DE STEPHON TUITT, NOTRE DAME*

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6’6” – 312 lbs. – 5.00e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2011: 30 – 3.0 – 2.0, 5 QBH, 1 PD
2012: 45 – 11.0 – 11.0, 9 QBH, 1 FF, 1 FR (1 TD), 1 PD, 1 BK

OVERVIEW:

Played in nine games as a freshman, starting three. Broke out as a sophomore in 2012, being named a second-team AP All-American.

POSITIVES:

•    Massive end whose size, bulk, and length are superior to other prospects at his position.
•    Could interest teams as a 3-4 five-technique end, 4-3 defensive end, or 4-3 under tackle.
•    Actually more effective as a pass rusher than he is as a run defender despite his size.
•    Uses his hands well when shedding blocks, capable of slapping opponent’s hands down.
•    Capable of two-gapping in Notre Dame’s odd defensive fronts, then shedding vs. run.
•    Has occasionally shown the ability to successfully split double teams when targeted.
•    Combination of height, long arms, and big hands makes him effective at batting passes.
•    Does a pretty good job of using his length to scrape down the line of scrimmage vs. run.
•    Generally can be said to play with a high motor, especially when rushing the quarterback.
•    Was one of college football’s most prolific pass rushers during his 2012 campaign.

NEGATIVES:

•    Was substantially more productive as a sophomore in 2012 than as a junior in 2013.
•    Already tall, then gets a little bit high out of his stance, creating leverage concerns.
•    May be a little bit too tall for the tackle conversion many are considering him for.
•    Quite athletic for his size but obviously isn’t really an explosive edge rushing option.
•    Overall bend, agility, and closing burst are not particularly incredible except in context.
•    Ends up on the ground a little bit more often than he should at over 300 pounds.

SUMMARY:

Tuitt appears to be well-suited to the current NFL, given the fact that plenty of teams have transitioned to odd defensive fronts in the past decade, and, following Gus Bradley’s example as defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, many teams are incorporating oversized defensive ends into their four-man fronts to help defend against the run. Tuitt wasn’t nearly as productive in 2013 as he was in 2012, partially because of injury, but at this point he is a reasonably stout run defender with upside and a surprisingly effective pass rusher who should be able to stay outside at the next level. A first-round selection would be at least partially based on his upside. RD 1-2

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