From now until the 2019 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#23 Drue Tranquill/LB Notre Dame – 6’2 228
– Physical, old-school player whose strong at the point of attack
– Able to work off blocks in the run game, power on his punch and hand use to disengage
– Good vision, finds the football, and instinctual player quick to diagnose
– Takes good angles to the ball
– Strong, reliable tackler who limits YAC
– Best in press coverage, strong jam against tight ends and doesn’t allow an easy release
– Plays the ball well in the air, safety background evident in that way
– Excellent starting experience and productive career
– Viewed as team leader who works hard and passionate about the game
– Limited athlete who gets exposed in space, covering the edge, dropping into coverage, or manning up against backs
– Stiff in zone turn, a little too tall, but also struggles in man to man, will have to be a curl/hook defender in coverage at the next level
– Undersized, lacking bulk and length (31 inch arms)
– Spent most time on the boundary side, didn’t have to play as much in space while at linebacker
– Serious medical concerns with his knees, will have to get checked out at the Combine and potentially, some teams will red flag and remove him from their board
– 40 career starts
– Career: 292 tackles (25.5 for loss), 5.5 sacks, 3 interceptions
– 2018 (graduate year): 86 tackles, 9 TFL, 3.5 sacks
– Suffered two torn ACLs, 2014 and 2015 (left knee 2014, right knee 2015)
– Converted to linebacker from safety for the start of the 2017 season
– Named team captain 2017 and 2018 seasons
– Played linebacker and running back in high school, also excelled in baseball
Tranquill feels like a classic thumper. Strong against the run, questionable in coverage, even with his safety background. If he’s around the ball when it gets there, or if he can press off the line, he’ll win. But his lack of athleticism is a worry and two torn ACLs probably didn’t help him. But first, the good.
Dude is physical. He’ll take on and get off blocks in the run game. Shows great technique to keep the proper arm free and his run fits are sound. Football IQ is high and he has the hit power to finish the play.
He can press in coverage, too, disrupting the timing on routes. Falls off screen with the TV tape but you see it highlighted here, those safety skills kicking in.
But yeah, that speed and coverage ability is…not great. Or out on the edge, he can have trouble closing the gap.
Those injury concerns, too. Oof. The first one came at the end of an interception return. The second was super strong, going all Bill Gramatica in 2015, tearing his ACL celebrating an incompletion. When it comes time for medical checks/rechecks at the Combine, he’ll be one name to watch. Playing the last three seasons is a good sign but there will probably be concerns over long-term stability.
Two of the games I watched came against Stanford and Boston College. And Tranquill played well. Given those run-oriented offenses, it’s not a surprise. Put on the tape against Michigan, a team that spreads things out a little more, and you start to see him exposed. There’s a lot to admire about him but in this league, I can’t get too crazy about him in space. And that really hurts him.
Projection: Mid Day Three
Games Watched: at Boston College (2017), vs Michigan, vs Stanford