NFL Draft Preview 2015: LB Vic Beasley
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series returns! Over the course of the 10 weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. For the sixth week, our focus are linebackers. Today's prospect is Vic Beasley out of Clemson.
After four seasons at Clemson, Beasley leaves as the Tigers' all-time sack leader with 33. Beasley's decision to return to school for one more season not only netted him the sack record, but also earned him the 2014 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award. His seven forced fumbles and two TD returns put the exclamation mark on a stellar career for the pass-rusher.
"Explosive" is probably the most fitting term for Vic Beasley. Snap after snap he's the first off the line, routinely putting huge pressure on the quarterback. He's put on 25 pounds since the end of the season, and his performance at the combine indicated he still had his quickness and explosiveness even at a heavier weight. His 4.53 40-yard dash time was the fastest of all OLBs at the combine.
The biggest knock against Beasley was his size during the season. He always had speed and explosiveness, but converting that into tackling power was a concern. However, after weighing in at the combine at a respectable 246 lbs, it's possible this issue will be overlooked. Despite his playing style Beasley lacks the alpha-male mentality, so some teams may dislike the prospect because of his lack of leadership.
In terms of pure pass rushing ability, Beasley is one of the best prospects since Mario Williams. His explosiveness and beefed up frame, coupled with his tenacity and great statistical showing, should make him a top-five pick. The 2015 draft has an unusual amount of extremely talented pass rushers expected to go in the 1st round, but Beasley is sure to be one of the first off the board.
Most mocks have him as the second OLB taken in the draft to the Redskins at #5. I think the best fit for him would be the Raiders at #4, though. In Oakland, Beasley could run that defense and learn a lot from veteran Justin Tuck for at least his rookie season. Oakland has a lot of issues on both sides of the ball, but Beasley could be a huge step in the right direction for their front seven.