Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hawks Take In D Tackle In Fourth

by: Michael Steffes

After having a productive first day the Hawks must have felt comfortable staying where they were in the fourth, especially when watching how the draft board sorted out. The were able to select, Red Bryant, a quality player who may also get in the rotation right away.

With question marks around Rocky and Tubbs, this makes a lot of sense. Bryant is a very very large man (6'4", 318). He will take up blockers in the mold of Tubbs or Mebane. It will be interesting to see if the Hawks try and move up again with quality guys still on the board in need positions.

To read the Scouts inc report on Bryant...

Strengths: Shows good initial quickness for size, aggressive and makes the occasional play in the backfield. Has excellent bulk, though inconsistent in this area can stay low to the ground and is stout at the point of attack. Plays with a mean streak, shows good upper body strength and can shed blocks quickly though a little inconsistent in this area. Has excellent size and can anchor when teams run at him. Flashes an effective rip move and shows a good not great motor when rushing the passer. Gets hands up when isn't going to get to the quarterback, times jumps well and excels at tipping passes. Blocked an extra-point attempt in 2006, blocked a kick in 2004 and can contribute on special teams. Voted permanent team captain in 2006, is a leader of the field and shows a knack for making plays in key situations.

Weaknesses: Lacks ideal closing speed and doesn't always get there when gets a clear path to the quarterback. Takes too long to change directions, doesn't show a wide variety of pass rush moves and doesn't force offensive linemen to redirect in pass protection. Though flashes the ability to collapse the pocket and has the potential to develop into a powerful bull rusher, doesn't always get under blocker's pads or drive legs once in position. Doesn't always use hands to protect legs and struggles to fight over cut blocks. Lacks ideal range and isn't going to make many plays in pursuit. Gets too caught up in individual battles, takes too long to locate the ball carrier and gets caught out of position at times. While started 12 games and appeared in all 13 games in 2007, sustained a season-ending knee injury in 2006 and durability is a concern. Has some problems controlling emotions, lacks ideal discipline and is vulnerable to getting flagged.

Overall: Bryant arrived at Texas A&M in 2003 and redshirted that year. In his first three seasons (2004-'06), he appeared in 32 games (30 starts) at nose guard and right defensive tackle, registering 81 tackles (13.5 for losses) and 5.5 sacks. In 2006, Bryant tore the ACL in his right knee, returned for one game after sitting out a week, and then missed the Aggies' final three games after deciding to undergo season-ending surgery. As a senior he played in all 13 games (and started the first 12), finishing with 46 tackles (six for losses), one sack, two pass breakups, a forced fumble, a blocked kick and a safety. Bryant doesn't have ideal closing speed or athletic ability but he has the quickness, size and toughness to develop into an excellent run stuffer and adequate interior pass rusher if he can stay healthy and sharpen his technique. He projects as a late first-day pick as a result.