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Kamalei Correa 2016 NFL Draft scouting notes: Two-look Tuesday

In our Two-look Tuesday series, Dan Lavoie and another Buffalo Rumblings community member break down tape on a 2016 NFL Draft prospect. Today's subject: Boise State edge rusher Kamalei Correa.

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 sees the return of Grif, who wrote about Scooby Wright for us earlier. Grif wanted me to take a look at Boise State outside linebacker Kamalei Correa, who is one of his favorite sleepers in the draft, so we watched his game against BYU. Grif's notes come first, and mine follow.

Grif's notes

  • Shows great burst off the snap, but gets double teamed and stuffed by the left tackle and running back.
  • Covers the short zone on an incomplete pass.
  • Beats right tackle around the corner with speed, helps force an early throw and interception by the quarterback.
  • Bull rushes the left tackle over, forces the quarterback to dump off a short pass.
  • Run up the middle, Correa just misses a shoestring tackle in the backfield to possibly force a safety.
  • Uses his hands to push the left tackle off him, the Left Tackle re-anchors and pushes him over.
  • Tries an inside rush, gets handled by the right tackle and a chiping running back.
  • Tries an inside swim move against the right guard, it works but he gets stonewalled by the right tackle.
  • Tries another inside move, left guard gets his hands on him and gets stuffed.
  • Uses a rip move on the right guard for a sack and forced fumble. Showed great closing speed to catch the quarterback before he stepped up in the pocket.
  • Lined up off the ball, blitzes up the middle and wraps up the running back for a loss on a draw.
  • Lined up in a short zone, tries to jam the wide reciever and then covers the running back in the flat.
  • Beats the right tackle around the edge, quarterback steps up to prevent the sack.
  • Rushes in unblocked which causes the running back to rush inside and get tackled for no gain.
  • Tries to rush outside on a run, but the left tackle pushes him past the play which frees up a big hole for the running back to score. Tried to gamble and it backfired.
  • Drops into coverage vs the running back.
  • Gets double teamed and pushed off his spot on a draw. Lacks that pure anchor strength.
  • Lined up off the ball, commits to the inside run too early, running back bounces outside for a big gain. Needed to show patience on that run.
  • On the goal line, pushes the tight end completely off him to help on the tackle for a loss.
  • Rushes upfield, get pushed back by the tight end, jukes away and closes quickly to sack the quarterback.
  • Tries an inside move, gets stuffed by the right tackle, right guard and center in that order.
  • Attacks the right tackle's left shoulder but the tackle is able to get his hands on Correa and completely control him.

Pros: Versatile - can line up in multiple places , elite get-off, great hustle and closing speed, possesses a good pass rushing repetoire.
Cons: Short arms, needs to bulk up and get stronger, doesn't have ideal flexibility, occassionally gambles, a bit out of place when lined up off the line as a traditional linebacker.
Kamalei Correa is an impressive pass rusher and one of my favorite players  in the draft. In this game he showed great burst off the snap and the closing speed to rack up sacks. His ability to bend around the corner isn't elite but it gets the job done. Correa's big weaknesses are his lack of strength and his short arms. If a lineman gets his hands on him, he's stopped in his tracks. He also needs to do a better job of converting speed to power. Having said that, I think Correa is being underrated by the draft community and I see him as a 2nd or 3th round prospect who could immediately start and improve a teams pass rush.

Dan's notes

  • Playing RDE to start the game
  • Ooh, fast first step. Double teamed on the first play and doesn't go anywhere.
  • Second play standing up, drops into coverage on the RB. Looks like zone.
  • Now playing LDE on play #3. Goes inside, double teamed, comes free when QB escapes the pocket. Jogs toward the QB near the sidelines but pulls up and the QB throws a bomb for a TD. Whoops.
  • In coverage again, ball not thrown to him.
  • On LOLB two point stance, rushes around the edge but tries no moves and doesn't hurry the QB.
  • Rush from the left side, uses one arm to handle the lineman but can't disengage for a play.
  • Correa has done a lot of standing over the play once it finished instead of being the guy who made the play so far. :-/
  • Another fast first step from RDE, he catches the tackle flat footed and pancakes him. But the QB reads well and throws to a hot read.
  • From the one yard line, playing ROLB and is pancaked before he can make the safety.
  • A nice punch on this RDE rush, almost got a counter inside but he was slow and the tackle recovered.
  • Double teamed and gets nowhere on this rush.
  • Flashes a nice swim move against the RG, strip sacks the QB. Nice play.
  • Now blitzing up the middle and no one blocks him as he wraps up the RB for a loss. Good job ducking behind his linemen presnap.
  • Another solid punch, he compresses the pocket but doesn't hit paydirt.
  • Correa is definitely working on handfighting but might need to be more flexible... I'm not sure how well he can change direction yet. Haven't seen him dip around the edge.
  • Now in coverage on a tight end? No, he's covering a short zone on the wide side of the field. And wasn't challenged there.
  • Hey, here he's dipping around the edge. Average rip but he isn't able to come home, and then we have the second huge pass play.
  • Dude is not being targeted any of the times he drops into coverage.
  • On a big near-touchdown run, Correa was playing LB but got pushed aside by a lineman.
  • Nice job fighting through a block on the goalline.
  • Stonewalled by a lineman for a bit, but disengages and then uses that fast forward burst to finish the QB for what was basically a coverage sack.
  • Correa got close on this play but that's because his opponents were a pulling fullback and a running back. Still, he sifted through two guys.
  • Tries a spin move to get near the QB for a second chance but no dice.
  • I'm just not seeing the special bend or change of direction on this 4th and 7 that indicates a "creator" at the position. Seems like an average starter, a Manny Lawson "cleanup" type.

When I watched Correa play, I was reminded a lot of Bud Dupree, the Kentucky outside linebacker who went to the Steelers in the first round of last year's draft. Check out Dupree's athletic spider graph:

Dupree had an incredible first step and forward burst, but as his three cone drill and 20 yard shuttle indicate, he had stiff hips and didn't change direction well. The question with Dupree was: Can he win enough battles with his initial first step and punch to overcome his one-directional approach? There's a good reason this was in question. View the player comparisons, and you'll see a familiar name near the top. Aaron Maybin also had a great first step but a lousy three cone drill. That said, Maybin had problems with his core strength that Dupree simply did not.

Back to Correa. When I watch him, I see flashes of a great first step. It's not as good as Dupree (who was freak-level), but looks very good. I also see some stiffness in change of direction. He didn't turn the corner on a tackle more than a couple of times in this game, and most of his playmaking came because he had enough time to use a secondary approach to finish the play.

I like that he's versatile. I saw him line up at four or five spots on the defense, and he dropped into coverage and did a decent job. That tells me that his movement isn't awful. I like that he has multiple different pass rushing moves that he attempts, even if none of them are clear winners. He displays good power at times, although it's inconsistent.

I mentioned the notion of a "creator" in my last note. I subscribe to the theory that some positions require a creator, or playmaker, who can simply cause the game to change by their actions. Jerry Hughes is a creator. He has a level of athleticism and refinement that simply defeats linemen and breaks open the play. Contrast him with IK Enemkpali. They play the same position, but Enemkpali doesn't have the athleticism or skill to consistently threaten a player. If Marcell Dareus flushes the pocket and the QB is heading his way, you might see Enemkpali finish the job. But he's not out there causing havoc.

Creators are hard to find and most teams only have a handful on the roster. And the rest of the team is filled with complementary, cleanup pieces. That's fine, you need guys like Manny Lawson who are reliable, don't make mistakes, and take advantage when the opponent is in trouble. But obviously a team should prefer these "creators" when they get the chance.

The long-winded point of all this is that I think Correa is a good complementary edge rusher. He'll clean up plays and hold his own in the NFL. But I don't see a star player here. I'm also very curious about his Combine, because if it reinforces my expectations then Correa stays down on my board. Right now from what I've seen, he looks like a third or fourth round pick.