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2018 NFL Draft Report: Bradley Chubb leads DE prospects

Let’s look at all of the Round 1 prospects

The most clear-cut top defensive lineman in this draft is ...

Bradley Chubb - North Carolina State

2017 Season...Chubb was a unanimous All-American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection and was the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the nation’s top defender.

Chubb Scouting Report

Body Structure...Chubb has an athletic physique that can carry additional bulk without the added weight impacting his timed speed. He has a muscular upper body frame with good arm length, large hands and a firm midsection. He has wide hips, good bubble and decent lower body strength to handle blockers one-on-one, along with the needed lower body strength in order to combat double team activity at the NFL level, but needs to anchor better, as he will turn his body to the blocker when he is engulfed.

Athletic Ability...Chubb has impressive timed speed, good agility, flexibility and balance for a defensive lineman. He seems to have good success making plays on the move, thanks to his quick change of direction agility. He’s also an efficient bull rusher, thanks to his above average ability to slip through tight creases, but you would like to see him use his hands better when getting engulfed by bigger blockers, as he has the strength to combat, but tends to turn his back to the blocker, thus struggling to disengage. What stands out with Chubb is his explosive burst and acceleration, along with a good concept for angling when working off the edge (see 2017 Florida State, Syracuse, Boston College contests) vs. the run. He won’t dazzle you with the stopwatch, but his playing speed is evident by the way he is capable of forcing the opponent’s outside running game back into the pile.

Football Sense...Chubb should be capable of handling the mental aspect of the game, but he needs some work on reading blocking schemes in order to avoid the bigger offensive linemen better. He needs just normal reps to retain. When he locates the ball, he is quick getting to the runner. In pass rush situations, he does a good job of reading his assignments, but must try to avoid rather than engage bigger blockers (get a bit turned around and that leads to the blocker stalemating him), in order to have success in his pursuit of the quarterback.

Explosion/Pursuit...This is one of Chubb’s best assets. He has very good quickness off the snap and shows excellent suddenness and the ability to gain advantage looping the corner and coming off the edge. He is a quick-twitch type of player whose balance lets him gain an advantage over a slower blocker. His quickness is quite effective when he attempts to bull rush and get into the gaps to disrupt the pocket (see 2017 Marshall, Florida State, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Boston College games). With his playing speed (much better than his timed speed, as he carries his equipment well), he can easily beat an offensive tackle around the corner, as he stays low in his pads to generate a strong burst. He even looks quicker when making plays on the move (can be inconsistent reacting when having to sit and read, or when he fails to keep his hands active in order to prevent from being engulfed). If he can rectify his hand technique issues, he could develop into the type that will affect protections, thanks to his explosive first step. When he comes off the line of scrimmage hard and fast, he can make plays from the backside. In 2017, he has shown marked improvement in keeping his arms active to rip, swim and jerk past the blocker.

Strength at the Point of Attack...Another of his better assets, when Chubb keeps his knees and hips bent in an athletic position, he can stack and split double teams (needs to keep inside hand control to be effective). He has the raw power to handle bigger blockers one-on-one, but must continue to improve on his hand usage in order to gain success working on the edge. On the occasions that he gets too high in his stance, he can be driven off the ball (blockers can get into his chest when his hands get outside his framework). When isolated on the edge, he has outstanding ability to knife through and penetrate. His problems arise when he has to redirect suddenly, as he does not always flip his hips. Even when his initial in-line move fails, he is not the type that will just shut down his motor and give up ground. With his speed, you would think that he is best when working off the edge than when head-up, but he has the power needed to push the blocker back through the rush lane, if he can keep his hands active to combat combo blocks.

Use of Hands...Chubb has gained confidence in his hand quickness as a junior, evident by the way he used them to fend off blocks later in the 2016 schedule (see Louisville, Boston College, Florida State, Syracuse games). He needs to use them better in low block protection, but he has that strong upper body frame and quickness to gain movement off the snap. When he gets good hand extension, he is much more successful in attempts to separate working off the edge. He does only an adequate job of protecting his body when working through trash, especially when he lets blockers get into his body. If he gets his explosive push off the blocker, he can rip through the line.

Lateral Pursuit/Effort...Chubb has a good concept for angling in his pursuit, as he shows fluid hip snap when having to change direction. When taking a wide loop off the edge, he can zero in on the quarterback and he can scrape down the line of scrimmage, as he displays ideal fluid lateral movement. He shows very good effort and speed to chase in the open and has the ability to sift around the back side to make the play in pursuit. He can jolt the smaller blockers (fullback, tight end) on impact, but must be more conscious of avoiding low blocks when working through trash.

Tackling Ability...Chubb is a strong impact-type tackler who does a nice job of keeping his pads down and driving through the gaps to impact the lead blocker. He demonstrates a strong wrap-up technique, showing good explosion into the ball carrier or quarterback once he beats the block. His hip snap is evident when he tries to make plays in space, as he is quick to get a bead on the ball carrier, demonstrating valid strength to lock up and punish the opponent and deliver the jarring hit. The thing I liked most in 2017 was his effort to make sure he played at the right pad level and helmet placement to be secure behind those hits (see 2017 Notre Dame, Clemson, Boston College and Syracuse games).

Run Defense...Chubb has the strength to hold his ground vs. bigger blockers, but must do a better job of protecting his feet when working in-line from low blocks. He has the quickness to slip blocks and the strength to throw and jerk the lead blocker. When he keeps his hands active, he can’t be blocked for long, as he can disengage thanks to his power. He shows a good burst to the corner to push the outside run back in. In the NFL, he should be very capable of defeating tight end and fullback blocks.

Pass Rush...Even though he ranks as the top pass rusher in school history, Chubb is more of a bull rusher than a natural pass rusher. He is disruptive in the passing lanes and can generate good backside pursuit, but his bit of hip stiffness prevents him from changing direction as quick as you would like from an edge rusher. He could be an under tackle in the pros, but must improve his hand placement to escape blocks. He has the hip wiggle and shake to juke when he beats his blocker, and is very effective when trying to push and disrupt the pocket. He does struggle vs. the counter moves when he gets his hands outside his framework. To best-serve Chubb, he must be utilized on stunts and twists to take advantage of his explosion and strength. He can swim and rip inside, but is just starting to develop effective counter moves he will need to play at the next level.

Closing on the Quarterback...Chubb has the straight-line explosion to flush out and get to the quarterback. He was much more effective in his last two seasons, as the coaches finally realized that he is best served when used more on twists and tricks. When he closes, he shows the ability and desire to disrupt the pocket (see 2016 Notre Dame, Louisville and Syracuse games; 2017 Florida State, Syracuse, Boston College contests). He has improved his instincts and ability to locate the passer, doing a nice job of exploding behind his hits when left untouched. He has the “juice” to close the deal on stunts, especially when taking on the offensive tackle one-on-one, but must not revert to short-arming or he will be engulfed.

Instincts/Recognition...Chubb plays with a good motor and will not quit until after the whistle. He still needs to develop a better feel for block pressure (must be quicker finding where the blocks are coming from, especially low ones), but has the vision to quickly locate the ball. He is quick to read the pass and knows where the quarterback is, as he has the loose hips to suddenly redirect when he out-runs the play. In the NFL, he might be better suited playing on the move rather than anchoring and reading (does not shed well when blockers get into his chest), as he can be much more effective pursuing than having to battle his way through trash.

Compares To...Chandler Jones-Arizona Cardinals...Chubb is a player blessed with good timed speed and explosion off the snap. He is a physical force behind his hits, as he might lack the ideal size you look for in a defensive lineman, but his power more than compensates in his battles vs. the bigger blockers. He has good body control and plays at a low pad level, making it hard for offensive tackles to lock on and control him, especially when he makes a conscious effort to keep his hands inside his framework to handle counter moves.

Against the run, his natural strength is evident. He is tough to move out shooting the gaps (unless the blocker attacks his legs). He keeps his legs bent in the proper athletic position, with his bubble down and hands inside. He has that burst you look for in a bull rusher attempting to shoot the gaps and does a nice job of sinking his pads to hold his ground to fight through blocks coming off the edge.

Marcus Davenport - The University of Texas at San Antonio

Will Davenport play up to his awesome athletic skills?

Overview...The 2017 season’s breakout player, Davenport’s emergence saw this bull in a china shop finally show football skills to go with his renowned athletic ability. Still, after a mediocre performance at the 2018 Senior Bowl practices, followed by a great effort during the game, you have to wonder if his senior campaign was a fluke, as he accomplished those feats vs. less than stellar competition, or the start of a blossoming career. A team looking for a raw talent to develop will have to be spot-on with their decision on this Roadrunner, as a blown first-round draft selection could cost some general manager his job in the future, if this talented athlete fails to pan out.

There is no question that within the scouting industry, Davenport is still regarded as a very raw talent, at least from the technical standpoint. Throughout the Senior Bowl practices, he failed to live up to lofty expectations, despite displaying a good burst and impressive body length in pass rush drills.

Davenport Scouting Report

Body Structure...Davenport has outstanding size and a developing frame, but still needs to add more power and bulk. He has a solid upper body frame, with a wide back, long arms, good lower body strength and room on his frame for additional growth without it impacting his quickness. He has a lean-looking upper body, but shows a good bubble and a tight waist.

Athletic Ability...Davenport has a rare sized frame with room for additional growth. He can be sudden in his moves off the edge and has good straight-line speed along with effective change of direction agility. He shows good hip strike on contact and is a normal strider who plays with good body quickness, but will get reckless and over-pursue plays, lacking good ability to redirect. He has the burst to penetrate and balance much like a linebacker, but gets washed out of plays often when he gets too tall in his stance and fails to use his reach to keep blockers at bay, as he also plays with poor leverage. When he keeps his hands active, he can bull rush, but has to use his hands better to keep blockers from attacking his legs

Football Sense...Davenport has good classroom smarts, but on the field, he lacks consistency. He uses his hands well as a pass rusher, but gets beaten even by the smaller blockers on running plays, as he fails to get leverage working in line. He has good lateral agility and balance, but will often out-run the play and then look lethargic trying to get back into the action. He is going to have to adjust to playing in a down position to rush the passer, as he does not seem to have the awareness and vision to drop back into coverage. He needs to sink his pads more in order to keep a strong leverage base and must continue to developing the strength needed to grab and drag down blockers.

Explosion/Pursuit...When he stays down in his pads, Davenport flashes good initial explosion moving at the snap and has impressive acceleration into the backfield. He just lacks the strength to shoot the inside gaps and prefers to make backfield plays coming off the corner. He is quick and agile, but does get reckless and over-pursues often. Given a clear lane and he can make impact plays behind the line of scrimmage. He displays good suddenness to gain advantage coming off the snap vs. an offensive lineman. He is a good striker with average hip flexibility. He is best when he beats the defender with his initial burst, as he consistently surprises the blocker with his explosion.

Strength at the Point of Attack...Despite his decent performance at the Combine, this is a work in progress, even with Davenport’s improved bulk and weight room numbers in 2017. He gets mauled by the offensive linemen once the blocker gets a piece of his jersey and needs to use his reach better to keep the opponent off his body in order to be effective. When he execute his hand punch, he can deliver a decent jolt to rock the blocker back, but must keep his hands inside his frame to be more effective. He simply can not hold his ground when the offensive lineman attacks him on run plays and if asked to handle gap assignments, he is soon defeated.

He relies too often on his burst to make plays, but they are usually far and in between. He is not that strong enough to stack and hold at the line of scrimmage. His needs to continue improving his lower body strength, as he still gets beaten too much vs. the double teams. He does not have much confidence to use his upper body strength and quickness to shed and free himself up. He still has long stretches where he will struggle vs. the larger blockers, but he compensates by beating them with his quickness.

Use of Hands...Davenport uses his hands effectively to get a push off the blocker, but on inside gap penetrations, he has to use them better to protect his legs, as he gets cut blocked quite a bit. He is effective in getting his hands on the blocker to slip past his opponent and has developed good hand power, which he shows with an effective swat move. The thing you see on film is his ability to recoil, pull and jerk the blocker, utilizing his hand span to get a good grip on the offensive tackle. But, if a blocker gets a piece of his jersey, he will quickly lose that battle. He has good reach and leaping ability to high point and knock down the pass at the line of scrimmage or when trying to block field goals, doing both of them with good efficiency.

Lateral Pursuit/Effort...Davenport is quick to counter and change direction, but does get reckless and out-runs the play. The thing you notice on film is that he can’t handle low trash, resulting in him playing with marginal leverage. When he stays low in his pads, he can move well to contain the toss sweep. He can get out on the corners to drag the ball carriers down, but you sometimes question if his motor is running or he just lacks awareness trying to get to the action in space.

Tackling Ability... Davenport is not an explosive tackler, lacking power to go with adequate technique. He is fun to watch as he stalks and chases, but he does not generate the raw strength needed when trying to wrap and drag down the ball carrier (will engulf, but ball carriers can take a side and escape). When he is closing on the quarterback, he shows good closing burst, having posted eight pressures in each of his last two years. He is best in open quarters, as he still lacks enough weight to battle in-line, but he has to show that he has the ability to recover in space and stay after his man until the whistle. There are just too many low tackle game performances (see 2017 Southern, Southern Miss, Texas-El Paso games) to get a feel that he can develop as a consistent tackler.

Run Defense...Davenport needs to remain lower in his pads to be effective, as he has good foot speed and balance, but when he takes on the larger blockers, he can get washed often because he tends to pop up in his stance and leave his chest exposed. He relies more on his speed and arm reach to get to the ball carrier, but he does not have the upper body strength to just blow the runner up. He likes to give chase to the sidelines, but I doubt if he has a good concept for angling, as he tends to throttle down too much when he thinks he can’t get to the ball. He has some improvement to flash inside leverage and stack. When in pursuit, it is almost impossible to get a decent block on him, as he is so slippery, but he won’t be able to rely just on his quickness at the next level.

Pass Rush...Davenport’s length, reach and initial quickness will see him get on top of san offensive lineman in an instant. He takes a wide loop around the corner to avoid, but has the balance and burst to get to the quarterback in a hurry. He does not handle low blocks well and can be taken down when the opponent attacks his feet and he struggles to free up once he’s engaged with a blocker, even the smaller tight ends. He just lacks brute strength and has to rely on his quickness to apply pocket pressure. He does a good job of setting up the edge blockers before redirecting inside and his short burst always lets him beat the blocker at the set point. The thing I like is that he gets the blocker off balance with his explosion and that results in the tackle being driven back into the passer.

Closing on the Quarterback...Davenport has a good forward burst of speed that allows him to close in a flash, but he will lose sight of the quarterback when he our runs the play. He seems to the ability to close, but you would like to see him generate more power behind his hits when trying to drill the passer. He gets too enamored with the sack and forgets his gap responsibilities too much and it is rare to see him consistently flash that second effort when his initial move fails, though.

Instincts/Recognition... Davenport plays with an inconsistent motor and lacks great awareness. He sometimes fails to read the trapping/blocking scheme and appears to be a high-energy type that relies on his quickness to get him to the ball. There are times where his reads are so poor, the ball carrier just takes a side and slips past him.

Compares To...Michael Johnson-Cincinnati Bengals...Like Johnson, Davenport is a pass rusher with exceptional size and quickness. He comes off the edge with an explosive closing burst on the passer. On the pass rush, he explodes up through the blocker to quickly gain an advantage. If his initial burst fails to beat the blocker, he will make every attempt to fight through in attempts to make the play.

Still, Davenport’s lanky, wiry frame gets him trouble on running plays, as he can’t sink his pads well enough to prevent double teams from washing him out. He will go through stretches where he seems too enamored with making the sack and will forget a lot of his other assignments, especially gap responsibility. Some “experts” compare him to the Julius Peppers and that can’t be further from the truth, as Peppers performs with a well-rounded game.

Virginia Tech v Boston College
Harold Landry
Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Harold Landry - Boston College

Injuries in 2017 kept this eagle from soaring.

After a 2016 season that saw Landry emerge, registering 16.5 sacks and 22.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage, an ankle injury would limit him to just nine appearances during his senior season. The weak-side defensive end’s numbers were dropping even prior to his injury, as he was constantly facing double-team coverage. That resulted in his sack total dropping to five and his tackle-for-loss figure reduced to 8.5 in 2017.

As a junior, Landry played in all 13 games, making 12 starts, as he led the nation with seven forced fumbles and 16.5 sacks. He was fifth in the nation and second in the ACC with 22.0 tackles for loss and notched 51 tackles on the year, including 24 solo stops. He also recorded four pass breakups, seven quarterback hurries and an interception.

Landry Scouting Report

Body Structure...Landry has a well-built, muscular frame with a tight waist and hips, long arms, good bubble, thick thighs and room on his frame for additional growth, if he is to stay at defensive end.

He shows good upper and lower body muscle definition, but if he is to move to linebacker, he might be more comfortable playing that position at the 240-245-pound range. Still, he has that type of frame that is basically built to suit, depending if he is asked to play linebacker or rush end. He has a good bubble, quadriceps and calves, long arms (78 7/8-inch wing span), broad shoulders and tight waist.

Athletic Ability...Landry comes off the snap with good explosion. He has the athletic burst from the edge to surprise a slower blocker and shows a fluid stride closing in the backfield. He runs with good body lean and while he has a light frame for a defensive end, he can carry additional bulk. He does not show the great hip snap you look for in a linebacker and could struggle getting good depth in his pass drops, as a result, if moved to a stand-up position. He has good lateral agility working down the line, but more often, he relies on his straight-line burst to angle to the quarterback. Still, for a defensive end, he shows quickness, good foot speed, fine balance and change of direction skills. He generates a good push off the Xs on the pass rush, but is not the type that will leverage. He is a swift-moving player into the backfield, but not as good when working his way down the line, as he lacked the supporting cast to prevent opponents from constantly double teaming him.

Football Sense...Whether in the position room or on the field, Landry shows good intelligence, great vision and solid alertness to the action around him. He has a good feel for blocking pressure and is quick to digest the playbook. His ability to close on the ball is the result of his decisive moves when flashing into the backfield. He does not get fooled by play action or misdirection and his field awareness allows him to play with good discipline and he remains focused throughout.

Explosion/Pursuit...Landry shows good snap anticipation and wrap-up tackling technique, using his arms well to try and dislodge the quarterback or runner from the ball (ten caused fumbles during his career). He is alert to backside movement, but does have problems reacting to blocking schemes when working in-line, as he can be tripped up by low blocks or absorbed by combos. He needs to avoid double team activity, as he lacks the sand in his pants to split. He does play with a good motor, but has to perform with better discipline, as he does not have the loose hips to recover when he outruns the play. He shows better instincts and awareness coming off the edge than when working inside the box, but struggles some locating the ball in pass coverage. He has a keen nose for the ball in pursuit, but has to show that he can readily adjust on the move playing down the line.

Strength at the Point of Attack...Landry shows good explosion and suddenness coming off the snap. He closes with a quick burst and is very comfortable working in space. He has excellent pass rush technique, as his speed coming off the edge will generally surprise an offensive tackle. He shows good bend coming off the corner and keeps his hands active, while displaying the quick feet to execute double moves. He has good weight room strength (24 reps), but he is just not the type that can stack and control in isolated situations when he fails to generate much pop with his hands. He is best when he tries to slip past tackles rather than engaging.

Use of Hands...Landry shows good hand usage to press, lock out and keep separation when trying to disengage from tight ends or lead blockers, but gets pushed back when combating bigger offensive linemen or vs. combo blocks when he fails to protect his jersey. He has the long arms to protect his legs from low blocks on the corner, but for some reason, loses sight of the same type of blocker when working in-line. He is quick to get his hands on the tight ends in attempts to reroute. He does a good job of stepping up and taking on the lead block, but reverts to giving a shoulder, causing him to get washed out of the play. When he gets good hand placement, he can control, get off the block and attack the ball (see 2017 Wake Forest, Central Michigan, Virginia Tech games). As far as having natural hands for the interception, he does not get many opportunities in pass coverage, making it hard to evaluate him there, if moved to linebacker.

Lateral Pursuit/Effort...As a defensive end, Landry has that quick initial burst to impact the backfield. As an outside linebacker, there are questions if he has the range to go sideline-to-sideline. He has good straight-line suddenness, but does not have the body torque or hip snap to suddenly redirect or generate suddenness working down the line than he can when just firing off the edge. He gets too tall and erect when trying to change direction, as he lacks great fluidity in his hips. When he uses his hands, he can get balance to thread through traffic.

Tackling Ability...Landry is an efficient wrap-up tackler who has the long reach-around agility to dislodge runners from the ball. He will square up and wrap, generating good explosion taking out the outside leg of a runner. He just struggles to shed when taking on bigger blockers or vs. combos.

He wraps up and makes secure tackles on the move. He has the functional strength to drag down the ball carrier working on the outside and when he collides with the opponent, he hits with a thud. He does a good job of maintaining his base when meeting blockers head on, but must add some bulk if he is to remain a first level performer, as the larger blockers can stymie him.

Run Defense...When Landry keeps his pads down, he can get under and around the blocker with ease. When he gets erect his stance and drops his hands, he is quickly engulfed. He has the burst to wreak havoc in the backfield and the speed to take the wide loop needed to avoid, but if he thinks he is going to win physical battles with an offensive lineman, he is soon defeated. He has good stacking ability vs. smaller blockers, but offensive lineman have great success containing him, once they get a piece of his jersey.

Pass Defense...Landry appears to have the quickness to run with backs and tight ends, showing good quickness and speed in the short area. But, when asked to drop into coverage, he is too choppy in his backpedal to recover and stay on the hip of the receiver. His marginal hip flexibility is seen through his drop, as he needs to gather before accelerating. He also seems to lack ball anticipation ability when playing away from the line (fails to locate the ball quickly). Landry is not used much to cover outside the short area. He is better in man coverage. He can read the bootleg, but is sometimes slow to react. He needs to be more aware of the play in order to get a good jump on the ball, but is improving.

Pass Rush/Closing on the Quarterback...Landry’s explosive first step gets him most of his success as a pass rusher. He comes off the snap with suddenness and when he gets a clear lane, can zero in on the quarterback in an instant. He has enough balance to sift out the screens (see 2017 Notre Dame, Virginia Tech games) and can get to the flat. He struggles when shooting the gaps, as he lacks raw power and moves to beat the double team (uses just a spin move there). If not for adequate hip snap and change of direction agility, he would be an ideal outside backer in a 3-4 due to his blitzing and pass rush ability off the edge. He runs with a quick burst to close on the quarter-back and shows very good timing to get a jump on the blitz. His quickness and athletic agility lets him flush the quarterback out of the pocket and he shows good urgency getting to the ball. Even with his success coming off the edge, he needs to develop a much better array of moves (rip, swim, club) to get leverage.

Instincts/Recognition...Landry goes through stretches where he lacks discipline on the field and at this stage of his game, his best value is just as a pass rusher, and even there, he lacks an array of moves, outside of his initial burst. He has great energy when roaming the field, but has to show better effort stepping up to take on the block. He needs to add more bulk to combat combo blocks and the offensive tackles. He might show hustle coming off the edge and good aggression, but is too slow to react in passing situations.

Compares To...DeMarcus Lawrence-Dallas Cowboys...While some teams have worked Landry out at outside linebacker, his best avenue for success is as an edge rusher. Landry could eventually develop into another Chad Brown (ex-Seattle) type of pass rusher at the next level, but the NFL’s love for pass rushers, rather than looking at the “complete” picture has spelled doom and gloom for a lot of teams taking tweeners early in the draft. Houston had a similar early round bust in Jason Babin and Buffalo Bills fans still regret them taking Corey Moore a few years back, both undersized defensive ends that failed to adjust to life as an outside linebacker. Could Landry be the next flash in the pan? If used strictly as an edge rusher, he brings good value, but that is not the hefty price you pay a first rounder to only do. Like in most Perry Mason cases, the jury is still out on this guy.