Ryan has good size and excellent strength to play his position. He gives good effort on every play and makes the players around him better. He shows leadership skills through his play on the field. Ryan is very strong against the run and at the college level shows solid pass rushing skills. He is smart and if his opponent relaxes or takes a play off, Ryan will make him pay. Ryan is the type of player that gets stronger as the game goes on. He can play in a 1-gap or 2-gap system or as a defensive end in a 3-4 or 4-3. He looks on film to be an excellent teammate that plays within context of the game plan of the defense. Ryan is a quality football player who should become a core player and a fan favorite for the team that drafts him. Ryan reminds me a lot of Aaron Kampman (DE Jaguars) who was drafted in the 5th round of the 2002 draft by the Green Bay Packers.
I know there will be people who will suggest that Ryan can play OLB in a 3-4 defense. I know those people will work him out at the combine to see if he has linebacker skills. I know that Ryan will show adequate skills to play OLB in a 3-4, but Ryan will be overmatched at that position in a game. He is a Defensive End that should impact in a 2-gap defensive system. Just because he is not the perfect size does not mean he should be looked at for a position that he will overmatched in when, and if, he is forced to play that position. Ryan does not show the explosion off the line and change of direction skills to be a true pass rusher that the NFL likes to see in a impact Defensive End. This is why some are suggesting that Ryan can play OLB in a 3-4. In my opinion, that's a mistake.
Ryan is one of those players that, because he does not show the explosion off the line of a true pass rusher but has the intangibles to play at the NFL level, everyone is going to suggest should play a position that he will not have the athletic skills to play. It's the square peg in a round hole theory. I guess that Ryan can play OLB in a 3-4, but he will always struggle out in space and that will be taken advantage of at the next level. It's simple... after all the testing is done, Ryan needs to be in a defensive system that will allow him to just be Ryan. He is not fancy and is not multi-talented. His athleticism is limited, but he will be a quality football player that you will never regret drafting. I would think that any team in the latter part of the first round and early second round would be interested in drafting Ryan. Drafting a player like Ryan is one way in which playoff teams continue to be playoff teams. Ryan may not have that special explosion off the line, but he will be special to the fans and team that drafts him.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Jan/11