Breakdown: Atlanta Falcons Select Vic Beasley

Everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons’ first-round selection of DE Vic Beasley out of Clemson from Scout's college and pro football experts.

Awaiting Image
Vic Beasley
Clemson / 6'3 / 246 lbs
  • OLB
  • [1] #8


Beasley had a big time career with the Tigers, finishing with 33 sacks (Clemson’s all-time leader) and 52.5 tackles for a loss. He tested off the charts at the Combine and on his pro day and looks like he will be one of the top pass rushers taken. Teams are looking at Beasley as an edge guy at defensive end or outside linebacker, depending on scheme. He has quickness, strength and speed to play either position but probably better suited to play OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Beasley is athletic and agile and can play well in space.

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation

The Falcons had to bolster their pedestrian pass rush. Help is on the way to Atlanta if from Clemson star Vic Beasley. This outside linebacker prospect had a big time career with the Tigers, finishing with 33 sacks (Clemson’s all-time leader) and 52.5 tackles for a loss. He tested off the charts at the Combine and on his pro day and looks like he will be one of the top pass rushers taken. He has quickness, strength and speed to play either position but will need some time to transition to the outside linebacker spot. Beasley is athletic and agile and can play well in space but will need time to develop his coverage skills.

It’s going to be “boom or bust” for Vic Beasley in the NFL, all depending on the scheme and position he is asked to play. I am firmly convinced that placing him on the defensive line will lead him down the same path as former Tiger and current Tampa Bay bust, Da’Quan Bowers. As a linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, Beasley’s ability to pressure the pocket (12.0 sacks, 21.5 stops-for-loss, nine hurries) as a senior would play out much better than taking on blockers at the line of scrimmage.

Take away his plays in the backfield and Beasley has made just 15 more hits in 2014, leading to a reduction in playing time down the stretch in 2014, as the coaches often replaced him in short yardage situations. Moving him to a stand-up position is his best option to avoid the “bust” tag.

Beasley has good muscle development, but needs further body tone in his lower frame. He has good arm length with muscular definition, thick bubble, adequate hamstrings and thighs. He added over fifteen pounds to his frame prior to his junior season in order to compete better at defensive end, but outside of rush end duties, he may be better suited as an outside linebacker, if he can generate enough foot speed.

In the past, when asked to work in zone coverage, the Tiger showed fluidness working in space and good hips for quick turn ability. He gains good depth, but sometimes stalls in transition at the X’s. He makes quick breaks and is good at maintaining relationship with the tight end, staying on their hips through the routes. Even when he is sometimes late, he has the recovery speed to compensate.

Beasley is not asked to play man coverage much outside the short area, but shows good hip snap and turn coming out of his backpedal. He has the speed to shadow and run with the receivers on deep routes. He is high in his drops and turns, showing alertness to locate and pick up the receiver coming out of his backpedal.

If a team is comfortable with using him strictly as a pass rusher, they get a player who leads all active FBS players in stops-for-loss (52.5 for minus 306 yards) and sacks (33 for 248) during his career. The school’s all-time sacks leader, Beasley has had a remarkable run to the record when you consider he has started just 25 games in his career. All 33 of his sacks have come in his last 39 games.

Rated at both rush end and outside linebacker, the Tiger has fluid change of direction agility and flexibility. He maintains balance redirecting and shows sudden initial quickness off the snap. He is a good leverage player with the hip snap and burst to close. He sheds with effectiveness and does a good job of using his hands to protect himself. He can stack and shed blockers, showing good strength behind his arm swipes.

Beasley uses his long arms very well to gain separation and can take on and utilize his hand power to split double teams. He can sink his hips and shows solid second effort to slip off blocks when his initial move fails. He has the pass rush speed and flexibility to turn the corner of the edge almost instantly. He blitzes with good desire and takes proper angles in pursuit. He is also very active with his hands in attempts to defeat the block.

The Tiger’s performance at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine verified that he is a good athlete and could make the conversion to linebacker at the next level, as he is quicker than fast and has good lateral agility. He has good straight-line quickness and the ability to plant and change direction fluidly. He does a good job of giving a shoulder and flattening working down the line.

While Beasley has good weight room strength, he does not have the bulk to consistently stack and control when working inside. He is best when given the ability to run and pursue down the line of scrimmage, rather than try to battle in close quarters. He has enough ability to stay tight with the short area receivers, but does struggle some to locate the ball when dropping off in zone coverage. He shows good alertness to plays in front of him, but is best when getting a clear lane off the edge, as he is slow to recognize side blocking schemes.

P>Beasley excels at sifting through and avoiding trash to locate the ball. He has good eyes coming from the backside and the lateral range to flow with the ball. He does a nice job of waiting for the action to come to him rather than over-commit, doing a nice job of neutralizing the bootleg. He shows good snap anticipation (no off-side penalties the last two years), knowing when to dip his shoulder and explode past blockers en route to the quarterback.

The pass rusher has a quick straight-line burst to disrupt the back-field activity, and does a good job of redirecting on the move, but lacks the lower body strength to simply walk offensive linemen back into the pocket. He has the foot speed to simply fly to the ball and his weight room numbers are good, but he often struggles to shed once a blocker latches on to his jersey.

You can see on film that Beasley does not have the lower body strength to hold his ground at the Xs. Yes, he is weight room strong, but because of his size, he does not generate enough force to work across blocks in pursuit and can be overmatched at the line of scrimmage vs. the bigger offensive tackles. He relies mostly on hand placement to gain separation and his burst and arm-over action to slip blocks.

Beasley shows good balance on the move and should be able to adjust to linebacker at the next level, as he generally played upright, especially on stretches and screens. He needs room to operate, as he is more effective as a pass rusher coming off the edge when standing up than with his hand on the ground. He does a nice job of planting his foot and redirecting when chasing down screens.

Beasley plays at a good pad level and is conscious of attacking the ball carrier’s outside leg to impede forward momentum, but it is rare to see him use his hands well to push back the lead blocker and clog the rush lanes. He needs to be more alert to side blocks and not try to get into too many one-on-one battles in the trenches, as he is better served making plays on the move that operating at the line of scrimmage. When he stays low in his pads, he can string plays out, but when he gets high in his stance, he leaves his body too exposed. He has the strength to hold ground on the edge, but lacks bulk to maintain position working inside.

Vic Beasley Scouting Combine measurables

6-3/246 (4.53 forty)
32 1/2-inch arm length
9 3/8-inch hands
41-inch vertical jump
130-inch broad jump
6.91 3 cone drill
4.15 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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