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Scouting The Draft: Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

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We're going to be ramping up our scouting coverage in February before taking a break for free agency. Today I'm talking a little pass rush with Vic Beasley.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction

The Jets pass rusher from their OLB position has been anything but exceptional for a few years now. Calvin Pace seems to tally up some sacks, but overall the output from the likes of Pace and Babin has been largely quite poor. Now don't get me wrong, we have other needs, far pressing needs but if the opportunity arrises where you can upgrade this position, the Jets really shouldn't think twice.

Calvin Pace is 34 and will be 35 just after the season kicks-off. Jason Babin is 34 and will be 35 long before the season kicks-off. The Jets have put together an exceptional defensive line, adding an explosive edge rusher to grow with the likes of Wilkerson and Richardson, could put this defense over the edge if the corners are improved.

If you want a lesson in what to believe from high school measurables, this is it. On his rivals profile, he is listed as a 6'5 athlete, in fact he ended up being just over 6'2 and he hasn't grown much since although he's much closer to 6'3 now. Although he was once a budding tight end prospect, he quickly moved to the defensive side of the ball, playing outside linebacker and defensive end for Clemson. He was moved around across the defensive line and at points, he played inside as a 3 technique to try and exploit his speed on the slower guards.

Some will question his size for the outside linebacker position, however between last year and this year he moved from 220lb's to 235lb's and didn't lose his speed as a result. He is very similar to Von Miller of the Denver Bronco's and I fully expect him to be a top 15 selection when the draft roles around in May.

Measurables

Height: 6'3

Weight: 235lb's

Class: Senior

Projected 40: 4.5

Statistics

Year Tackles For A Loss Sacks Forced Fumbles
2011 1 0 0 0
2012 14 8 8 1
2013 41 23 13 4
2014 33 21.5 12 2

Positives

  • Lightning speed off the snap. Best first step of anyone I've seen in years.
  • Exceptional speed that he uses to get around the corner.
  • Ferocious pass-rusher with excellent college production.
  • Has good strength and an under-appreciated bull rush.
  • Uses his hands well to get under the tackles and force balance issues.
  • Has a very neat compact spin move that works a lot.
  • Has excellent closing speed and can run QB's and RB's down from behind.
  • Intelligent footballer who knows when to tackle and when to go for the rip.
  • Good student who comes from a family with coaching experience, film study improvement.
  • Maintains his outside containment well in obvious running situations.

Negatives

  • More of a pass-rusher than anything else, struggles with run defending.
  • Motor can run a little hot and cold, and loses interest when the play goes away from him.
  • Wasn't asked to work in space much, but offers very little in coverage.
  • Does sometimes struggle to find the ball on run plays.
  • Needs to consistently keep his pad level lower.

Conclusion


There are some things about Beasley's game that I really like. His first step is elite and his pace around the edge is unbelievable. He loves getting after the QB and when he's pass rushing, his instincts are off the charts. However he will never be a 3 down player at the NFL level if he doesn't commit time to improving the other aspects in his game. He needs to stay motivated and he needs to consistently chase down players, even if the play is going away from him. He needs to work on his technique as a run defender to ensure he's not being mauled by pulling guards and full-backs. Overall though, I love his ability to rush the QB and he's done it on a consistent basis, ever since he started getting playing time in 2011.

Draft Grade: 82

90-100 = Exceptional Talent

80-90 = Impact Player

70-80 = NFL Starter

60-70 = Solid NFL Potential

50-60 = Draftable - Lot of work needed

>50 = Undraftable - Long Shot To Stick