NFL Draft Michael Bennett Scouting Report
A defensive lineman entering the 2015 NFL Draft, Bennett played his college football in the Big Ten Conference. Listed at 6’2 and 288 pounds. He is a good fit for most 4-3 teams looking for an under tackle along the defensive line, otherwise known as the 3 technique. However some 3-4 teams might look at him as a 5 technique defensive end, although his natural fit seems to be in the 4-3.
As a true freshman, in 2011, Michael Bennett played in all 13 games. Despite his limited playing time as a freshman, he still was able to gain 17 tackles. Maybe more impressing is that he was able to tie for third place on the team as a freshman, with 5 tackles for a loss on the year. In 2012, Bennett battled a groin injury during the first four games. He still received limited playing time. In 2013 however, Bennett was able to become a full time starter. He rewarded the Buckeyes with the fourth best ranking in sacks for the Big Ten Conference, with 7. He paired that with his 44 tackles and 11.5 tackles for a loss on the season. In the 2014 season, he was able to maintain similar numbers. He gained 41 tackles and 14 tackles for a loss, to go along with another 7 sacks.
Speed, Agility and Quickness
Bennett displays great burst from the snap. He is able to use his speed and quickness to move around a guard easily, using his footwork and arm-over move. If the guard doesn’t have good lateral footwork, Bennett has the ability to be in the backfield all day.
Michael Bennett needs to gain more strength to become stronger at the point of attack. This would help him rushing the passer as well as against the run. Bennett struggles when facing a double team and is often easily pushed out of his gap. Doesn’t possess the strength to push the pocket and drive a guard into the quarterback’s lap.
Michael Bennett should hear his name called at some point between the middle of the first round to the early second round.
While Bennett is a few inches shorter, the way he plays with speed reminds me of Jay Ratliff. Ratliff played with more power and intensity than Bennett does, but that could be fixed with some strength and conditioning.
Bennett has made a name for himself using his speed and quickness to be disruptive, which will make the 4-3 teams that is looking for a “quick-twitch” 3 technique happy. He thrives as a interior speed pass rusher. You will find him getting pushed off of the line of scrimmage, but you will also find him getting quick penetration into the backfield. With 1-2 good off-seasons working with NFL caliber strength and conditioning coaches, he should be able to add some strength to his game and become more disruptive.
Join the discussion on Twitter @JMiller1387