Southern California Junior
Has a quick first step and uses a nice speed rush to get penetration. Has a good swim move, which he uses to good effect to be the guard. Gets upfield and is able to get leverage vs. the run. Can get off blocks and make the stop at the point of attack. Shows enough range and ability ot make plays in pursuit, and will give chase against a scrambling quarterback. Flashes potential as a bull rusher with power and a good leg drive.
Needs to improve his hand use and placement. Not as effective when he's forced to use his hands, and tends to rely on his first step to beat blocker. Will lose gap responsibility, giving up the big play vs. the run when he pins his ears back. Struggles against double teams and can get engulfed in short-yardage situations. Not super fluid when moving in space and doesn't have great range. Needs to do a better job keeping his feet under him when getting upfield. Motor can be inconsistent at times.
Casey flashes the tools to be a disruptive pass rusher. But he's not quite effective vs. the run and doesn't dominate at the point of attack like you prefer. He plays predominantly 3-technique in USC's 4-3 defense almost every snap under Lane Kiffin. He was moved around a bit more, playing some nose and defensive end in a 3-man front under Pete Carroll in 2009. He put up similar production in both years, combining for 126 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 9 sacks.
Casey fits best as a 3-technique in a 4-3 scheme. He has potential to be a very good pass rusher because of his quickness, a good swim move, and the potential to develop a good bull rush. But the key with him is becoming a more consistent run defender. An easy comparison would be to former USC pass rusher Mike Patterson. They have similar short stature and are disruptive, but I think Patterson was more consistent and had a better motor than Casey does. But that's the sort of potential Casey has. Like Patterson, he's a guy that can definitely make his presence known, but won't have a ton of dominant performances. The key will be how more effective he can become as a run defender. If he can improve there, he can one of the better defensive tackles in the league. If not, then he'll be just above average. I think it's going to take some time for Casey to develop, and he's not a guy that is going to quickly impact in the league. But by his second or third year, he should have made enough strides to be a trusted starter for most teams.
Casey has the disruptive potential and ability as a pass rusher to be a good fit in Atlanta. But he's probably not a great fit to make an early impact. He can definitely produce in the rotation, performing a similar role as Peria Jerry. Because he has a quicker first step than Jerry, he probably would be better in that role, at least a year or two from now than Jerry currently is. By his third season, he should have improved enough where he is a trusted starter. He can be an above average to good starter in Atlanta, but probably not a dominant interior presence because of his issues vs. the run.
Casey flashes first round potential in terms of his ability to pressure the quarterback. But because he's less effective when it comes to defending the run, he is a bit too one-dimensional and raw to go that high. But he's a solid second round value for a 4-3 team looking to improve their pressure up the middle.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point Of Attack: 3.0
Pass Rush: 3.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.