So I recently decide to watch some of the over 50 college football games that I have saved on my DVR from this past college football season so that I can thoroughly evaluate certain future NFL players. For my first segment, I focused on pass rushers, more specifically potential LEO fits. These are strictly my personally observations based solely on the game film that I watched from each of these players. All of the players being evaluated will more than likely be first or second round picks in this year's draft. So without further ado, here are my findings.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina, 6'6", 275
Clowney is obviously regarded as one of, if not, the best players in this year's draft class. It doesn't take too hard of a look to see exactly why. He plays with a violent temperament and really asserts himself at the line of scrimmage. He has very quick, twitchy movement that makes his get off one of the best I've ever seen. He has a plethora of different moves that he regularly displays, he has a fine swim move, a nasty bullrush, and if all else fails he can simply beat you with his speed alone. As well as being a phenomenal pass rusher, he may be even better against the run. His ability to stiff out the ball carrier and create plays in the backfield is extraordinary, and rarely do you se him miss a tackle, if he wraps up a ball carrier, they are not getting free. The only knock that I was on Clowney is the one that we've all heard, he does disappear at times during games and sometimes doesn't look like he's giving 100%, but I'm just not too worried about that at the next level.
Overall grade: A+
NFL comparison: Julius Peppers
Khalil Mack, OLB/DE, Buffalo, 6'3", 250
No player has seen his stock rise in this year's class more than Mack. However, watching his game film, I'm not exactly sold on him as a top-five pick. He does have an incredible knack for making big plays. He plays the screen very well, and excels at coverage in general. He's able to use his quick hands, flexibility, and natural bend to get around offensive lineman and get to the quarterback. He also possesses a great amount of raw athleticism that just can't be coached. I did see a few problems with Mack that I've never heard addressed before. On several occasions I witnessed him fail to wrap up properly and let the ball carrier gain extra yardage. I also saw him have a tendency to sometimes get washed out by opposing lineman. He's still a good prospect, but I think people are buying too much into his potential.
Overall grade: B-
NFL comparison: Karlos Dansby
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA, 6'4", 250
Barr is an interesting prospect, he's still a potential top-ten pick and I'd say that may be a little high, but he's still a quality player. He's a very strong tackler and makes a lot of big hits, but maintains great form in doing so. He plays with a great amount of effort and passion, I don't think I saw him give up on a play even once, always staying with the play. He is excellent at locating the ball carrier and uses his sure talking abilities to make plays. What I did see from Barr is that I think he's a true outside linebacker, probably best suited for a 4-3, but is good at shooting gaps, so could make how an outstanding situational blitzer. The biggest knock that I saw on Barr is that he can sometimes be a bit of a bonehead. He plays with so much passion that it sometimes translates into mistakes such as late hits.
Overall grade: B
NFL Comparison: Julian Peterson
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri, 6'5", 275
Ealy is projected to be a mid first round pick and a believe that to be a fair project, possibly even top ten. He is definitely a thumper and makes big hits that really set the tone for the defense. He plays with a very high motor and really fights with opposing linemen. He is also very good at getting his hands up and batting down passes at the line of scrimmage. He is just a natural playmaker that shows up big when it's most important. He is also probably best suited in a true 4-3, where he can worry about putting his hand on the ground and getting after quarterbacks. There were a few flaws that I found in Ealy's game, he has a habit of playing rather high and linemen are able to stand him up on occasion. He also has a tendency to disappear at certain times, but usually shows back up in a pretty big way.
Overall grade: A-
NFL comparison: Greg Hardy
Dee Ford, DE, Auburn, 6'2", 252
Ford is projected as a late first round pick and I would agree with that, but wouldn't be surprised to see him fall to the second round. He plays with a very high motor and really gets after opposing quarterbacks. He is also good at making some big hits and plays with a certain nastiness to him. He excels at using his hands to throw linemen out of the way of his path to the backfield, also using his flexibility and balance in the process. Despite not exactly processing the prototypical height, I still think Ford projects best as a 4-3 defensive end, because his coverage ability is pretty questionable at best.
Overall grade: B
NFL comparison: Rob Ninkovich
Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, OLB, 6'1", 235
Shazier is projected as a late first or early second round pick, which is exactly what he looked like on film. He is a very sure tackler that hardly ever misses tackles and usually pushes the ball carrier back after making contact and plays with a tenacity that makes opposing backs think twice before running his way. He plays with a very high motor, doesn't give up on plays and has the speed to chases down ball carriers and take them down from behind. He is a great gap shooter that makes for a perfect situational pass rush from his outside linebacker position. The only thing keeping him from being a complete outside linebacker is his coverage ability, which isn't terrible, but still proved to be a liability at times and definitely something he's going to need to work on at the next level.
Overall grade: B+
NFL comparison: Philip Wheeler
Kyle Van Noy, OLB/DE, BYU, 6'3", 245
Van Noy is projected as an early second round pick, and from what I've seen, he'd be an absolute steal in the second round. He really takes over games and is constantly making his presence felt. He's able to use his quick get off and very impressive hands to get passed linemen and wreak havoc in the backfield. He's a very solid tackler that rarely misses tackles and is very good at stripping the ball out of the ball carriers hands. He can effective rush off the edge or go on stunts inside and generate pressure. He just plays with a certain relentlessness and swagger, he's a true game changer. He's also solid in coverage when asked to defend tight ends or running backs. The one knock on his game that I could find is that he sometimes over pursues and winds up upfield.
Overall grade: A
NFL comparison: Joey Porter
Jeremiah Attaochu, DE, Georgia Tech, 6'3", 252
Attaochu is projected as a second round pick and I think he's definitely a solid early second rounder. He's a solid tackler and really has nice form finishing takedowns. He's extremely fast off the ball, which makes him very difficult for slower offensive linemen. He is also very good at beating holds, which is important in the NFL considering how many times offensive holding goes uncalled. His best trait, however, may be his balance. He can take a solid chip block, regain his balance, and still make a play in the backfield. He does get washed out quiet a bit and sometimes gives up on plays that he has been beat on, which is a little concerning.
Overall grade: B-
NFL comparison: Brian Robison