Sylvester has remarkable explosion off the line of scrimmage for a person his size. He has good size, decent foot speed and, more importantly for a big person, nice change of direction ability. Sylvester can play multiple positions on the line in different styles of defense because of his long arms and very good athletic ability. He loves to get into his opponent's backfield as quickly as possible to make plays and, because of his quick hands and his explosion off the line, he is too much for most offensive linemen to deal with. Sylvester has a quick twitch that you don't find in many defensive tackles. He has long arms and is able to keep linemen off his body so that he can shed and make tackles. When the play goes to the other side, he takes good angles and stops the play, rather than over-running the play and missing a tackle. Sylvester has to realize that he has unique athletic talent. Once he gets his head out of his buttocks, he will be not only be a unique talent, but also an impactful player for the team that drafts him.
Basically, what I see on film is a player who has unique talents and skills, but plays sloppy in all aspects of his game. This speaks to his work ethic, but it also speaks to the coaching. Sylvester can play against the run as well as pass rush from different positions on the line. The problem is that he likes to pass rush and make plays behind the line of scrimmage, but seems to be bored making plays at the line of scrimmage. Sylvester will need to get into a lot better football shape; a strength program for him is a must. He does a good job tackling form-wise, but loses a lot of tackles because he is not strong enough. There is a ton of natural talent in this kid, but some coach will have to use a stun gun on him to get his attention and get him play consistently. In the film I have, Sylvester is playing on a bad ankle and this could be the reason for the lack of consistency, or it could be an excuse -- and that's what teams are going to have to figure out.
If I'm right about Sylvester's bad ankle affecting his play on the field, look for Sylvester to fly up the boards after he works out at the combine. On a bad ankle, Sylvester still showed explosion off the line that not many players have for his size at any level. He still showed decent change of direction skills, very good pass rushing techniques and was able to make plays in the backfield. The problem is, Sylvester also showed a lack of strength to make tackles, an inconsistency in stopping the run and a tendency to take himself out of plays over and over again. Here's the key for me: Sylvester played on a bad ankle all year and never asked out of a game or a play and was still able to be a force on the field for his team. Maybe his off field work ethic can be questioned, but his on field work ethic shows me that the kid has heart. I love players who play with heart. I love the commitment to the coaches and teammates that Sylvester shows. Sylvester played this year without regard for his draft status. He played hurt and although he played sloppy, he still impacted. Interview this kid, get into his head and make your mind up if you would want to draft him at some point in this draft. For me, what I see on film is a player with the potential to impact and, at some point, become a dominating defensive lineman. I would slim him down, use him on the outside and let him loose. Sylvester has Osi Umenyiora type talent and I would think that any playoff team in the first round would love to draft a player with that type of potential.
Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart