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2024 NFL Draft prospect profile: Brandon Dorlus, DL, Oregon

Can Dorlus help the Giants’ defense?

Oregon State v Oregon Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

The New York Giants defense will once again be in a state of transition heading into 2024. Not only do they need to figure out the coaching and scheme, but there are also personnel holes that need to be filled.

Depending on how free agency shakes out, the Giants could have holes to be filled in the secondary, linebacker level, and along the defensive line. But we won’t know exactly what kind of players they could look for until we get a better idea of their scheme.

So how about a player with a unique body-type who filled multiple roles at the collegiate level?

Oregon’s Brandon Dorlus is a study in contrasts as a defensive lineman. He isn’t tall, but plays with good length thanks to long arms. He’s built like a defensive tackle with a thick lower body and some fat around the midsection, but was used as an edge defender and even space player on occasion. He doesn’t have the mass of defensive tackles, but plays with impressive power. Dorlus isn’t fast, but his explosiveness jumps off the screen at times.

This past year, Dorlus was disruptive for the Ducks, playing defensive tackle, defensive end, and edge.

Prospect: Brandon Dorlus (3)
Games Watched: vs. Washington (2023), vs. Utah (2023), vs. USC (2023), vs. Oregon State (2023)

Measurables

Height: 6-3
Weight: 290 pounds

Strengths

  • Play strength
  • Length
  • Technique
  • Competitive toughness
  • First step

The Ducks played Dorlus all over their defensive front, from 2-technique to a stand-up outside linebacker. He was capable of being disruptive from each, though he was generally more effective from interior alignments.

Dorlus has an explosive first step, violently firing out of a compact stance and attacking into the backfield with good leverage. He does a good job of getting under blockers’ pads. He’s a powerful rusher who routinely puts blockers on skates, driving them into the backfield. Dorlus maintains his leverage throughout the play, maximizing his already formidable strength.

Dorlus has developed a solid array of pass rush moves and an understanding of how to rush with a plan. He understands who and what he is as a rusher, and bases his pass rush on his bull rush. From there he uses a speed-to-power move, club, chop, and rip moves to defeat blockers’ hands while maintaining his own leverage.

Dorlus is also a capable run defender able to drive blockers into gaps and force cutbacks, as well as detach from blockers to make plays on the ball carrier. He frequently drew double teams from opponents and was able to deal with them relatively well. Nobody will mistake him for a nose tackle, but he didn’t give much ground and was able to occupy guard-center double teams when he had to.

Oregon did ask Dorlus to drop into coverage on occasion, and he moves relatively well in a short area. Though that shouldn’t be something he’s asked to do often at the NFL level.

Weaknesses

  • Athleticism
  • Bend
  • Speed

While Dorlus has an explosive first step and the power to be disruptive in opponents’ backfield, he’s a limited athlete as an edge defender.

Dorlus lacks good foot speed beyond his second or third step, and his play speed slows dramatically outside of a short area. Likewise, he lacks anything like the bend necessary to routinely win with speed off the edge. He struggles to turn tight corners, which can allow quarterbacks to step out of his grasp or for running backs to gain separation from him.

Likewise, the lack of a “speed” element to Dorlus’ game can lead to struggles as a rusher if the opposing blocker is ready for his power. Dorlus’ hand usage makes him a difficult assignment, but his rushes can still if he isn’t able to generate momentum with his initial burst.

Finally, his limited and liner athleticism can hinder him in pursuit of the play. Dorlus is quick to pursue the ball and gives good effort. However, he can struggle to navigate the trash around the line of scrimmage and he’s unlikely to run anyone down from behind. There might also be questions regarding Dorlus’ conditioning. He is generously described as “thicc” and was rotated off the field with relative frequency. Teams will want to do their homework to see if this because he needed rest or if it was just part of Oregon’s defensive scheme.

Game Tape

(Dorlus is Oregon DL number 3, wearing long sleeves and long pants)(Dorlus i

Projection

Dorlus projects as a rotational defensive lineman with the upside to push for a starting job in the right situation.

Dorlus has a fairly unique physical and athletic profile that doesn’t fit neatly into “classic” boxes. He’s too small to fit the archetype for a defensive tackle, while also lacking the bend and overall athleticism to be an edge defender. However, he’s explosive and disruptive on the field and comes into the NFL as a solid technician. He should be able to find a home in any defense built on one-gap, attacking principles.

While Dorlus is able to hold blocks, drop into coverage, or rush off the edge, he’s at his best when he’s attacking individual gaps with power. Dorlus might best fit in a “multiple” defense, but should probably stick to the 5, 4i, or 3-technique positions at the NFL level.

Does he fit the Giants?
Dorlus could fit the Giants’ scheme, but they might need more speed up front than he can provide.

Final Word: A Day 2 value, though his draft stock could vary by team.