Scouting report by Dave-Te’ Thomas, NFL Draft Report
Willie Beavers really impressed scouts with his drive blocking ability at the 2016 Senior Bowl. Most had expected the WMU prospect to be overmatched vs. the top-level competition, but the three-year starter at left tackle was more than up for the challenge. He has one of the traits scouts look for in a quality left tackle “dancing bear” feet – his ability to get in front of the edge rushers to stall forward progress.
Throughout his last three seasons, opponents have had to battle vs. a blocker who can simply explode off the ball, showing a very good kick slide in pass protection. Still, what impresses evaluators the most is the way he plays with urgency in attempts to stay in front of defenders.
A three-star recruit out of South Lathrup High School, Beavers’ first season at Western Michigan was a learning experience. He saw increased playing time as the 2012 schedule progressed and even earned a pair of starts during his first season with the varsity.
During the course of the next three seasons, Beavers anchored the demanding left tackle position. He showed excellent recovery ability taking on the speedy outside pass rushers and his average of seven knockdowns per game proved that he has a strong base and nice initial punch. Some teams are so impressed with his straight-line speed to get downfield that they feel he might be able to contribute quicker in the NFL by spending a season or two as a trap-blocking offensive guard.
BEAVERS SCOUTING REPORT
Body Structure: Beavers has a linear frame with good upper body length in his arms and good width in his chest, but can add more bulk without it affecting his above average quickness. He has good thigh and calf thickness, along with a big bubble and the loose hips to redirect and move laterally down the line. His body is well-proportioned and with a dedicated weight room program it can easily fill out to the requirements expected from right tackles in the NFL.
Athletic Ability: Beavers needs to add bulk to his frame, but has room to do so without losing his foot speed. He has an even proportioned frame with large, soft hands, a very good wing span (34-inch arm length), developing upper body muscle definition, big bubble and developed thighs and calves (still looks more like a basketball center, but has the frame to carry more weight). He has good lower body strength to drive his man off and create movement, along with good explosion in his hips (just needs more power with his hand punch to rock the defender off the line in pass protection).
Initial Quickness: Beavers shows good initial quickness to engage and reach his pass set point, along with the athletic suddenness to gain advantage when he maintains good pad level. He plays on his feet with good balance, but needs to keep his hands active and inside his frame when trying to gain movement. He demonstrates good lower body flexibility when redirecting. He has impressive mobility to stay with his man, but you would like to see him finish better and show more aggression. He gets into his blocks quickly, thanks to above-average knee bend and his natural foot quickness. He can be sudden out of his stance and quickly fits into his blocks. Even when he is late off the snap, he shows good adjustment skills on the move (very good leading on outside sweeps). He has good initial quickness to slide, drop back and anchor in one-on-one confrontations with edge rushers, but he still needs to work on not taking false steps, as he will push forward instead of slide-stepping in pass protection, at times.
Lateral Movement: Beavers is able to slide and cut off the speedy edge rushers (showed marked improvement in the second half of his senior year, as he struggled to readjust earlier in the schedule). He has the lateral slide and mirror ability in pass protection, but does lack good hand placement. He runs with a normal stride and steadily builds his acceleration. He has good hip flexibility and can be sudden, but when he gets too tall in his stance, he fails to generate much of a surge, despite good leg strength.
Balance/Stays On His Feet: As the 2014 season progressed, Beavers became more aware of sinking his weight and staying low in his pads. He is a pretty efficient positional blocker who has the hip snap to angle his body and get proper initial hand placement. He knows how to run his feet, but unless he maintains proper pad level, he does not sustain for long. There are times that he will over-extend and lose balance. He is more of a position and wall-off type, thanks to his long reach, flashing good effort and desire attacking the defender (just needs to finish more). He will position and wall off with good desire and makes every effort to control the speedy edge rushers with his long reach. When he gets in front of his man, he uses his body effectively to stop the oncoming charge, but must improve his overall strength to prevent from getting pushed back vs. NFL bull rushers.
Run Blocking: Beavers can engage and work to sustain, but has to continue working on maintaining low pad level when trying to gain movement. He became very effective later in the season when attempting to bend his knees and running his feet on wash-down blocks. He shows a good thrust to get into space and is a decent position blocker when he gets in front of his opponent. When he uses his hands properly, he can turn and drive off a defender on running plays. He is able to gain position quickly off the snap and use his body to wall when leading on outside runs. He is still a work in progress when used for blocking in-line, but is comfortable making adjustments in space. He uses his body well to turn and drive out a defender, but would be much better if he had the strong hand punch and placement to control.
Pass Blocking: Beavers has the flexibility to drop his rear and anchor when he gets to his pass-set point, but there are times he will duck his head and defenders can then spin him around or walk him back into the pocket. He can reach block when he stays low in his pads (struggles to adjust on the move when he gets too tall in his stance). He shows functional lower body flexibility and proper knee bend to strike on the move and has the long arms to punch and separate (needs to improve his hand placement, as he lacks grip strength). The thing you see on film is that he is able to match step-for-step with the athletic moves of a defensive end due to good knee bend (will waist bend when he gets high in his stance).
2015 SEASON: The Business major received an invitation to play in the 2016 Senior Bowl after he earned All-Mid American Conference first-team honors…Started all year at left tackle, finishing with 82 knockdowns while posting a blocking consistency grade of 85.33%…The team averaged 204.6 yards rushing per game, the second-best total in the MAC and 29th-best in the country.
2014 SEASON: Beavers remained at left tackle throughout the season, as the consensus All-Mid American Conference second-team choice appeared in a total of 875 plays…Recorded 10 touchdown-resulting blocks and graded 85.3% for blocking consistency…Helped lead the team as they averaged 438.2 yards per game in total offense and saw a running attack led by Jarvion Franklin average 170.8 yards while compiling 29 touchdowns.
2013 SEASON: Beavers was the Broncos’ season-long starter at left tackle, where his 827 snaps led all of the team’s starters…Among the team’s 10 touchdown runs, six came with Beavers delivering the key block…Helped WMU average 211.0 yards passing, as he recorded just two sacks on 307 pass plays.
2012 SEASON: The red-shirt freshman appeared in eight games to earn his first varsity letter…He started two games, making his debut with the first unit by participating in 95 snaps vs. Northern Illinois…Was on the field with the offense for a total of 223 plays.
2011 SEASON: Beavers enrolled at Western Michigan, but retained freshman eligibility while competing for the scout team.
AGILITY TESTS: 5.28 in the 40-yard dash…1.81 10-yard dash…3.02 20-yard dash…4.71 20-yard shuttle…7.96 three-cone drill…25 ½-inch vertical jump…8’-07” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times…34-inch arm length…10-inch hands: 80 5/8-inch wingspan.
HIGH SCHOOL: Beavers was ranked 96th best offensive tackle and 142nd best recruit in the region, according to Scout.com…Received honorable mention for all-conferences during sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
PERSONAL: Beavers is a Business major…The son of Jacolyn and Willie Beavers, he was born 10/02/93 in Southfield, Michigan.