What it takes to succeed as a college defensive lineman

The following is a breakdown of the six categories (size excluded) we use when evaluating college defensive linemen. Also included in each category are, in my opinion, the top three examples from college football today.


Best three examples:
1. Calais Campbell, DE, Miami (Jr.)
2. Bruce Davis, DE, UCLA (Sr.)
3. Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida (Jr.)

Anticipates the snap quickly and possesses an explosive first step. Is fluid and able to use double moves in order to keep opposing linemen off-balance. Shows great closing burst to the quarterback once he has turned the corner as a perimeter speed rusher. Ideally, is able to win with speed and power. Needs to have a wide array of pass rush moves. Shows enough strength to collapse the pocket with bull rush.


Best three examples:
1. Chris Long, DE, Virginia (Sr.)
2. Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU (Sr.)
3. Frank Okam, DT, Texas (Sr.)

Depending on scheme and situation, must be able to take on blocks to protect linebackers, as well as to make plays in pursuit. Plays with leverage, shows discipline and knows how to use hands to tie blockers up. Sniffs out the run quickly and is able to shed. Pursues hard and takes good angles. Plays with a great motor. Is a powerful and reliable open-field tackler.