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2022 NFL Draft prospect profile: Cincinnati LB Darrian Beavers

Should George Paton add a Bearcat to the defense?

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Tulsa at Cincinnati
Beavers is a long, instinctive linebacker prospect
Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Denver Broncos went into the offseason with serious questions about their off ball linebacker corps. George Paton addressed the position in the first wave of free agency, bringing back Josey Jewell and signing Alex Singleton from the Philadelphia Eagles. Questions remain if Baron Browning moves to edge. Will Singleton start beside Jewell? What is the long term plan when neither veteran is under contract past 2023?

Perhaps Darrian Beavers could warrant consideration.

Player Profile

Age: 23 on July 5th

Height: 6’3” | Weight: 243 pounds | 40-time: 4.7 seconds

Vertical Jump: 39 inches | Broad Jump: 123 inches

Wingspan: 81 1/4” | Arm length: 32 3/8” | Hands: 9”

A three sport letterman turned three-star recruit in the 2017 recruiting class, Beavers signed with the University of Connecticut out of high school and spent two seasons playing linebacker and defensive end for the Huskies. He transferred to Cincinnati in 2019 because he was “homesick” and became an immediate contributor as a linebacker and special teamer, starting 10 of the 14 games he played in. His role expanded in the Covid-19 impacted 2020 and he took advantage of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility in 2021. He wound up starting 41 of 62 games played during his collegiate career and notched 99 tackles and five sacks in 2021 to finish his time with the Bearcats as a First Team All-AAC selection.

Pick Six - Film Clips that encapsulate Beavers’ current skillset.

Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Collegiate experience at safety, linebacker, and defensive end.
  • Solid athlete overall who displays solid lateral quickness and agility to go with good balance.
  • Good competitive toughness, he shows a short memory and won’t let mistakes dog him. Plays ‘til the whistle and will make second/third contact as a pursuit defender.
  • Very good mental processing, an experienced player who clearly puts in the time to study tape, quickly he sniffs out the ball through misdirection and assignment sound in coverage. Shows good decision making on broken plays, such as the SMU game where he kept eyes on QB’s scramble up ‘til he flipped hips to stay with tight end in coverage.
  • Good vs. runs at the point of attack with a quick trigger, is adept at taking on blocks while still leveraging his gap. Shows a fundamental understanding of how to attack pullers. Length helps him to disengage and he’s proficient at working off blockers to influence the ball. Is a solid tackler in the hole.
  • He does a good job leveraging gaps vs. outside runs, playing force, and fighting the ball back inside to help.
  • Good when he’s attacking the line of scrimmage vs. run, shows a knack for finding creases to shoot the line of scrimmage to make tackles in the backfield.
  • He’s good in pursuit and displays the peripheral vision to step up and avoid trash when he’s on the hoof.
  • Solid in zone coverage overall because of mental acuity and understanding of concepts and routes. Instinctive vs. play action. Displays a solid ability to eye QB and assignment and the trigger to break on the ball. Profiles best as a hook defender in the NFL.
  • Has the ability to match and mirror average tight ends and backs in the league with his length, instincts, and athletic traits.
  • Displays good ball skills in limited exposure with the traits to improve, has long arms and will use them to contest the catch point or muddy a QB’s window.
  • Background on special teams and has the profile to emerge as a core four member.
  • When he’s playing along the line of scrimmage he displays a good anchor to force vs. run and a solid use of hands to work past blockers in pass protection.
  • Good blitzer who is at his best mugging the A/B gaps or as an addition to stunts as a looper with his feel, strength, and length to make the most of his rush.

Concerns

  • His athleticism on tape does not match the testing numbers, especially his lateral quickness and acceleration.
  • Marginal tackler in space, there was a missed tackle or two in every game I watched, often times after he shot into the backfield he lunged for a ball carrier who was just out of reach and missed him. This issue looks like it will continue vs. twitched up athletes on next level.
  • Athletic limitations will likely impact effectiveness in coverage, especially match zone or man. Will get exposed if he’s forced to cover slot receivers or better receiving tight ends and backs.
  • Lacks the twitch or bend to consistently threaten the arc as an edge rusher.

Final Thoughts

After George Paton was hired last year I took a look at the Minnesota Vikings draft history during his time there to try and get an idea as to what trends may be coming to Denver with the new general manager. I took note of the fact that Minny only ever spent two early round picks on linebackers, but drafted 13 on day three. Given the Broncos’ current questions around their LB corps. I do expect a later round backer this year. Darrian Beavers is someone that makes a ton of sense.

Like Jewell, Beavers is a very instinctive banger who does the little things a defense needs from their linebackers, and like Jewell his athletic limitations will hurt him in coverage at the next level. If Ejiro Evero utilizes him in a similar manner to what we saw Vic Fangio do with Jewell and Alexander Johnson, I think he’d be a good addition. His ability to take on blocks, attack the line of scrimmage, and read through misdirection to sniff out the ball are NFL ready. He also has the traits to be a contributor on passing downs as a blitzer. With that said opponents will try and isolate him vs. quicker athletes in coverage. If drafted, he could compete for a starting job early and contribute significant snaps to special teams. All told that’s a pretty good use of a day three pick.

Poll

Should the Broncos draft Darrian Beavers?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Yes
    (128 votes)
  • 45%
    No
    (107 votes)
235 votes total Vote Now