Scouting the 2020 NFL Draft: DT Ross Blacklock, TCU

Ross Blacklock, TCU (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Ross Blacklock, TCU (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
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Ross Blacklock, TCU
Ross Blacklock, TCU (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Position Specifics

These are traits that are specific to the defensive line positions.

Upfield Burst – Displayed a very good first step quickness to shoot gaps against both the run and pass, providing immediate pressure in the backfield. Extremely twitchy for a man his size. He has showcased the ability to outmaneuver blockers with twitchy movements and the ability to work in and out of gaps.

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Pass Rush – Power, strong hands, and length make Blacklock a nightmare for offensive lines. When he times the snap well, it’s nearly impossible for guards and centers to get out of their set in time before he’s in their gap assignment. Flashes of pass-rushing moves including a fluid rip move, push/pull, swipes, and chop moves.

Good ability to use his length to keep blockers off of his chest and power to jolt them backward with his heavy hands. When he gets to the NFL, development with pass-rushing counters will be needed. Too many instances where he was late to counter due to a lack of pass rush plan. If he can put together a plan and become better at the timing of his counters, the flashes will become much more consistent.

Vs. Run – Elite lateral quickness while staying low working down the line of scrimmage against outside runs maintaining gap integrity while in pursuit, taking away cut back lanes. Flexibility once again allows him to penetrate gaps left by pulling guards.

Showcased the ability to get skinny when he had a good burst off the ball, allowing immediate disruption to play in the backfield. There’s still room for development when processing the run and misdirection, and he needs to work on consistently keeping his pad level low. Lower body strength needs improvement if teams want to utilize him as the 0 or 1 technique to anchor against double teams.

Use of Hands – Good placement of hands while using his length to extend fully and lockout blockers keeping his frame clean. Shows a very good ability to disengage when he gets fully extended, attacking the weak points well. Consistency of disengaging could improve when he develops a rushing plan, which will likely happen when he’s not asked to perform stunts/twists as often at the NFL level.

Pursuit – Excellent when in pursuit of running backs or scrambling quarterbacks. Takes excellent angles to the ball carrier from the backside of plays and will not quit until the whistle is blown. Consistently showed up ten-plus yards downfield chasing down plays. Works through traffic using his twitched up athleticism.

Stunts/Twists – There was no shortage of tape when it came to watching Blacklock perform stunts and twists. His elite lateral mobility and twitchy athleticism shined whether he was lined up in the A gap looking to bounce outside or lining up in the B gap looking to move inside. Displayed great timing and disguise to perform stunts and confuse offensive linemen. Converts speed to power well and his flexibility and COD shine when attacking his gap assignment.