6-4/270 Jackson State
Pros: Is active and constantly around the ball due to a good motor. Does a decent job at the point of attack. Does his best work when working upfield or rushing the passer. Can play with his hand on or off the ground.
Cons: Lacks ideal speed or burst for a linebacker. A classic tweener that lacks the size for end, but the speed for linebacker. Lacks pop as a tackler. Lacks pass rush moves when he’s coming off the edge. Gets engulfed too often when he plays with his hand on the ground vs. the run.
Overview: Benard was a very productive player at Jackson State, finishing his senior year with 84 tackles and 15 sacks. But he is a good player at a lower level of competition. Had he played at a mid-level SEC school, he still would have probably started, but just wouldn’t have been an impact player. Was a transfer from Grand Rapids CC. He played a hybrid end/linebacker position in Jackson State’s 4-4-3 scheme.
NFL Forecast: Although he’s listed at end, I think Benard should be considered a linebacker, since that’s where he projects best at. He could be a decent backup option in a 3-4 scheme, but I don’t see him sticking unless he stars on special teams. He has the motor you like and was very productive, but lacks the ideal burst and speed you look for in a linebacker. And while he was a very productive pass rusher, he’s nothing special there. As far as moving to DE in the 4-3, I don’t even think he’d do much as a situational pass rusher. There are so many better players. More than likely, he seems like a player that might be good enough to make a practice squad, but I doubt he’d stick on a roster.
ATL Forecast: Don’t think the Falcons should target him. A camp invite would probably be wasted on him. He’d likely try to push for time as a situational pass rusher, and despite his motor, he’s not going to unseat anybody currently on the Falcons roster in that regards.
Value: Even for a 3-4 team, he’s not worth drafting. Sign him as an undrafted free agent and hope he can outwork somebody currently on your roster.
Scouting Reports of defensive ends in the 2009 NFL Draft.
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