Mike is one of the quickest defensive linemen that I have seen in a long time. He has good strength and uses excellent leverage along mature pass rushing skills to get into his opponent's backfield almost before the ball is snapped. He shows on film good change of direction skills, which makes him the type of player who could be used at different positions along the line of scrimmage depending on down and distance. Mike has excellent mental stamina, is a smart player and shows leadership skills through communication and work ethic. He looks to be an excellent teammate and works well with the other linemen. Mike changes the line of scrimmage on every snap. He is always off the ball quicker than anyone else on the field and that goes for the offense as well as the defense. He never stops working to the ball and continues to hand fight his opponent until the ball is out or down the field. Mike's foot and hand quickness cause a lot of problems for offensive linemen. If teams did not double team Mike, then the play better be going to the other side of the field or Mike would impact on that play one way or another. Mike is a quality football player and the team that drafts him will be drafting a core player and a fan favorite.
Mike has defensive end talents in a defensive tackle's body. Most people are going to think that he is a run stopper because of his size, but Mike is a much better pass rusher than he is a run stuffer for the next level. He struggles to shed blocks and make tackles, but uses his athleticism and quickness to go around blocks when making tackles against the run. He can be stout against the run because of his strength, but will have to learn better techniques. Mike is vertically challenged for his position; however, he has extraordinary quickness that can make up for his lack of height.
I never see Mike called for offsides and this in itself is remarkable. He is off the line of scrimmage before anyone else almost every time. I think he is limited to being use as a DE in a 3-4 defense because of his size. He struggles when he engages a big offensive lineman and must be on the outside to use his quickness to get his opponent off balance and than use leverage and strength to beat his man. He is a pass rushing demon and even if he is not making a sack, he is causing a sack to be made by his teammate. Some teams might be looking at Mike the same way that I do and other teams (because of his body type) might feel he is just not big enough to be a DT in a 4-3 defense or big enough to use as a nose guard in a 3-4 defense. I have to agree. With his athleticism he needs to work in space which means he is strictly a DE for a team that uses a 3-4 defense. You can use him on the nose when the down and distance is third and long but Mike is a pass rusher first. Stopping the run will come from him being on the outside and keeping outside leverage to turn players back into the middle of the field or making tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He is a smart kid and a hell of a player and the type of player I would not hesitate to draft, but he is not a run stuffer in spite of his body type. He is more athletic than most run stuffers are.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Jan /12