PROS: Is a smooth athlete with tall, long-armed frame. Has good strength and speed. Has the power to be a matchup problem. Has the strength to toss aside a blocker and make play at the point of attack. Can hold the point of attack. Shows a decent spin move.
CONS: Lacks the first step and burst upfield to challenge the corner. Lacks any pass rush moves and needs to learn how to disengage from blocker. Has poor hand placement when bull rushing, negating his strength. Lacks awareness and loses sight of the quarterback at times. Not natural moving in space and less effective when rushing with his hand off the ground.
OVERVIEW: Dunlap has the physical tools to be a dominant player at the next level. But questions of his motor along with being very raw with his technique means that his learning curve is fairly high. Was productive the past two seasons with 18.5 combined sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss. Blocked 3 punts and had 7 passes defended.
NFL FORECAST: Dunlap has potential to be a very good NFL player, but only if he can be coached up. I don't think he's an instinctual football player, so I'm not confident with his ability to be developed. He doesn't know how to place his hands squarely on a blocker's chest to get a proper bull rush. That's something that should be taught in the course of a summer by an NFL coach, but one wonders why he hasn't learned it to date. That's just a basic technique and the fact he doesn't know that (or at least doesn't use it) concerns me. So I fully expect him to be an underachiever on the next level. But with his athletic potential, he could be an underachiever and still be better than a lot of ends in the league. I think you're better off trying to bulk him up some more and playing him in a 3-4 scheme. He just doesn't have the motor or burst that I like his chances in the 4-3. In that scheme, I dont' see him being any better an NFL player than Jamaal Anderson. I think you can draw a lot of comparisons to him and Anderson, and I think he will not be an impact player in a 4-3 scheme. He may not be one in a 3-4 scheme, but I think he can be better there with some coaching. But I wouldn't expect Dunlap to really make significant contributions until his third or fourth season. I think it's going to take that long to coach him up and teach him technique. And this says nothing about whether he has the drive to do it. There is a buyer's beware with him. If he can be coached up he can be a guy that can give you 6-8 sacks a year and be a solid two-way defender. If not, then he's going to be labeled a bust and shipped off to a new place after three or four years, and then eventually fades into obscurity.
ATL FORECAST: It would be deja vu in Atlanta if they took Dunlap since he is just like Anderson. More athletically gifted? Probably. And while I do think our coaching staff is a good one, I don't think they would get a lot out of Dunlap. He is a guy that will probably get 3-5 sacks in a 4-3 scheme as a starter, and is not going to be an impact pass rusher. Many a Falcon fan will spend several years waiting for that to happen, and it probably never will. And given his issues, I'm not sure he would be handed the starting job like Anderson was. And if he was forced to earn it, I'm not sure he would.
VALUE: For a 3-4 team that wants to bring him along slowly, I would say he's worth a late second or third round pick. For a 4-3 team, he's nothing more than a fourth round value.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
PASS RUSH: 3.0
POINT OF ATTACK: 2.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.