Position Ranking: #3
Strengths: Jeremy Beal is a good athlete for his overall size and shows versatility as a stand-up linebacker and also as a down lineman as a defensive end. Has a very good lower body to play with a strong base; flashes good power and strength. Can contain the edge in run support on outside runs and is a sure tackler with the ballcarrier in front of him. Shows good quickness on inside stunt manuevers to catch interior lineman off balance and push the pocket. Very effective on inside loops.
Shows double moves in pass rush when releasing outside to quickly work back inside and be disruptive. Very good foot quickness. Has the closing burst teams want in a pass rusher. Used frequently in pass coverage and shows good awareness when playing zone. Has the length, awareness, and quickness to break on intended pass targets to disrupt the short passing game. Not tentative, and will throw his body around. Gets hands up quickly to bat throws down at the line of scrimmage. Has been extremely productive in a top conference, producing over 25 sacks in three seasons.
Needs Improvement: Pass rush moves are very basic, needs to develop more variety. Not always aggressive fighting through double teams. Though his overall size is good, his body is somewhat soft and his upper body strength will need to improve to disengage effectively from strong, long-armed offensive tackles at the next level. High release from a 3-point stance neutralizes his lower body power at times. He was often tied up in the run game, allowing lineman to get inside leverage and draw him away from the ball carrier. Doesn’t have elite initial quickness to get off the ball and explode past offensive tackles.
Bottom Line: Beal’s versatility makes him a very attractive prospect to many teams. He has the ability to play both inside and out as a linebacker in a 3-4 alignment and shows the athleticism to be an effective pass rusher as a defensive end in a 4-3 alignment. I feel his best fit would be as a rush or inside linebacker in a 3-4. His coverage skills are good and he has the size to play the run strong inside.
Most of Beal’s production came as a result of being a better athlete than his opponents at the collegiate level, which won’t be the case in the NFL. He’ll need to develop more variety with his pass rush and also be more consistent with his bend and technique to be a productive pass rusher. He has light feet and moves like he’s 30 pounds less than he really is. Jeremy Beal has a high ceiling and pro bowl potential if he continues to develop his game and add to his raw talents.
Draft Projection: 2nd round