Davis Tull joins former Dallas Cowboys standout linebacker Dexter Coiakley (Appalachian State, 1994-96) as the only players to earn Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors three times. He ranks second in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision annals with 37.0 sacks, five shy of the record set by Cal Poly’s Chris Gocong (42; 2001, 03-05). He leads all active FCS players with 60.0 stops behind the line of scrimmage and is second with ten caused fumbles.
Through 48 games with the Mocs, he’s started every contest, finishing his career with 196 tackles. Used as a rush end despite his 240-pound frame, Tull delivered 58 tackles as a senior, chipping in with a league-best 10.5 sacks, as he ranked second in the conference with 18.0 stops-for-loss, causing two fumbles among his nine hurries.
Tull lacks the height scouts look for in a defensive end, but his quickness and lateral range makes him a nice fit for the strong-side linebacker position. He has a good flow to the ball and is alert to blocking schemes, doing a nice job of avoiding offensive linemen to make plays in the backfield. He shows quickness coming off the snap and flexibility, balance and body control as he smoothly runs the field.
Tull is quick to recognize blocking schemes, doing a nice job of avoiding them while taking the shortest path he can find into the backfield. He has a good feel for pocket movement and when dropping off in coverage, he reads the quarterback well, showing solid ball anticipation skills to compete for the pass at its high point.
The Mocs senior might be a bit hesitant at times stepping up when working in-line and this gives the blocker an opportunity of attacking and washing him out of the play, though. His intelligence and instinctive feel will see him consistently handle his responsibilities and he does a nice job of covering up when a teammate blows an assignment.
Tull’s potential success as an outside linebacker will be aided by the success he had had in quickly finding and reacting to the ball quickly, as this allows him to get into strong initial position. He plays with good discipline, and the last two years, as he gained experience, opponents found it difficult to get him to bite for play fakes. He gets into drop zone in a timely manner against play action and also does a good job of staying home backside against misdirection.
Tull flashes valid power needed to jar blockers in the hole. He has very good torso flexibility, knowing how to turn in his pads and get “skinny” to slide by blocks at the line of scrimmage. He generally takes sound angles in pursuit. There are some concerns to his ability to hold the edge against bigger NFL offensive tackles and tight ends if used as a rush end, as he needs to improve his hand usage in close quarters.
Tull is a strong overall hitter who does a nice job of wrapping up and finishing tackles. He breaks down well in the open field and is excellent at going down low and chopping out ball carriers legs. However, even with his impressive timed speed and good strength, he lacks explosion as a tackler and won't deliver many knock out shots. One bit of a concern in converting Tull to outside linebacker is his obvious lack of experience in pass coverage, as it was rare for him to drop back into the second level to cover even in the short areas as a Moc. He lacks ideal experience in this department and even though he takes good angles and does a nice job of reading quarterbacks eyes, he will need time to develop consistent zone and man coverage skills.
To his advantage, Tull is loose in the hips and changes directions fluidly, as this gives scouts confidence that he can eventually be solid in man coverage skills. His ball skills are below-average, though (no interception, one pass deflection in 48 games).
As a pass rusher, Tull possesses good quickness and suddenness off the edge. He is quite effective in dipping low when coming off the edge, making it hard for tackles to get proper hand placement. He is highly productive at running the inside loop off of defensive line twists and stunts. He also has a valid closing burst and shows the urgency to close when having a clear shot at quarterback. However, he does not counter well once initially caught by blockers.
Davis Tull Scouting Combine measurables
6-2/246 (4.64 forty)
31 1/4-inch arm length
9 3/4-inch hands
42.5-inch vertical jump
132-inch broad jump
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.
SCOUT.COM DRAFT RANKINGS
Position: QB RB FB WR TE OT OG C DT DE OLB MLB S CB K P LS