Lorenzo Mauldin   OLB/DE   Louisville

TALENT BOARD ROUND 2

STRENGTHS
Lorenzo reminds me a lot of former Ram, Leonard Little, when he came out for the draft. He is a pure 3-4 DE/OLB or stand up edge rusher who shows on film the quickness and burst off the line of scrimmage to become an impact player in that style of defense. He has the athleticism to drop off the line of scrimmage into short coverages and has those long arms that will disrupt a quarterbackís vision and passing lane if he cannot get to the quarterback to make a sack. Lorenzo shows enough change of direction skills to finish and the agility to turn the corner on a pass rush up the field and make a sack. He looks on film to be a good teammate and works well with his teammates on stunts. He has improved dramatically this year from game to game, becoming stout against the run and becoming more aware of the overall responsibilities of his position in the context of the game plan. Lorenzo is a sleeper 3-4 defensive player in this draft and with time should become an impact player and leader for the team that selects him.

CONCERNS
Lorenzo has to get into a better strength and conditioning program because he lacks the upper body strength and mental strength right now to play a full 16 game schedule in the NFL. He also lacks the mental stamina and has a bad habit of disappearing in the 4th quarter when his team is behind. If he wants to be a leader than he has to play every down like itís his last down and not just show up when his team is winning. Lorenzo must continue to be serious about playing football for a living. He has to play and engage blockers with a better pad level and not lose leverage. This will help his ability to shed blocks. His tackling is not consistent and at times sloppy and he must become a more consistent form tackler.

BOTTOM LINE
Lorenzo has improved dramatically this year from the first game of the season to the last. Iím sure this is because he was going to come out in the draft; nevertheless, the improvement shows me that if he continues to improve, he can become an impact player. Lorenzo can set the edge when he uses the correct techniques. He has unusual peripheral vision that allows him to see and anticipate where the block is coming from as he is looking into the back field. This unusual skill allows Lorenzo to slip blocks with very little movement and still get to the quarterback. Most of the time you would say that a player like this is running around blocks and not taking them on, but this natural skill and peripheral vision allows Lorenzo to find a direct line into the back field that most players would not find. Itís almost like he mirrors the movement of the quarterback -- almost as a dancer would do -- as he gets into the backfield. Itís really interesting to see him do it and Iím sure until he proves this unique style of getting to the quarterback along with learning better pass rushing skills and getting stronger, this style (or dance) will drive coaches crazy and they will try to change him from doing this little dance. Leonard Little had this style when he first came into the league and believe it or not the Steelersí James Harrison has this same style of getting into the backfield when he first got into the NFL. Of course both of these players became power rushers with increased strength and techniques. I have noticed in the past that this ďvisionĒ style off the line of scrimmage is the start of a player becoming and impact power rusher for the team that selects them if itís developed and not coached out of a players pass rushing style. Another player who had this style when he first came into the NFL was NY Giant Michael Strahan. Itís not the same as a player who tries to run around blocks. Itís short, quick lateral movements that keep the opponent blocking them, off balance and is the key to making faster and quicker double moves with less use of energy. Lorenzo has this style naturally and it has to be developed along with the rest of his game but when it is developed the player who has it becomes an impact defensive player.

Drew Boylhart
APR/2015