In just a full season as a starter, Clemson Tigers defensive end Vic Beasley has accumulated 15 tackles for loss and 10 sacks to become one of the nation’s leaders in sacks. And this comes after a season in which he led the team in sacks as a backup defensive end with eight in 2012.
Now, Beasley appears to be taking his talents to the next level after the end of the 2013 season, and, according to Draft Insider Tony Pauline, plans to enter the 2014 draft while his stock is still high.
The defensive end has risen up draft boards over the course of the season, and came into the season largely unknown, even to fellow Tiger fans. At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Beasley is undersized to be your prototypical 4-3 defensive end, and many scouts see him as a 3-4 outside linebacker thanks to his athletic ability off the edge. Beasley recently ranked in the Top 10 off of ESPN Mel Kiper’s Big Draft Board for 2014.
Despite his size, Beasley has been able to play with his hand in the dirt and in a two-point stance, and has effectively rushed the passer from both places. He uses his leverage and quickness to gain advantage over opposing offensive linemen, and has shown a good motor in getting to the quarterback. He is able to get off of blocks, shows great closing speed as a pursuit player and can hold at the point of attack.
The biggest questions for Beasley at the next level will be his size. He will need to put on some muscle and weight, but has the frame to add an additional 10-15 pounds and still keep his same level of speed and pursuit. Some may have questions about how he holds up against the run, but thus far he has shown himself to be effective enough in the run game, though the best part of his game is his ability to rush the quarterback, an aspect of his game in which he has shown potential to produce at the next level.
Beasley is one of the more intriguing aspects at defensive end/outside linebacker, but his natural pass-rush ability will likely be coveted by many teams looking to add a premium pass-rushing threat on the edge. Scouts will take a look at how he fares in coverage, and should he grade out well in that area. Beasley will likely be looking at a first round grade, especially when top pass rushers can so hard to find.