Has a tall, lean frame with good arm length. Has a decent first step and can challenge the edge at times. Will use his hands to work his way around the right tackle and has a good motor. Keeps working to the quarterback and/or ballcarrier. Will chase ballcarrier downfield and occasionally make stops on the backside pursuit. Shows quickness to fire off the ball and shoot inside gaps when he plays inside, able to make stops in the backfield. Flashes some ability as a bull rusher, mainly due to his motor and able to keep working the blocker into the passer. Shows ability to get extension to hold at the point of attack, and can stack and shed the blocker there. When he's playing in space, he's comfortable breaking down and is a capable tackler.
Lacks the ideal first step and not a guy that is going to beat NFL-caliber starters with his quickness or speed on the edge. Tends to live and die by his motor, and lacks the moves and technique to really disengage from the blocker. Doesn't have the ideal bulk to hold up consistently. Inconsistent with using his hands to get leverage at the point of attack, trying to lower the shoulder when working against the guard inside. Doesn't consistently get off blocks and can struggle when going against a guard in a short-area because he can get redirected and pushed around too easily at times. He needs to play with better base, balance, and leverage and spends too much time on the ground. Can get engulfed by the double team, and occasionally can lose gap control trying to get upfield too quickly.
Conrath was a rising player in Virginia's 3-4 scheme under Al Groh, but then when Mike London was hired during his junior season, he had to transition to being a defensive tackle. There he was miscast since he lacked the bulk to really hold up against the run, but flashed ability as a disruptive penetrator. Against Auburn in the bowl game this past year, he moved back out to end and looked a bit more comfortable and natural there. He has the ability to play in a 4-3 as a left defensive end, but his upside is probably higher if he returns to playing defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.
2011 GAMES WATCHED
(10/22) vs. N.C. State: 3.5 stuffs, 1.5 TFL, 1 key blocked
(10/27) at Miami: 2 stuffs, 1 TFL
(11/26) vs. Virginia Tech: 1 stuff, 1 TFL, 1 QB Hit, 1 key blocked
(12/31) vs. Auburn: 1 sack, 1 PD
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, 66 tackles, 12 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 2 FF, 0 FR, 0 INT, 3 PBU, 3 blocked kicks
2010: 12/11, 36-5.5-2.5-1-1-0-1
2009: 10/10, 45-5.0-2.0-0-1-0-3, 1 PAT block
2008: 12/12, 35-8.0-4.0-1-0-0-3, 1 FG block
- missed 2 games in 2009 due to high ankle sprain
Conrath has the ability to play in both a 4-3 or 3-4, but his upside is higher in the latter scheme. He does a nice job in a 5-technique and is more of a stack and shed defender than a guy you think can consistently be a factor as a pass rusher. He just lacks the speed, and unless he really improves his technique and adds moves, he'll just never be a guy that is going to be a major contributor there. In a 4-3 scheme, thus he'll be a better fit as a two-down rotational player that can play left end and help out against the run. He struggled when he played inside at Virginia as a 4-3 defensive tackle. And while he showed ability to shoot gaps when he was forced to match up with the bigger, more physical guards he struggled. Thus, he'll likely have to bulk up at the next level. Conrath has enough upside to think he can be a starter down the line, but it will likely take some development. Early on, he can add depth and help out a rotation as he tries to better fill out his frame. You expect to see him as a guy in the 295-pound range before you think he maxes out his ability as a 3-4 defensive end. Again, while he does have enough upside to be an effective starter down the road, he'll probably never be good and is more the type of player that teams try and upgrade over if he's forced to start for you. He just isn't a guy that can consistently make enough plays to win matchups as a starter, but can occasionally make stops as a rotational player.
Conrath could work for the Falcons as a rotational player that can add value immediately as a backup defensive end on the left side. Because of the introduction of Mike Nolan as the team's defensive coordinator, if there is any plan that they could convert to a 3-4 scheme down the road, Conrath could be a nice long-term project. He is not going to make major immediate contributions except as a run defender, and that likely will make it difficult for him to make the Falcons roster immediately. But if he was to sit on the practice squad for a year or two.
Because Conrath isn't a sure bet to make an NFL roster immediately, he probably should get drafted later than his talent level merits. From a pure talent standpoint, he probably could go as high as the late fifth round because he has the potential to offer solid depth with some starting potential down the road for a 3-4 team. But because he still probably needs to fill out his frame and develop better technique, he might be a player that is better off on the practice squad for a year or two. Because of that, unless a team had room to develop him on their roster, he probably is more in line with seventh round value or a priority undrafted free agent.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Rush: 4.0
Point of Attack: 5.0
Scouting reports of the defensive ends in the 2012 Draft.
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