6-3/251 Northern Illinois
Pros: Has a very good motor and doesn't quit on a play. Has a dangerous first step and ability to turn the corner. Has good speed and closes quickly on the ballcarrier, showing pop as a tackler. Can make plays in pursuit on the backside. Does a nice job getting off blocks when he's operating in space.
Cons: Overly relies on his edge speed, and lacks pass rush moves besides a rudimentary swim. Needs to improve his recognition and had issues vs. the zone read. Gets pushed back vs. the run at the point of attack. Will try and jump the snap, drawing too many ﬂags. Can get caught out of position in space and will over pursue at times. Can take himself out of plays by shooting upﬁeld, and doesn't have much experience working in coverage.
Overview: He's one of those relatively rare players that could potentially have success either as an end or linebacker. Although he struggled against the zone read, in one game he did show some progress as the game wore on suggesting coachability. NIU often lined up him all over the ﬁeld to try and create mismatches and take advantage of his pass rushing ability. Dominated lower level of competition, having combined for 30.5 sacks and 49 tackles for loss the past three seasons. Injuries are a concern, having been nicked up every year at NIU, although he hasn't missed significant time since 2004.
NFL Forecast: He's going to need to be coached up. At this point he's purely an edge player, but you love his motor and you think he's going to work to get better. As an edge rusher, he has a lot of potential. His future upside is probably greater at outside linebacker than it is at end, since he'll probably never be anything more than an average run stopper at end. But he'll make a quicker impact at end than he will at linebacker, since he'll still have to develop linebacking instincts and an ability to play in coverage. That could take two or more years before he really develops there. I could see him being a Pro Bowler for a team like Pittsburgh in three years. In the meantime as an end however, he could impact right away as a situational pass rusher. At end, in order to become a better starter he'll need to bulk up some. Doesn't have a great frame for that, but with his edge speed and his ability to pressure the QB, teams won't care too much that he is only 260-265 pounds or so. Reminds me a lot of an unpolished John Abraham.
ATL Forecast: English is the ideal candidate to eventually succeed Abraham as the Falcons top pass rusher, because if he's developed, that's exactly the player he can become. Like Abraham, he'll never be a great run stopper, but can make plays vs. the run because of how well he works in space and his ability to chase down ballcarriers. A year or two learning from Abraham, all the while playing across from him as a situational pass rusher, could do wonders for English's development. The durability is an obvious question, but the answer is similar to what the Falcons have done with Abraham, by trying to limit his number of snaps so he doesn't wear down. English is probably a year or two away from impacting as a starter, but could be an impact player as a situational pass rusher in that time for the team.
Value: English is a ﬁrst-round pick due to his upside is a borderline Top 15 pick.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
PASS RUSH: 4.0
POINT OF ATTACK: 2.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.