Derrick Lott had a banner senior season for Chattanooga and impressed scouts with his ability to play over the head of a center as a nose guard, along with showing solid gap responsibility as a strong-side defensive tackle. What concerns teams is his medical history – right ankle surgery in 2009; right leg surgery in 2011; elbow repair work as a junior in 2013.
Lott reminds scouts of Washington Redskins free agent defensive tackle Barry Cofield, as he is quick to get position, redirect and extend his arms to stalk, wrap and secure the ball carrier in run containment. He has above average lateral agility, doing a good job of keeping his pad level when changing direction. He slides down and plays over the center when the team switches to a 3-4 defense and his ability to also play in a 4-3 base makes his versatility inviting as a mid-round draft target.
For a big player, Lott not only moves well laterally (7.30 three-cone drill at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine), he possesses a quick first step and flashes the ability to get good initial penetration. He closes quickly when chasing from the backside and generates excellent power shooting his hands to push back the blocker, along with demonstrating the lower body strength to neutralize double teams.
Lott does a nice job of sinking his hips and anchoring when taking on multiple blockers and showed in 2014 that he is capable of finishing the play. Once he locates the ball, he shows good urgency to close. With his size and long wingspan, he also creates problems for quarterbacks, as he has very good timing getting his hands up in throwing lanes when he recognizes he might not get to the passer in time.
Lott is really not a pass rusher, but when shooting the gaps, he is very active using his hands, as it is rare to see blockers get under pads and control him. He is stout at the point of attack and when he stays low in his pads and plays with a wide base, he prevents his opponents from rooting him off the line of scrimmage. He also uses his long arms to protect his feet vs. cut blocks.
Lott generates a quick initial burst when rushing the passer and good closing speed when he has a clear shot at the quarterback. He also shows the lateral movement needed to get himself involved in plays from the backside and the strong anchor to clog the middle the field to stall the lead blockers coming through the rush lanes.
When Lott plays with solid leverage and uses his hands aggressively, he can easily toss the blocker off and make the tackle on runs directed right at him. He is also effective at sinking his pads and going low to gets into gaps to disrupt blocking schemes. For a 300-pound player, he also displays impressive playing speed (4.99 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL Combine) chasing the ball carrier down.
With his hand strength (30 reps in the 225-pound bench press), he has had very good success in attempts to dominate the isolated blocker and drive him backwards in order to get a pressure on the pocket or sack the quarterback. He pressures the quarterback well and can beat one-on-one blocks with a quick spin move, or rock the blocker back on his heels with a forceful slap move.
Derrick Lott Scouting Combine measurables
6-4/314 (4.99 forty)
33 5/8-inch arm length
9 1/8-inch hands
26.5-inch vertical jump
106-inch broad jump
7.30 3 cone drill
4.44 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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