Welcome back to Two-look Tuesday! Here at Buffalo Rumblings, we like to keep an open mind on 2016 NFL Draft prospects, knowing that there are members of the writing staff and community with different backgrounds and skills to collectively evaluate. That's why we're bringing in guests to help break down prospects for you.
This is a stream-of-consciousness series, where two viewers watch the same cut-up, write notes as we're viewing, and then deliver some short thoughts following the conclusion of the game. Two people may watch the same video and come out with different conclusions - or they may find themselves in total agreement. With the added perspective, we hope you'll join in with your own thoughts on the players we scout.
This week we're bringing back Steve Mason, who kicked the series off for us with a look at Taylor Decker. I asked Steve to look at a game featuring Utah State outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell. Fackrell's entering the league a little late - he'll be turning 25 near the end of his rookie season, owing to a lost year from a torn ACL in 2014. We watched Fackrell's game against Colorado State from this season. Steve's notes come first, and mine follow.
- Good speed and play recognition getting to the outside and stopping the screen pass.
- Shed the block well and hit the quarterback (incomplete pass).
- Jumped the snap pretty well.
- Real nice speed off the edge.
- Tends to bite on delayed handoffs and draws. Often gets sucked into the quarterback who doesn’t have the ball.
- Doesn’t have much of an inside game.
- Another example of his great speed off the edge. Almost brought the QB down.
- Has a tendency to overrun potential tackles.
- Nice job of looking into the backfield and not getting caught in the momentum of the play.
- Gets burned in man coverage. Bit on a juke move and receiver was wide open for six.
- Disengaged from the block well and made the stop on a run play.
- Just doesn’t work well between the tackles. Definitely an edge guy.
- Came on the blitz but missed the tackle on the quarterback.
- Nice penetration; took the inside gap on the tackle.
- Great sack on a nice move to shake the OT.
- Wrapped up the ball carrier well.
- Got chopped blocked by the running back.
- Fumble recovered and taken inside the 10-yard line.
- Nice job of working his way through the interior and putting pressure on the quarterback.
- Not very fluid in coverage, especially in man to man coverage.
- Decent amount of strength allowed him push his man back into the quarterback’s lap.
- Drew a holding penalty after putting a spin move on the blocker.
- Almost got a sack off the edge from the blindside. Another speed rush from Fackrell.
- Helps cause an interception on last play of game as he registered a hit on the quarterback.
Kyler Fackrell is an interesting prospect because he has some really nice flashes. But right now that’s all he is, a couple of really nice plays mixed in with some pretty bad ones. He’s fairly one dimensional and really only offers any value as an edge rusher. Off the edge he showed his speed and quickness, which should transition well to the next level. Where Fackrell struggled against Colorado State is defending the pass and stopping the run on a consistent basis. He got absolutely burned in coverage for a touchdown, and to be blunt he looks uncomfortable and awkward dropping back in man and/or zone. Based on this tape alone Fackrell, to me, is a late fourth or fifth round pick. His speed will intrigue teams who are in need of an edge rusher, but he doesn’t have much else to his game and that will drop him on many draft boards.
- First snap, lines up at ROLB standing up. Sees a screen pre-snap, beats a block and tackles it for a medium gain.
- Playing LOLB, drops into coverage in a short zone, not thrown to.
- LOLB, reading the run play. works past a blocker but the play went away from him.
- First pass rush. Against left guard, pulls past and hurries the passer.
- Working the corner against the LT. Nice dip, almost managed to keep his balance and sack. QB scrambles free and runs for 1st down.
- In slot coverage. Receiver blocks him, run play goes away from him.
- Edge defender against a lead blocked run. Would like to see him chase it down and defeat from the backside, he just watches it go away from him.
- Looks like a solid first step so far, not super fast.
- This guy is big. Listed at 6'5" and he looks that tall.
- On a blitz, excellent dip and rip against the RT. Hits the QB but can't take him down on the first moment. Wraps his knees and drags him down but the pass gets thrown away.
- Sniffs out a run play with a pulling guard and fullback lead and sifts past both for a TFL. Nice work.
- Fackrell has some good upper body strength in the run game. Isn't being beaten by blocks so far.
- In coverage in the slot, fooled by a double move. It was Rashard Higgins, who's a pretty shifty receiver, but you can tell Fackrell isn't going to be a dominant coverage LB.
- For an edge rusher, he isn't rushing the passer very much yet. I chalk some of that up to C State's offense with lots of three step drops.
- There's some nice strength. Playing a read-and-react against the left tackle (where the defender doesn't move until the offensive lineman moves), he rips him to the side in space to come free to make a tackle on the runner.
- 2nd and 10 and it's a passing down. Fackrell bulls the tackle and gets an arm up, but it's a three step drop.
- Unblocked, Fackrell rushes the passer but he steps up in the pocket. Fackrell not agile enough to match his movement and he's grasping at air.
- Nice swim move and then finishes with a rip to get the sack
- Great hustle play, Fackrell recovers a teammate's strip sack, runs with it for another fifteen yards.
- Unblocked as the backside defender, Fackrell chases down the RB for a TFL.
- Playing inside as a blitzer, bulls the guard backwards and almost sacks the QB.
- Fackrell doesn't win very often on his first rush, but his second effort often gets him very close to a big play.
- Fackrell draws a holding call on the tight end during a run.
- On a play that looked like a screen, he first went towards the RB, then watched the QB and correctly deduced that it was a deeper pass. Didn't get to his space though.
- 3rd and long, passing down, Blitzing at the LG - no, zone blitz. He drops into coverage but can't block the throwing lane and the pass goes over him.
- Does a decent job of knowing when a runner will come loose and tracking him upfield.
- A little bit of a counter move on that pass rush attempt, but he ends up doubled.
- ET stunt, hurries the QB on a three step drop but doesn't quite reach him in time.
- Tries the dip and rip again but this time the RT is ready for it.
- Has a great motor. I've seen him knocked down on plays but he gets up and keeps running towards it.
- Drew another holding call. Is that two so far?
- Looks like he tried a rip and then a spin move and the spin drew the hold.
- For a tall player, Fackrell has good balance. Does a nice job stopping and resetting direction when he turns the corner.
- This guy has been all over the ball tonight. Excellent performance.
- Threw the RT to the side and got another near hurry.
- There's under two minutes left and we're mostly playing out the string but I'm still seeing some solid play here. No lack of hustle now.
- One last hurry at the 50 second mark. The QB breaks contain and runs for the first down though.
- Ha. I said one last hurry, then on the next play Fackrell nearly strip sacks the QB, finishing with a hit.
- Why not, one more hurry on the last snap, that leads to a desperation interception in the end zone. Sifted through a blocking running back to leap and generate the bad throw.
- Seriously, even if you don't normally watch these videos, you should watch this one. It was a lot of fun to write up.
I really enjoyed watching Fackrell's performance in this game. While the official stats I found credited Fackrell with six quarterback hurries in this game, I had him down for nine. His motor, power, and balance were keeping both tackles on their heels the whole game. I was somewhat encouraged by his coverage skills. Obviously he gave up a touchdown to Higgins, but the 6'2" 200 pound Higgins is a speed receiver who can do what he did to most linebackers in college football. I do think Fackrell needs to becomes a lot more comfortable in zone coverage. While I did see him read the quarterback's eyes once, there were several times where he didn't really seem to understand the positions of receivers on the field and where he might go. But I was satisfied with him being as competent as, say, Manny Lawson or Jerry Hughes, as far as coverage responsibilities go.
I loved Fackrell's innate sense of balance. For a guy with his height, the ability to get low around the corner and not lose his footing is impressive. I don't see elite burst or change of direction, but I wonder if he has some room to grow another year removed from his knee injury. I also liked how he employed several different pass rushing moves, which suggests to me he is thinking about his approach rather than blindly rushing ahead.
Fackrell did his share of creating plays, but several of those were the result of second efforts, so I would slightly lower my expectations by understanding that I'm not seeing the dominant strength or speed that a #1 pass rusher like Hughes can demonstrate. I plan to watch Fackrell's 2013 tape, see him at his athletic best, and report on him with that in mind, but I believe he's worth a day two pick for Buffalo.