#43 OLB, Jeremy Beal (6’3 263 lbs.) – Oklahoma Sooners
Instincts/Recognition: Top notch instincts and play recognition. Is excellent at diagnosing run plays and attacking them. Quickly sheds blocks and locates the football. Keeps his responsibilities and does a good job of keeping contain on the backside. For a collegiate hybrid player, displays good route recognition when dropping into zone coverage.
Strength/Toughness: Is a workout warrior. Seems to play with more strength and leverage win lining up at outside linebacker as oppose to defensive end. Can hold his own against offensive linemen and tight ends, but needs to become stronger at the point of attack, especially when he is lined up play side. Could improve his anchoring and leverage versuses bigger linemen. Does a nice job of stacking and shedding. Arguably the toughest defender on the Sooners. Plays the game with some physicality. Not afraid to stick his nose in every play.
Range vs. Run: Not the fastest linebacker, but is athletic and quick enough to make plays from sideline to sideline. His play recognition allows him to play faster than his actual speed. Takes good angles, but can get beat to the edge by speedier running backs. Does a good job of extending his arms and stringing out plays to the sideline. Has the closing burst to chase down ball carriers.
Tackling: Uses his weight nicely and is a sure tackler. Wraps up ball carriers and delivers a solid pop upon contact.
3rd Down Capabilities: Quality pass rusher off the edge that shows a good combination of speed and power. Has some hip flexibility and shows the ability to flatten out and get after the quarterback, but isn’t consistent at flattening out. Has an arsenal of moves. His best being the hand slap and the outside in move. Gets off the ball quickly and does a good job at keeping linemen’s hands off of him. Gives non stop effort when pursuing the quarterback. Motor is always on and set to full throttle. Above average closing speed. Has experience in dropping into zone coverage. Is athletic enough to stick with some tight ends, but will provide a mismatch if faced with a slot receiver or running back.
Intangibles: Multi-year team captain. Is a studious film junky and gym rat. Leads his teammates more by example than by voice. A blue collar worker who possesses a blue collar work ethic. Durability isn’t a issue.
Overall Stock: Jeremy Beal is fortunate enough that coach Stoops played him at defensive end and outside linebacker. Instead of Beal having to go into the combine having to prove if he can stand up and hold up in coverage, all scouts have to do is put on the tape. He has an advantage over linebackers like Von Miller, Justin Houston, and Robert Quinn. While those three may be more explosive pass rushers, none of them have the coverage experience of Beal. I’d like to see Beal drop some of that defensive end weight to increase his speed, quickness, and explosion. Beal has also exemplified great consistency as a pass rusher over the past three years. Between his sophomore and senior year, Beal totaled 28 sacks, 53.5 tackles for loss, and 9 forced fumbles. He has all the tools to be a starting 3-4 rush or sam outside linebacker in the NFL. Teams that put an onus on work ethic and character, Beal will be high on their draft boards. There isn’t much not to like about Beal. All he has to do is be himself during the draft/combine process, and I see no reason why Beal won’t be a late 1st-2nd round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
NFL Comparison: Mario Haggan