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2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Clemson OLB Vic Beasley

In a draft that's loaded with pass rushers, could the Clemson senior stand-out be the best fit for Gregg Williams's defense?

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Vic Beasley was widely regarded as a first round prospect last year before returning to school for his senior year. What could've been a disastrous decision turned out about as well as possible - he avoided injury, stayed productive and added to an already impressive pile of game tape. Is he the player that could take the Ram's defense to the next level?

Build and Athleticism

Beasley, listed at 6'3" 235lbs, is a long, lanky, athletic edge rusher. He has the length desired in a 3-4 OLB prospect but his build is lean, to say the least. I'm usually optimistic about a prospect's ability to bulk up, but Beasley's narrow frame gives me pause. Some people cite Von Miller, who bulked up from the 235lb range to 246lbs for the combine, as a favorable comparison but Miller had a much thicker lower half than Beasley, and the potential to put on weight was always there. Ideally, Vic Beasley can get up around 242lbs without losing a step.

Athletically, Beasley is among the elite. His first step explosion, straight line speed and closing burst are tops in this class of pass rushers, but he's more than just fast. He's incredibly flexible through his lower body and torso, with exceptional ability to bend the edge and turn upfield. Most of his sacks are won with pure athleticism which may lead to a learning curve at the next level, but it sure does lead to some highlight-reel plays.

Pass Rushing

Beasley's game is predicated on speed, pure speed. His get-off is explosive in every sense of the word and it's normally what wins him his sacks. That's not to say that he's a one trick pony; he's also an above-average hand fighter and his he plays with enough leverage to convert speed-to-power surprisingly well for a player his size.

Here Beasley was able to bat away Cameron Erving's hands, rip his inside shoulder through and beat him around the corner with speed. When he doesn't initially win with speed, he's inconsistent with his counter moves. He flashes what could become a lethal spin move when the tackle oversets expecting speed, but it's far from instinctual at this point.

While he is constantly creating pressure and getting into the backfield, he has trouble finishing at times. He aims high too often and doesn't consistently drive through his tackles. He notched 11 sacks this season but left nearly as many on the field. Here's a classic example (he's playing out of the 3-tech):

Yeah, Beasley knows right away that he fouled up. Let's hope for his sake that he can fix this at the next level.

Against the Run

Vic Beasley is a pass rusher, first and foremost. But to garner consideration as a first round pick, you have to be a complete player. Against the run he's just average. From a stand up linebacker position he's good at finding the ball and flowing sideline to sideline against perimeter runs, but he doesn't anchor consistently at the point of attack when the ball is run between the tackles.

With his hand in the dirt it's more of the same, but with the added bonus of him getting caught up in one on one battles too often. Ideally I'd like to see him get better at anchoring, waiting, and disengaging but hey, that's why you pay coaches.

Scheme Fit

As he is now, Beasley will make the most immediate impact as outside linebacker in a 34 front. Fortunately he is such an explosive, fluid athlete that with coaching he can translate into any defensive front. He didn't often drop into coverage at Clemson, but with his loose hips and nimble feet he shouldn't have a problem doing it more often.

Entertaining the idea of the Rams drafting him at #10 is, well, interesting. One hand, pass rusher isn't an area of need. But on the flip side, we do have a third linebacker spot to fill and Gregg Williams is creative with his defensive schemes. Beasley could slide into a Joker role, lining up all over the field and either rush QB, play a traditional linebacker role or drop into coverage. Unorthodox, but an interesting idea nonetheless.

Projection: Top 20

NFL Comparison: Bruce Irvin