Virginia Tech Senior
Has a nice first step and shows good straight-line burst off the edge, particularly when he comes free. SHows burst to close on the quarterback or ballcarrier and can make plays on the backside pursuit. Flashes potential as a bull rusher with decent hand placement. Is athletic enough to drop in coverage and decent moving in space. Able to make the open field tackle on the edge when defending the run.
Undersized and gets pushed around a bit by offensive linemen. Hasn't quite developed the strength and power to utilize the bull rush. Lacks a go-to move and tries to run around blocks, tending to rely on his speed which isn't great as a pass rusher. Doesn't really have the flexibility and is a bit too high-cut to turn the corner. LImited in coverage. Gets pushed around at the point of attack by the tight end and struggles to make plays there vs. the run. Doesn't quite know how to use his hands to get leverage vs. the run and get off blocks. Loses outside contain too often and needs to take better angles in pursuit.
Friday is a decent pass rusher that flashes tools you like in a developmental 3-4 outside linebacker. But at this point he's too small and raw as a pass rusher to think he'll make contributions at the next level any time soon. But with time and development, he might stand a chance of competing down the road. A one-year starter at defensive end for the Hokies, made the most of it with 66 tackles, 15 for loss, 8.5 sacks, and 18 hurries. Three previous years as a reserve, combined for 19 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 10 hurries.
He was listed at around 250 by the Hokies, and to make the most of his NFL potential probably needs to get that big at the next level. He's got enough talent that he can make an NFL roster as a rookie if he can prove he can perform on special teams. But he seems more likely that he sits on the practice squad for a year or two, adding strength before you can really expect him to contribute on defense. if he can put on the muscle, develop his power, then he stands a chance of being a decent pass rusher off the corner in a 3-4 scheme. He'll never be a dynamic rusher, but the type of guy that can potentially contribute 3-5 sacks a year if he develops and improves his technique and add some moves. He's athletic enough to make plays vs. the run and in coverage, but he's very raw there. If he does develop, he won't be an impact playmaker in a 3-4 lineup, but a good backup and potentially decent complementary starter. He could be like a poor man's Manny Lawson that can play opposite a more dynamic guy. But don't expect Friday to make any impact before his third or so season as he's a long-term project.
Friday is too small to impact in the Falcons scheme as a defensive end, so they would have to concentrate on trying to make him into a linebacker. He has the athletic tools to contribute there, but is probably too much of a project to really like his chances to stick long-term and not a great fit unless he suddenly develops instincts and ability to make plays in coverage.
For a 3-4 team looking for a developmental project, he is talented enough to merit a late-round selection. Taking him in the late sixth or seventh round would be ideal if you can afford to stash him on your roster for a few years.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.0
Pass Rush: 3.5
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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