2014-02-18 17:13:551 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
-by Taber Small, Contributing Writer; Image: James Gayle tackles East Carolina quarterback. (Image Source: Times Dispatch)
Here’s a look at a pair of defensive line prospects coming out of the ACC:
James Gayle, DE Virginia Tech
Gayle is a freakish athlete with great length and tremendous ability. He is an explosive edge rusher who displays good movement skills and fluid change of direction. He is quick off the snap and gets penetration in the pocket. He is an elite athlete who plays with tremendous speed in pursuit and covers a lot of area.
He struggles with consistently getting off blocks and stays engaged too long with offensive linemen. Gayle needs to learn how to work his hands and consistently play with a better pad level. He is a little undersized for an NFL defensive end and may best fit in a 3-4 defense as a standup outside linebacker.
If his production can ever match his measurables, Gayle could be a top-100 draft pick. He is a player that needs to put it all together to be considered an elite prospect.
Brent Urban, DE/DT Virginia
At 6-foot-7 and 295 pounds, Urban has the combination of speed, power and size that NFL scouts heavily covet for the interior defensive tackle position. He is a well-built player that is extremely athletic and explosive off the snap. Urban shows great upper body strength at the point of attack and uses his long arms to effectively get off blocks. I’ve been impressed with his lateral quickness down the line of scrimmage as well as his instincts to beat offensive linemen to the spot causing penetration in the backfield. Urban gets his arms and hands up on pass plays to knock balls down and has a total of nine PDs on the season.
Scouts would like to see him play with more controlled strength, technique and leverage. He also needs to improve his skills as a pass rusher while developing some moves to become more productive in this area. Urban has the ability to be a dominant player but needs to put it all together.
He’s drawn some comparisons to Houston Texans star J.J. Watt because of similar size and body build coming out of college. NFL scouts believe that he can fit into a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive scheme because of his athleticism and versatility. He’s battled through some injuries during his senior season, which shows toughness.
For more NFL Draft analysis from Taber Small, check out his blog NFL Draft Talent Evaluator.
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