2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Darrian Beaversby Gio Damico January 5, 2022 0 comments
The Cincinnati Bearcats have been everyone’s favorite story this college football season. Under the tremendous leadership of Luke Fickle, the Bearcats have found themselves in the College Football Playoff, which makes them the first Group of 5 conference team to make the top four. Their defense has a lot to be proud of this season, but while guys like Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant have received their fair share of recognition, Darrian Beavers has flown under the radar.
Beavers became one of five Bearcats to accept an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He utilized his extra year of eligibility and came on the scene while having his best season yet. Beavers, a three-star safety in high school, is a former transfer from the UConn Huskies football program. He transferred to Cincinnati after his sophomore season in 2018, and he has made his mark in Cincinnati. Beavers was named Second-Team All-AAC in 2020, but he only got better in 2021. He accrued 88 tackles, along with nine tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries – all career highs. Beavers’s combination of size and physicality makes him an enticing prospect in this linebacker class.
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Name: Darrian Beavers
Jersey: No. 0
Class: Redshirt Senior
Weight: 255 lbs
Games Watched: Notre Dame (2021), Indiana (2021), UCF (2021), Houston (2021)
Major Injuries: None
One word to describe Beavers is patient. He stays balanced regardless of the play call and does not bite hard on fakes. Misdirections do not fool him, and he diagnoses the offense well. There are times where Beavers needs to be a bit more explosive towards the play, but his relatively conservative approach has worked well for him throughout his career.
Except for a couple of missed tackles on tape, Beavers has phenomenal form and a high success rate at bringing down the ball carrier. He uses his size and power to his advantage and drives the ball carrier back whenever the opportunity presents itself. Most of his missed tackles happen because of the elusiveness of the opponent, rather than poor technique on his end. When he gets beat due to an athletic disadvantage, he still uses his length to trip up the ball carrier and stop the play.
Block Shedding (6.5/10)
Beavers works better off the edge when rushing the passer than working inside. Bigger offensive linemen lock him up and remove him from the play, but he has good bend around the tackles to pressure the quarterback. This can be looked at as somewhere in which Beavers has room for improvement, but he flashes hints of excellence as a pass-rusher.
Run Defense (9/10)
Because of his tackling ability, Beavers can play the run well. He squares up well and does not get beat by the running back often. He tackles low, which eliminates the running back’s ability to use his lower half to create missed tackles. Despite his pass-rush up the middle being lackluster, his ability to stop running backs on dive and power plays is impressive and will get him some looks from NFL scouts.
Pursuit/Closing Speed (8/10)
While he is not slow, Beavers lacks explosiveness at times. He is bigger than a lot of linebackers. So for his position group, he can be considered on the slower end. The Bearcat defense is flooded with athletes, so Beavers is not asked to close out in the open field often, but again, his tackling ability and spatial awareness allow him to make plays in pursuit. His pursuit is most notable on stretch and counter plays from the running back. Beavers can get outside and make the tackle before the running back can get to the sidelines.
Pass Rush Ability (7/10)
Beavers’ pass-rush works the best from the second level. Because of his patience, he offers a delayed pass-rush from the linebacker position that is too explosive for most linemen to stop in time, allowing him to wreak havoc on the quarterback. As a primary pass-rusher, Beavers’ technique needs some work. As previously stated, he gets locked up at the shoulders by bigger tackles and interior linemen, so he struggles to break through the line.
Man Coverage (7.75/10)
Beavers has a lot of length, which allows him to recover off of a faulty first step. It also works to his advantage if he is tasked with covering a better athlete. Generally, he doesn’t get beat often. He plays in man coverage with a lot of cushion, which occasionally hurts the Bearcats, but this is not foreseen to be a problem, rather just a product of scheme on defense. Beavers is a tremendous presence at the point of catch, which has allowed him to limit yardage or even break up the pass.
Zone Coverage (9.25/10)
This was one of his more impressive traits that came as a bit of a surprise. Not to sound like a broken record, but Beavers lacks long speed, which makes playing in coverage harder for a linebacker. He has tremendous awareness and always looks back and scans the quarterback’s eyes, which allows him an extra second to react when the ball is heading his way.
Ball Skills (4/5)
To go along with three career interceptions, Beavers can get his hand in to break up passes in coverage as well. His reaction isn’t perfect, but he has done more than enough to prove his ability to play the ball in the air. He does not need to play the ball often because his tackling ability warrants him to play at the MIKE or SAM and stop the run rather than drop back into coverage.
Considering he was a safety in high school, Beavers provides a lot of versatility for whatever team drafts him. He even saw some looks at safety at Cincinnati, but not often. His combination of size and athleticism allows him to move around on the field and potentially provide usage as a special teamer. Cincinnati plays him at the MIKE, the SAM, in coverage, and even as an EDGE rusher. Beavers can do whatever is asked of him, which is arguably the most valuable part of his game.
Beavers has areas in which he can improve, but there is no glaring weakness in his game. He is incredibly strong against the run, provides good tackle technique, and is versatile enough to play anywhere that is asked of him. At the next level, Beavers will probably fit best as a MIKE or SAM linebacker. The defensive coordinator does not have to view him as a liability as a pass-coverage linebacker. Beavers is someone who, with a good performance in the playoffs and the Senior Bowl, could boost his stock into the first round. He certainly has the talent, but for now, projecting him to go early-mid second round is fair. He has Pro Bowl potential if he can refine his pass-rushing skills and stay consistent against the run.
Rookie Projection: Rotational SAM Linebacker
Third-Year Projection: Starting MIKE or SAM Linebacker
Final Grade (83.5/100): Mid Second Round
Player Comparison: K.J. Wright
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