North Carolina Senior
Has good size and strength. Shows ability to get leverage at the point of attack and occupy blockers. Flashes some ability as a stack and shed defender. When he can pin his ears back, flashes some burst upfield to penetrate and press the pocket. Does his best work at the nose when facing a center. Can beat the center with a swim move. Will occasionally use a spin move to disengage from the block and make a stop. Flashes strength and power that he has some upside as a bull rusher. Shows decent range for a player with his size and will give pursuit at times. Able to flush quarterback or chase down running back to make stops in the backfield.
Gets pushed around too much for a player with his size and strength. Poor first step and struggles to get initial leverage off the snap. Doesn't play with good balance and there is no suddeness or explosiveness to his game. Is a limited pass rusher for that reason and rarely makes the disruptive plays. Struggles to get off blocks and tends to only do so when he's several yards downfield and out of the play. Doesn't fire off the ball in short yardage and usually loses those situations. Plays too high at times, especially as a pass rusher, and it limits his ability to anchor against the run as well. Doesn't really have any pass rush moves or play with good technique. Has a questionable motor, particularly when it comes to pass rushing. Tends to stand up and mush rush rather than showing much effort to get after the quarterback.
Powell is a player that I've watched for a few years now because he was supposed to be the next big thing. And while he certainly looks the part of an NFL defensive tackle, he has never really played up to his physical abilities or been a guy that could consistently produce on the field. Thought he had a good start to this year and was finally turning a corner, but the more I watched of him, the less I liked. He's a decent run stopper that you can potentially plug into the middle to help there, but he gives you next to nothign as a pass rusher despite having the combo of size and quickness to be a more disruptive player. But he's more big than good. He projects best in a two-gap scheme potentially, and he might be better served bulking up to be just a massive blob in the middle since he'll never be a disruptive player.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. James Madison: 4 stuffs, 1 TFL, 1 pressure
(9/10) vs. Rutgers: 2 stuffs, 2 pressures; 1 penalty (offsides)
(10/22) at Clemson: no stats
(11/17) at Virginia Tech: 1.5 stuffs, 1 pressure, 1 FR; 1 penalty (offsides)
(12/26) vs. Missouri: 0.5 pressures, 2 key blocked
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, 46 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 1.0 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PDs, 1 FF, 1 FR
Powell can compete as a rotational player in the NFL, but given how little improvement he's made in the collegiate game over the past two or so years, one shouldn't have high expectations for him to get a lot better in the pros. In a 3-4 scheme, he could potentially add weight and be an okay backup nose tackle. The type of player you're probably hoping he develops into is a Brandon McKinney-type of player. A guy that for 15-20 snaps per game, he can be productive. McKinney came into the league as a 330-pound nose and had to bounce around a bit before he's seemingly found a home as a reserve in Baltimore these past four seasons. I don't expect Powell to do much better. He's the type of player that unless he's just that massive, he's probably not going to be that effective. And he's probably not going to make any NFL roster the first few years in because of his need to probably add bulk. So instead, you're probably hoping that he earns a practice squad spot. It's not that Powell is untalented to contribute off the bench, but you just don't have a lot of hope for him living up to that talent. He can add depth to most teams and be able to flash from time to time, but he's just not an impact player that is too inconsistent. He could also play in a 4-3 scheme, as a two-down run defender particularly in a scheme that uses the nose/under tackle distinction. He really is purely a nose, and was most effective in college at that position when he went against weaker centers. But the minute you put him up against a good center or capable guard that has a chance to play in the NFL, he was effectively neutralized. That sort of production usually doesn't translate well to the NFL. So it won't be at all surprising if Powell is out of the league three summers from now. Or he could have carved out a decent home as a journeyman backup that can help some team add emergency depth in a pinch. But I'm hard-pressed to see him sticking longer than a few years with any team. There just isn't a lot of upside with him to be more than an average backup to think a team will keep him for more than a year or two.
Powell can come in and compete in a Falcons camp. Potentially, the best you're hoping for is that he can become a player like Vance Walker. But Walker is a much more disruptive player than Powell has every shown to be, and Walker on his bad days is probably closer to the player that you think Powell could be on his normal days. So he would be a downgrade in that sense. As a rookie, the best you're hoping for is that he makes the practice squad with a strong camp, and might be able to move up into the No. 4 spot in the rotation a year from now if the team moves on from Walker and/or Peria Jerry. But eventually a better player is going to come along and you would not expect Powell to last more than a season or so in that role.
Powell can add depth to an NFL team, but his inconsistency and lack of long-term upside means he should not be drafted. He can be a nice camp body as an undrafted free agent for some 3-4 team, but he'd be a major reach even at the tail-end of the seventh round.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Point of Attack: 6.0
Pass Rush: 2.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.