Vic Beasley surprised more than a few when he decided to return for his senior season at Clemson. The talented pass rusher had a big junior year, racking up 23 tackles for loss and 13 sacks with 4 forced fumbles and 6 pass break upsyear, but he opted to return to finish his degree as well as continue to improve as a football player. After turning in another productive year rushing the passer, his third season with at least 8 sacks, Beasley becomes one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft.
In Clemson’s defensive scheme, Beasley plays both defensive end as well as a leo backer. They consistently play in a four man front but switched which one of their ends was on their feet and which had their hand in the ground. As a result, Beasley has experience playing both in a tw0 and three point stance as well as rushing and dropping into coverage, which makes him prepared to play in a number of defensive schemes in the NFL.
Vitals & Build
- Born July 8th, 1992 (Will be 22 at the time of the 2015 NFL Draft, will turn 23 for rookie season)
- 6’2″ 235lbs (Listed)
Beasley is undersized both in terms of weight as well as his height and length. The bulk he does have, he carries extremely well and is very lean. Beasley is a remarkably explosive and fluid athlete with terrific short area quickness and the ability to bend. Beasley also has a non stop motor and will play through the whistle. The hope is that Beasley will be able to continue adding weight and strength to his frame, so that he can hold up at the next level. His frame suggests he should be able to do it, but this could be an issue that is thrown around as a topic of conversation.
Snap Anticipation & First Step
Beasley does a really nice job of anticipating the snap count and is able to get an advantage on opponents at times. There are situations where Clemson is lining up late or he is simply tired and he will not get a great start off the ball, but his quick twitch movements are so good, he is able to make up some ground on the play.
Beasley’s first step is elite. He is incredibly quick and covers ground whether he wants to attack up the field or slash inside. Beasley is able to operate from a two-point or three-point stance and fire off the ball well. His three-point is better because he is so good at having all of his weight go forward and it also lets him take advantage of his length quickly.
Beasley does not do a ton when it comes to shedding blocks. What he does at an incredibly high level is avoid getting blocked in the first place. And part of what makes him so good at it is beyond simply being so quick, he is uncanny at his ability to keep opponents off balance. Beasley can win with speed, but he also uses his hands well, can dip, spin, and just redirect his feet to leave opponents unable to get control of him.
The problem for Beasley is that when opponents are able to get a hold of him, he struggles to get off of the block. So much of what he does well requires him to have momentum built up and when opponents are able to slow him down, he does not have the power to fight off, unless it involves taking himself out of the play.
Beasley is a horrible run defender. It is to the point where when opponents run the football, they are playing against ten defenders. Some of this is the nature of Beasley playing severely undersized in Clemson’s defensive front. Whether lined up as a defensive end or on his feet, he is forced to take on blocks from opponents with anywhere from 60-100lbs heavier than he is.
There are some occasional bright spots where Beasley will make plays in spite of his overwhelming disadvantage with size. His quickness and ability to win off the snap enable him to create some problems at times and he will be able to get to the play before it even starts.
- Beasley does a nice job of overpowering and shedding Troy O’Leary to be able to wrap up the ball carrier’s legs
- In overtime, the last two plays of the game were counters that went left and at Beasley. On the first, Beasley stays square to the line and squeezes inside as he should. When the backs make their cut, Beasley takes on the block and forces Karlos Williams inside. The play does not look good because none of Beasley’s teammates were there to fill and they get a sizable gain. The only area Beasley could improve here is being stouter at the point and being able to squeeze the hole closed while keeping contain in case Williams would have bounced outside and he could make the tackle.
- This time, Beasley, possibly feeling slightly desperate, goes inside and tries to get the big play. The gamble does not pay off and in so doing, he gives the fullback an easy block and Williams has an easy touchdown outside to the left, which wins the game.
Part of what has to happen when teams evaluate Beasley likely involves projecting him to another position. In space, Beasley’s range and speed could be a real asset as a run defender. He can potentially fly around and make tackles, but when he does have to take on blocks, he needs to do a better job. If not, Beasley’s going to be relegated to being a situational pass rusher.
Beasley is as talented a pure pass rushing threat as there is in college football right now. He displays technical skill in addition to outstanding physical gifts which could make him a premier pass rushing threat in the NFL. His game is predicated on speed and quickness, but he does so much to keep opponents guessing that he has developed an outstanding array of moves to beat opponents.
- Beasley shows that explosive first step off the line and shows his speed up the field. He then rips through Erving’s arms as he flattens around to the quarterback to where he is square to the target and easily able to wrap up and secure the sack.
- Beasley shows off his snap spin move inside, leaving this tackle flat footed and if not for the guard getting just enough of him, he may have gotten a sack here. Nevertheless, his ability to sell the outside speed rush and spin inside is another tool in his pass rushing arsenal.
- Florida State has Beasley effectively doubled but he keeps pushing and when the blockers are unaware that their quarterback has gone outside, Beasley is able to get out of the block and deflect the pass, which is almost intercepted. Relentless effort here by Beasley and it pays off with a big play that forces 3rd & 12.
Outside rushing with speed, dipping his shoulder, spinning inside, sticking his foot in the ground and redirecting or converting speed to power, there is little Beasley cannot do. His overall size and length is not ideal, but he answers many of his critics with just how technically sound he is.
Beasley is smart about getting his hands up and trying to deflect passes when he knows he is unable to get to the passer, having success at it. He has good leaping ability and is to really make it difficult for quarterbacks to see through him in addition to simply knocking down. While Beasley had far more success in it his junior year, he does work to try to cause fumbles and will go for the football as he wraps up the quarterback.
Beasley does have weaknesses as a pass rusher; one minor one and one that could be more problematic. The minor weakness is his overall strength. Beasley can win with strength but it is created by his speed and resulting momentum. More strength will only help him get better and make him a better rounded threat, but he can beat opponents with power, especially converting speed to power.
The issue that could be a bigger issue is Beasley’s lack of counter moves. It is not because Beasley does not have the moves to use. He has practiced and developed an array of effective moves to beat opponents. The problem for Beasley is when he wins, he wins cleanly and when he is beaten by an opponent, he is often erased from the play entirely. Opponents able to get their hands on Beasley can either wash him out of the play or bury him into the ground. Beasley’s lack of overall strength and issues with beating blocks make it difficult for him to have a move fail and come back with another on the same play.
The flip side of the issue that Beasley has enough moves and a great feel on how and when to use them that while he tends to erased on plays he is beaten, he is so slippery and makes it difficult for the opponents to get to that point. Beasley can process information quickly and make adjustments on what move to use based on what his opponent is doing. However, because he is so light, he either wins with the initial move or he loses at this point in his career.
Beasley has played more coverage in his final year at Clemson. It is difficult to get him too many opportunities in that aspect of his game, because it requires losing him as a pass rusher. Nevertheless, Beasley’s athleticism, hip flexibility and overall speed make him really well equipped to be used in coverage.
Beasley’s been used largely to drop into a short zone, but he shows terrific range and there is nothing to suggest he could not be an asset in man coverage with work. He is perfectly capable to take on running backs in man coverage, but he may be able to do far more with time and work. While he is undersized for a defensive lineman, he is a really fluid body type for a small, athletic linebacker position and he could conceivably help cover against wide receivers and tight ends in the slot.
- Beasley likely is told to rush the passer here and if the running back shows like he could release out into a route, he needs to jam and then run with him in coverage. He does an excellent job here of getting the jam and basically stopping the route before it has a chance to develop as his teammates get the sack coming off the other side.
- 4-3 Weak Side Linebacker
The best fit for Beasley may be to mimic how the Denver Broncos have used Von Miller, especially early on in his career. Playing a weak side backer on running downs so that he can use his speed and reduce the amount of blocks he has to take on in the running game. He can drop into coverage or be used as a blitzer. In obvious passing situations, he can move down to an end position and rush the passer.
- 3-4 Outside Linebacker
Especially on the weak side, Beasley will be up on his feet in space where he can rush the passer or drop into coverage. He would not have to face contact immediately and may be able to get himself in better position to play against the run.
- 4-3 Leo Backer
For teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks, Beasley would stay at the position he played at Clemson. It would take away some of the burden of being a straight defensive end against the run while still making him a dangerous pass rusher.
While Beasley has been projected as high as the Top 10, he is far closer to a top 50 value with the concerns regarding his size and his ability to play the run. His outstanding ability to rush the passer will likely have him go somewhere in the middle in the second half of the first round, especially if teams are confident they can address or mask his issues against the run.
The clips were provided by DraftBreakdown.com