Pass Rush Skills: Lined up and rushed the passer from the 5-technique (DE) and 3-technique (DT). Not a quick twitch speed athlete. Doesn’t possess the hip flexibility to consistently dip and run the arch around Tackles. More of a power rusher. What he lacks in speed and quickness, he makes up for with effort and power. Excellent leverage and violent hands make for a top-notch bull rush. Shows a solid burst off the snap, consistently moving before offensive linemen. Is relentless in his efforts to the quarterback. Motor never stops, which results in a lot of hustle sacks and strips. Also displays above average closing burst. Pass rushing toolbox is limited. Needs to develop additional moves, and learn to counter. Impressive numbers for his junior and senior year — 28.5 TFL, 16 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries.
Versus the run: While at Defensive Tackle, very stout against the run in one-on-one situations. Has the right combination of strength, leverage, and arm length to hold the point of attack. Also has the short area quickness to penetrate into the backfield. Against double teams, he can be wiped out of the play. No where near strong enough to anchor. At Defensive End, he consistently stacks, sheds, and locates the ball carrier. Also does a solid job of maintaining containment. Can funnel or spill exceptionally well. Plays with violent hands, which keeps him free the majority of the time. Takes excellent angles in pursuit and is a sure tackler.
Versatility: Very versatile at the college level. Played up and down the defensive line all season. More than likely won’t see any time at Defensive Tackle at the next level. Given his size, he will need to make the jump to Outside Linebacker in the 3-4. Should be somewhat of a seamless transition. The athleticism is there to stand up and play in a two-point stance.
Instincts/Motor: You’d be hard pressed to find a player in the nation with a bigger motor. Everything is non-stop until the whistle is blown. Never gives up, chases ball carriers down from behind, works endlessly to get to the quarterback, and gets his hands up in passing lanes. Tires out Offensive Linemen and becomes a nuisance as games wear on. Displays above average instincts. Sniffs outs screens, delays, and misdirection plays. Does a nice job of staying home and keeping his gap discipline.
Intangibles: Where to begin? First and foremost, he’s an extraordinary individual off the field. Participating in many charities and community out reach programs. Tremendously intelligent. Double bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing from Texas’ McCombs School of Business Honors program. Graduated with a GPA of 3.6. Speaks multiple languages fluently and has been selected as a Academic All-American. Elected team captain in 2010 and won the teams team MVP award, defensive MVP award, and the strength and conditioning award. Also won a plethora of national awards, including the academic William V. Campbell Award, Wuerffel Award for community service, Arthur Ashe Award for minority student-athletes, and many more. He’s also deeply invested and dedicated to his faith.
Over Stock: The future for Sam Acho is at the Outside Linebacker position in the 3-4. At his size, he is much too small to continue playing at Defensive End and Defensive Tackle. Some doubt he has the athleticism necessary to make the transition, but I feel that he has more than enough. At the Combine, it was on display during the coverage drills. I don’t foresee Acho being a “Predator” Outside Linebacker. I think his tools are best suited on the strong side. He doesn’t have the speed or explosion to give Left Tackles fits. Acho is not considered one of the first round “premiere” pass rushers, however, he offers great value after the first round. Not many players possess the skills, intelligence and character traits that he does. That combination alone will have him coming off the board early in the draft.
NFL Comparisons: LaMarr Woodley (In terms of power rushing) and Tamba Hali (In terms of relentless effort)
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