From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling Georgia EDGE Robert Beal Jr.
#33 Robert Beal Jr., EDGE, Georgia (Senior) – 6040, 247lb
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Robert Beal Jr.||6’4, 247lb||10 1/8||34 5/8||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has the size and length you desire for the position
— Possesses long arms that allow him to get first contact on blockers after the snap
— Impressive athlete when it comes to timed speed and explosiveness
— Closes quickly in pursuit of the football, showing a hot motor
— Wins on second and third effort on his pass rush to the QB
— Led Georgia in sacks in 2021 with a host of talented defenders beside him
— Has impressive upper body strength to walk back tackles in the pocket
— Will long arm OTs, getting them off-balance by jabbing them in the shoulder
— Does a good job of countering back inside on his rush with a spin or slap/rip
— Plays with a firm base in run defense and can stack and shed blocks
— Has experience playing as a standup linebacker as well as with his hand in the dirt
— Showed some instances of dropping into zone coverage
— Athleticism suggests he has more upside to capitalize on his traits
— Will be able to contribute immediately on special-teams units
— Extremely raw when it comes to hand usage and a pass-rush plan
— Got pushed down the depth chart early in his career by more skilled players
— Made just 10 starts in five seasons
— Doesn’t always play to his timed speed in pursuit of the football
— Change of direction and lateral movement skills are below average
— Will get stuck on blocks, needing to get better with his hands to disengage
— Can lean into blocks or play too high, leading to balance issues
— Doesn’t play with much bend of flexibility as a pass rusher
— Wins most of his pass rush reps on effort plays rather than with technique
— Needs to keep his legs moving when engaged on blocks to maximize his speed-to-power rush
— Will be an older rookie who still needs notable technical refinement to his game
— Senior Prospect from Duluth, GA
— ESPN 5-star prospect, #2 DE in 2018 recruiting class
— Participant in the Under Armour All-American Game
— Committed to in-state Georgia and played in 11 games as a freshman in 2018 and recorded 15 tackles and one sack
— Saw action in just four games in 2019 and had eight total stops and one QB pressure
— Played in seven of 10 games in 2020, serving mainly as a reserve and special teamer
— Played in all 15 games in 2021 and started two, finishing with 23 total stops, a team-high 6.5 QB sacks, 16 QB pressures, and two PBUs
— Played in all 15 games in 2022 and started eight and had 26 total stops, three sacks, and 20 QB pressures
— Learning Design & Technology major
Robert Beal Jr. came out of high school as a highly touted recruit and one of the best DE prospects in the country. He committed to Georgia in 2018, joining a great coaching staff and was surrounded with tons of future NFL talent on both sides of the football. However, Beal ended up getting pushed down the depth chart after seeing action in 11 games his true freshman season. He operated as nothing more than a reserve/special teamer until 2021 where he led a Bulldogs defense that had future first-overall pick Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, and Quay Walker in sacks with 6.5 en route to a national championship.
When you pop in the tape on Beal, you see a physically imposing prospect who looks the part coming off the bus. Standing 6’4, and nearly 250lb, Beal possesses a sturdy build with a freakish condor wingspan. It reaches nearly seven feet, allowing him to get first contact on opposing OL on the snap of the ball. Beal pairs this long reach with the upper body strength to walk back OTs in the pocket on a bull rush. He also uses that strength to set blockers up like on this rep against Kentucky. Stabbing the RT with a long arm, he then pulls the blocker forward while ripping through, working around the corner to pressure the QB into an inaccurate pass.
Beal’s upper body strength and stout frame also show up in his run defense. He does a good job of attacking blockers on the snap and ripping off blocks in pursuit of the football. Watch the clips below of Beal stacking and shedding blocks. He holds the point of attack until he identifies the ballcarrier, then proceeds to rip off the block and make the tackle.
Beal has the strength, athleticism, and motor to string out plays to the sideline and keep outside contain against the run, as you can see in this clip against Missouri. He fights pressure against the RT to keep the runner from getting to the sideline and makes the stop.
As evidenced by his 4.48 40 time as well as his 10’3” broad jump, Beal is an impressive athlete when it comes to burst and closing speed. He covers ground quickly in pursuit of the football, displaying a motor to chase down runners or hunt down the QB. Watch this play Beal makes against Oregon. As the backside pursuit defender, he flattens down the line to make the stop for no gain.
Plenty of Beal’s production as a pass rusher came on extended plays in which he got “clean up” sacks rather than winning with refined hand usage. He is still pretty raw as a pass rusher despite five seasons in college and can be challenged when asked to change directions or move quickly in small spaces. Watch the play Beal makes here against Auburn. He manages to get the sack, but he shows tightness while playing in an upright stance, having his feet stall at the top of his rush rather than continuing to walk the blocker back into the QB.
Beal also tends to play too far forward and lean into blocks, causing him to lose balance. He can get stuck on blocks due to lack of technical refinement with his hands, thus neutralizing him for that play. Watch this rep against Kentucky. Beal tries to work down the LOS against the TE to get to the ball, but he plays with excessive forward lean and gives the blocker his chest, allowing the blocker to uproot him and put Beal on the turf.
Robert Beal Jr. is a physically gifted defender who got buried on the depth chart of the two-time defending national champions, but he has a lot of qualities that will be attractive to NFL teams. His size and length are ideal for the 3-4 OLB position and he has impressive testing numbers. He has good play strength and can overwhelm blockers with a bull rush as well as work off blocks against the run. Still, he must get better at shedding blocks and winning with more finesse as a pass rusher to truly maximize his physical traits at the pro level.
When looking for players in the league to compare Beal to, I fell on New York Jets DE Michael Clemons. Clemons is notably bigger than Beal as a base DE, but both have impressive wingspans and play a similar game: winning with brute strength at the point of attack while getting OTs to overcommit outside and counter back inside with a spin or rip across their face. Clemons is also a fairly stout run defender who can do a better job of consistently getting off blocks but plays with his hair on fire in pursuit of the football and closes on the ball quickly much like Beal does.
Clemons was selected in the fourth round of the draft last year, and while I may not expect Beal to go that high, his production in a limited sample size as well as his frame and athletic testing could get him selected higher than some would expect. The Steelers brought in Beal for a pre-draft visit and he projects to be exactly what they look for at the position as they fill out the room behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. He needs development in the fundamentals, but Beal is a good athlete. He should be able to contribute right away on special teams while serving as a strong OLB in Pittsburgh’s system, providing a solid floor with upside to develop into a nice #3 option.
Projection: Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.0 –Backup/Special Teamer (5th Round)
Games Watched: vs Oregon (2022), at Kentucky (2022) vs Michigan (2021) vs Alabama (2021)