The Washington Redskins are likely to draft a defensive lineman in the 2016 NFL draft. Selections could come early or during the middle rounds or on Day 3 it in part because of the depth at both end and tackle within this class.
Either way, there are traits teams look for among this behemoths, these pass rushers. Breaking Burgundy spoke with an NFC assistant coach about these qualities at the University of Maryland's pro day Wednesday.
Let's start with the basics, the three things scouts are looking for: "Flexibility" plus "if they can bend" and "if they can turn the corner" said the coach, who preferred BB not identify him by name.
One thing that many believe to be important, being in shape to continuously perform well while going through a gauntlet of drills, might not actually be the case said the NFL coach who also played in lineman in the league for several years.
"Conditioning is important but not as important because football is a long ways away," the coach said. Meaning potential draft picks will be worked into shape during training camp once they are signed to the team.
Essentially NFL teams are just making sure their prospects are fluid in motion in a handful of instances. They will work on making them consistently turn the corner during their development.
One of the reasons why the NFL does not harp too much on these young adults getting fatigued is because "they have been through a lot with all the workouts and stuff."
The coach told outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue: "don't worry about that, you'll be fine" after Ngakoue was worried about being burned out from several private workouts.
The hardest thing to do has a talent evaluator is to "look for guys that just got that special gift or something special about them."
A couple of underrated mid-level picks that the Redskins could have their eyes on include Ngakoue, who could bulk up to a defensive end, and Quinton Jefferson.
"They did great [at Maryland pro day]. They came out and gave great effort. They can bend the corner, for the most part guys are flexible," the coach said.
Safety Sean Davis is Maryland's top prospect, but others could hear their name called during the three-day draft including the later rounds where Redskins GM Scot McCloughan has a track record of finding talent, where the "core" of a team is built.
“I think Yannick may be a day two guy," the coach said. "I think Quinton may have a chance to be a day two guy. I don’t know where Keith [Bowers] is going to go yet. But I think all of the guys have a good opportunity to get drafted.”
Just as importantly, the Redskins will likely evaluate the Jarran Reed, Andrew Billings, and Robert Nkemdiche with flexibility, ability to bend and turn the corner, as well as having "that special gift" in mind.
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