advantages on his opponents where sheer athleticism would seem to indicate that he should be less effective.

Bend: 4 out of 5

This is one of the biggest reasons Barnett was the leading sack specialist in his three-season span in the SEC. He has that uncanny ability to contort his body in any way to get around the edge, and also the knowledge of exactly when to do this for optimal opportunity at the QB. The one concern I’d have here is that he tends to round out his rush at times, though this is only a problem on a few snaps on tape.

Finish: 5 out of 5

This is the other aspect that leads to those insane sack numbers, Barnett knows what to do when he gets home, it’s a sack, a tackle, in fact he had a play where he tipped a pass to himself for an interception. If Barnett is near to making a play, it’s a safe bet he’ll make it.

Tenacity: 4 out of 5

Not to say that Barnett ever takes plays off, on the contrary, he’ll chase across formation when the play is moving away from him, but he seems to realize he doesn’t have the speed to catch plays that go beyond him, and he often doesn’t try.

Consistency: 10 out of 10

What more can you say for a man who has averaged 10+ sacks per season in his 3 years as a starter against the top-level competition he faces playing in college football’s premiere conference? He’s rock solid steady.

RUN STOPPING

Edge Setting: 8 out of 10

The only times I really see this to be an issue is when the play calls for a pass rush, his quickness and anticipation gets him upfield early and can sometimes take him out of running plays.

Tackling: 9 out of 10

While not a perfect tackler, there are very few discernable issues in positioning, technique, want-to or ability to bring down any ball carrier that comes his way. He’ll continue to develop that consistency at the next level and should be among the league’s most reliable.

Double Teams: 3 out of 5

I wouldn’t say that Barnett lacks the functional strength to hold up in double teams, but he does seem to lack the desire to use it, this is shown by his distinct lack of a bull rush, however, he is quite effective at using his finesse to work through double teams and make plays on ball carriers.

Lane Discipline: 10 out of 10

Barnett is as smart and pro-ready as any evaluator could dream in terms of his ability to see offensive plays developing and put himself in the right position to leverage the play to his advantage.

Consistency: 10 out of 10

Honestly, Barnett never looks to be out of position, or tired, or overwhelmed by level of competition and this quality extends to his run defense.

GENERAL

Reliability: 9 out of 10

Though perfectly available throughout his college career, Barnett has been limited in recent weeks (going into his pro day) with a hamstring injury. He is expected to perform regardless, and that’s been Barnett’s MO as a player, but going forward, teams will need to be aware of that potential and keep him in the ice bath after games.

Total Prospect Rating: 89 out of 100

Pro Comparison: Trent Cole, DE, Indianapolis Colts

Barnett 1

Cole

Sharing nearly the exact same dimensions, elite hand and foot technique, ability to get after the quarterback and penchant for punishing hits once they arrive, the comparison came to me pretty immediately. Cole has been an underappreciated impact rusher for most of his career, who boasts an all-around game that suits him to any defense. The kind of skills that Barnett boasts should give him similar versatility. I expect Barnett to get off to a quicker start than Cole, who took a few years before he became elite, production-wise.

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Saints 7-Round Mock Draft

NFL-Draft-Logo

Saints logo
12: R1P12: SHELDON RANKINS, DT, LOUISVILLE
6’1 299 lbs.
Louisville Football v Memphis
FIT: Last year, the Saints tried running a 4-3 base defense with Kevin Williams and John Jenkins at starter. While there were times Williams played well, watching Jenkins play was often about as pleasant as I imagine a brain aneurysm to be. The main problem at this position, there is not enough talent. Rankins might be the best in an absolutely loaded class, having turned many senior tackles into human turnstiles at Senior Bowl practices.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1998998/sheldon-rankins
47: R2P16: SHILIQUE CALHOUN, DE, MICHIGAN STATE
6’4 251 lbs.
NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Stanford vs Michigan State

Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) tackles Stanford Cardinal running back Tyler Gaffney (25) during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

FIT: Akiem Hicks was so inept for the Saints defense, he was ousted by what could perhaps have been the worst starting 4-3 end in the league: Bobby Richardson. That may be a little harsh, but nobody’s claiming Richardson’s a starter. The Saints must find an answer opposite Cam Jordan and they may not have the cap space to find a starter in free agency. This class is solid at this position at the top, with zero depth.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1868388/shilique-calhoun
78: R3P15: DEION JONES, OLB, LSU
6’1 222 lbs.
Jones
FIT: Watching the Saints attempt to cover a tight end will either make you do a spit-take or cause indigestion, depending on your allegiance. Point being, they can cover a tight end like an umbrella with a hole in it can cover a person in the rain. This was especially prominent in the Tennessee game when the Saints allowed Craig Stevens and Anthony Fasano to combine for 5 catches, 58 yards and a game-winning touchdown in overtime. Jones possesses sideline-to-sideline coverage ability and would inject athleticism and speed into a defense that’s seemingly allergic to the concept.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1984265/deion-jones
113: R4P14: STERLING SHEPARD, WR, OKLAHOMA
5’10 194 lbs.
 Shepard
FIT: Marques Colston is out, and supposedly, Brandon Coleman is the answer. While the big, tall and athletic Coleman looked good in spot duty last year, the Saints need to think about injecting more talent into the receiving corps. I begged the Saints to grab Tyler Lockett last year, now with Shepard falling due to his size and a perceived weakness overall at the position, the Saints would be wise to grab the smooth, polished OU product if he’s available.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1996786/sterling-shepard
152: R5P13: REES ODHIAMBO, G, BOISE STATE
6’4 314 lbs.
 Odiambho
FIT: The Saints just cut ties with long-time starter Jahri Evans, and after jettisoning Ben Grubbs last season, there is very little talent at the position in the building. Depending on what they do in free agency, Sean Payton still counts this as one of the team’s biggest needs. Odhiambo is a talented prospect from outside the Power 5 who could be a steal in the fifth, might remind some fans of a certain Bloomsburg prospect.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1825221/rees-odhiambo
235: R7P16: ANTWAUN WOODS, DT, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
6’0 318 lbs.
Christian Powell, Antwaun Woods, Hayes Pullard

Colorado tailback Christian Powell, center, is tackled for a loss by Southern California linebacker Hayes Pullard, left, and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (99) in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Boulder, Colo., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) ** Usable by LA and DC Only **

FIT: Remember what I said about the Saints situation at defensive tackle? It’s that bad. With the draft so deep at defensive tackle, it makes sense to grab one at this late stage as well, and Woods has a workable frame to go with a high-motor and excellent work ethic. He’ll fit right in with the locker room Payton wants to build and might even find some playing time in a rotational role.
                                     http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1851134/antwaun-woods

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

Oakman

2 sacks, 1 forced fumble

 

Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech

Butler

1 sack, 1 forced fumble

 

Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky

Spence

1 sack

 

Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame

Day

1 sack

 

Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State

Hargrave

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.

Robert Nkemdiche, 3-4 DE Scouting Report

Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss

6’5 293 lbs

Nkemdiche

OVERVIEW

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.

PASS RUSHING

Technique: 5 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 abiltiy to slide through double teams with ease or beat guards one on one.

Effectiveness: 4 out of 5

His sack numbers were on par for a 3-4 DE prospect. He has elite pass rushing ability from the position and showed it by being a constant presence in the middle of the pocket.

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 disruptive inside rushers.

RUN STOPPING

Technique: 4 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. This is, however, less of a problem in a 3-4 since his nose will likely be seeing more attention than him. He slides between linemen with more grace than most.

Effectiveness: 5 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. He is such an effective tackler that an inside position should just increase his value.

Potential: 4 out of 5

The one thing that keeps Nkemdiche from being an elite prospect against the run on the inside is his slightly low play strength compared to his size. He should be able to push his assignment more than he does. Other than that, he has all of the tools and could find a niche as an explosive play specialist.

TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 27/30

NFL Comparison: Sheldon Richardson, DE, New York Jets

RichardsonNkemdiche 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A near match in terms of size. Nkemdiche shares Richardson’s natural pass rush gifts despite his bigger size. Both have elite short area quickness which they use to split double teams and wreak havoc in the backfield. Both are also better pass rushers than run defenders.

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

Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss

6’5 293 lbs

Nkemdiche

OVERVIEW

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.

PASS RUSHING

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.

RUN STOPPING

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.

TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 23/30

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, 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

SHAQ LAWSON, DE, CLEMSON

6’4 260 lbs

Shaq Lawson

 

OVERVIEW:

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.

PASS RUSHING

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.

RUN STOPPING

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.

TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 20/30

NFL Comparison: Jeremy Mincey, DE, Dallas Cowboys

Lawson

Mincey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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