As we delve further into the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason, our attention has begun to shift towards the draft. Like we’ve done in the past; these reports will cover the prospects of the 2015 NFL Draft, placing an emphasis on those who could help the Steelers the most.
Here is a name most aren’t familiar with: Lorenzo Mauldin. Played his first three seasons as a defensive end and converted to outside linebacker his senior season.
#94 – Lorenzo Mauldin/ OLB Louisville: 6’4” 252
-Uses hands well and to his advantage
-Already made the conversion to OLB
-Played left and right OLB, stood up and played 5-tech
-Has a variety of moves: excellent swim move
-High effort player
-Does a good job of putting his hand up when he knows he won’t get to the QB
-Played much better as an OLB
-Aims to create turnovers
-Plays too upright
-Doesn’t have a great dip or bend move
-Not very fast, slow off the snap
-Some missed tackles
-Has trouble shedding blocks at the point of attack
-Inconsistent at times
-Needs to add upper-body strength
-Tends to overpursue
-Loses 1 on 1 battles against QBs
-DE converted to OLB
-21.5 Career sacks, 119 tackles
-Overcame tough childhood, both parents in jail
-Track and field star in high school: discus, shot put and high jump
– Named to Class AA All-State Team in high school
-2nd all team ACC
-Came into Louisville weighing 240lbs
-Played in 50 games, started 33
-Played some tight end and 10 games of special teams freshman year
Mauldin was tough to evaluate before his senior season due to a position change. He played a lot of 3 and 5 technique at defensive end in which he will probably not be asked to do much of at the next level. His lack of size and strength did not help him much as a defensive end, so when he converted to outside linebacker, the strengths of his game shined.
He shows his swift swim move here as he takes advantage of a fullback. Great move as he has his sights set on the quarterback and lays down a nice hit. Not many fullbacks are used in the NFL anymore, but this shows Mauldin’s athleticism and ambition to get to the quarterback.
Here, he drops into coverage and reads run. While attacking the ball carrier, his lack of great speed and a poor angle taken makes him miss. Its great recognition to read the end-around but you would like to see him breakdown into form and keep containment. A simple dive at a shifty ball carrier will not cut it at the next level, very coachable flaws though.
Mauldin uses a great first step to shoot across the gap to make a nice play in the backfield. Even though he is lined up at defensive end, this is what you want to see out of an edge rusher. He gets in front of the tackle and shows some nastiness to his game laying a big hit.
What NFL teams are itching for on defense are players who can make and finish plays. Here, Mauldin is unblocked and does not use good form, if any to bring down the QB. He went for the swat before attempting to make the tackle, but as an edge rusher you have to be fully committed to bringing down the QB. It was a terrible pump fake so Mauldin should have made this place and is capable of making this play.
Here is a demonstration of Mauldin’s bend. Not very bendy and doesn’t dip well. He doesn’t use this often because it’s not his strong suit. Looks to be taking a good angle towards the QB, though.
Mauldin beats the tackle and chases down the QB. He actually over pursued the play but did not give up and caused the fumble. What he does so well here is that he knows he is laying down a hit, so he brings that right arm down on the ball and it comes loose. He displays great instinct, athleticism and work ethic and those are key attributes you want in your edge rusher.
The Steelers will be looking to add to their pass rush repertoire and someone like Mauldin may catch their eye. To me, he reminds me of Jarvis Jones and I’m sure the fans don’t want to hear that. Mauldin has a bit more size on Jones and his stock could rise if he runs a favorable 40-time. If the 3rd round comes and no OLB is selected yet, I don’t see Mauldin as the guy to be the first edge rusher selected for Pittsburgh. He will need to contribute on special teams to find his way into some playing time. The 4th round is a different story. Mauldin’s stock relies on his combine performance. If he performs well, he could sneak into the late 2nd, but it is unlikely. If he does not perform well, he could see himself being selected in the 4th round. If he falls to the Steelers there, he could see himself in black and gold. His likeliness to bust scares me because of the similarities of Jarvis that I see in him. His work ethic and high character are some huge positives that will lead NFL teams to see some mental value. With Jason Worilds tenure with the Steelers uncertain, one outside linebacker spot is wide open. Could you see Lorenzo Mauldin making strides to one day solidify one of the outside linebacker spots? Is the outside linebacker spot too big of a need to have the rookie come in and not be ready to contribute right away? I don’t see the Steelers reaching for someone with a position of high need.
Games Watched: 2014 at Virginia, 2013 at Kentucky, 2013 UCF
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