I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
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Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson - 6'3, 235 - Senior
Continuing on through the guys up front who can bring down opposing passers, you certainly don't have to follow college football closely to know that Beasley has been the guy who they have talked about for a few years running when it comes to sacks. He is an explosive player who makes more plays behind the line of scrimmage in the form of sacks and tackles for loss than pretty much any "Big 5" conference player in the land. He can destroy offenses and can often make it look easy. For his review, we looked at two tough days for his team in 2014, Florida State and Georgia, as well as NC State and Oklahoma - a bowl game that was as lopsided as they could be in this holiday season.
What I liked: You are looking for pass rushers with explosion who will transform themselves on occasion to an absolutely unstoppable force. Out of his stance he explodes up field and either goes right around the edge with a blur and the type of body angle that says "edge force" or he sets that up to spin back inside. He is relentless and he cannot wait to blow up a play. He is very good with his hands and his technique and can make a tackle look really outclassed on his day. He can set the edge reasonably well against the run and even was used to drop into pass coverage on occasion. Basically, it looks like he has the willingness to do whatever you need if you wish to use him as a pass rush decoy to set up zone blitzes to the opposite side.
What I did not like: It completely starts and stops with the reality that he is 6'3, 235. Basically, he is the same size and weight as Seattle safety Kam Chancellor. It means that he would be one of the very smallest edge rushers in the NFL and you would have to know that the second he gets there, opposing teams would run right at him. He is not stout and he is not going to stand his ground when teams do run at him. He also can be overpowered if he gets to close to tackles on the pass rush were they just fall on top of him and lay there so he can't move. Florida State's Cam Erving used that as his best defense because nothing else was working. His balance could be better when matched up against power and from time to time you wonder if he would have a position in the 4-3 defense. In fact, some teams would not consider him for that job although I was told by a scout that he is the type of player "you find a place for" if you are high enough to take him.
Summary:I once discounted a player because he seemed undersized for the edge rusher spot in the NFL and I feared if he would ever find a home. That player now has 49 sacks in 56 career games and his name is Von Miller. I am not saying he is Von Miller, but Vic Beasley is the real deal and has proven his worth with 25 sacks and an absurd 44.5 more tackles for loss in the last 2 seasons. That is 69.5 explosive plays in 2 seasons in a major conference while playing against a number of tackles who we consider NFL prospects. He has gifts around the edge that make his case for him. Sometimes you have to ignore the scale and watch the games and for that reason, I think Vic Beasley might turn out to be the very best edge rusher in this entire draft - and that says something because there are some very good pass rushers in this class.