Notes: Three-time South Carolina heavyweight wrestling champion. Senior football season was cut short by brain surgery - a tumor was blocking his spinal cavity, causing swelling in his brain. Surgery was performed in October 2007, at which time the tumor, which he still has, was determined to be benign. As a true freshman in '08, played all 13 games (started the final 12 at right end in place of the injured starter) and notched 34 tackles, 6½ for loss and two sacks with one pass batted down and two forced fumbles. Led the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles for loss in '09 by registering 52-19-11 in 13 starts at right end. Did not play in '10 - ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for improper dealings with an agent.
Positives: Looks the part with an athletic build, long arms and big hands. Has the speed, agility and movement skills of a linebacker. Flashes a dominant, explosive first step. Has loose shoulders to dip and bend the corner with speed and finishing burst. Gave Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo fits in '09. Coordinates quick hands and nifty feet. Spins off blocks. Shoots through the gap on stunts. Moves very well laterally and can flatten down the line and chase. Able to redirect and accelerate. Drops into zone with ease. Continued to work out and show interest in the program after being suspended and showed up in terrific shape at the Combine. Has upside.
Negatives: Does not provide enough resistance defending the run. Weak at the point of attack - plays too tall and does not constrict running lanes. Young pass rusher lacking nuance - raw instincts and awareness and is not yet a great finisher. Not physical. Needs to hone a more diverse arsenal of moves and counters - too reliant on speed and quickness. Lacks elite flexibility and burst at the top of his rush. Does not feel pressure or understand blocking schemes. Sack numbers are inflated - too much production is unblocked, against overmatched tight ends or vs. inferior competition. Is a bit of a country bumpkin and could endure an adjustment period adapting to the bright lights. Medical history requires scrutiny and could affect draft status.
Summary: A raw, nearly one-dimensional, open-side rusher with enticing athleticism, edge burst and disruptive potential. That said, his bust factor is significant given his lack of polish, instincts and physicality vs. the run. Flash player who is not a natural sack artist and needs to learn to translate measurables and weight-room numbers to the field, though he improved his standing in the eyes of teams after showing well at the Combine following a year lay-off. Has the length and pass-rush potential to be groomed as a rush linebacker. Still, some teams worry that his lack of physicality will relegate him to a pass-rush specialist role. A team betting on his upside is sure to draft him in the first round.