6’4” – 252 lbs. – 4.75e
Worked in a reserve/special-teams capacity for most of 2011, starting two games at tight end. Added seventeen pounds of bulk and converted to defensive end in 2012, starting six of eleven games played; in 2013, started all thirteen games at the position. Plays on both sides of the line; has taken the occasional snap out of a two-point stance, but has an extremely small sample size in that capacity. Tall with long arms and a lanky build; has the frame to add more weight, which will be necessary if teams opt to employ him as a defensive end in an even front. Lower body appears more developed than upper body at this point; can get ragdolled around a bit, but is not easily blown off the line of scrimmage. Able to use his hands to disengage from blocks and make the tackle; radius is also impressive given his length. Pursues well to the sidelines. Run fits are questionable at this point, but flashes desirable tools. As a rusher, appears stiff when asked to bend back toward the quarterback, allowing passers to easily evade him by climbing the pocket; also gets steered wide of the mark by offensive linemen. More of a speed rusher than anything at this point; lacks both creativity and a go-to move for winning off the snap. Also problematic are his reaction times; typically not among the first defensive linemen to get off the line, which allows opponents to negate his speed by getting depth on their kickslide in advance. Has a strong motor as both a pass rusher and a run defender; plays through the whistle and exhibits active hands and feet. Far from a finished product at this point; has a long way to go in terms of strength, of technique, and of instincts. That said, has made substantial gains in terms of bulk and has acclimated well to the defensive side of the ball, which, combined with his projectable frame and athleticism, should make him a desirable project for pro coaches, whether as a defensive end in an even front or an outside linebacker in an odd front. Build might be better suited to the latter, although teams may be somewhat hesitant about asking him to learn his third position in five years. Won’t be selected as highly as former teammate and fellow offensive convert Marcus Smith but should benefit from the association. Somewhat resembles Patriots 2013 seventh-round pick Michael Buchanan.
Games watched: Central Florida (’13), Florida International (’13). Kentucky (’13)