The Las Vegas product earned significant playing time in Boise's rotation as a redshirt freshman (26 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, two pass break-ups). He earned second-team All-WAC honors in 2009 (44 tackles, 12.5 TFL, six sacks, three PBU) and 2010 (28 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks).
Winn moves between the three and five-technique spots regularly in Boise's scheme, and even plays outside the tackle at times despite approaching 300 pounds. That combination of agility and strength should intrigue NFL teams as an early-round prospect whether as a 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end.
Pass Rush: Powerful rusher, moves forward throughout the play and uses athleticism to flush and chase quarterbacks out of the pocket. Good bull rush to push his man into the backfield. Uses violent hands to rip off or punch off blocks, though he could be more consistent against better linemen. Forces offensive lineman to hold, often penalties are not called. Gets most sacks with effort, not an elite first step.
Run Defense: Plays with leverage at the point of attack whether inside or outside. Keeps eyes in the backfield when inside, moves linemen to either side with strong hands. Flashes nimble feet to chase running backs and mobile quarterbacks to the sideline when lined up at end. Spins off blocks to get back into the play.
Explosion: Rarely the first player off the snap, even when lined up over the ball, but his length, effort and short-area quickness still pressures double teams or penetrate gaps. Quarterbacks and ballcarriers feel his strength when he plants them in the backfield.
Strength: Does not dominate college offensive linemen, but possesses enough power to stay inside at the next level. Delivers a strong punch and uses his hands to shed blocks to make plays in the hole or outside the box. Uses lower-body strength to anchor inside.
Tackling: Agile run-stopper at end, extends to grab backs from the backside and possesses foot quickness and hustle to chase plays downfield or to the sideline. Combines strength and footwork to fill holes inside, as well. Recovers from cut blocks or falling on his way to make a tackle.
Intangibles: Matured as a junior, worked on becoming more physical for his 2010 season. High school wrestler and powerlifter."
He exhibits an explosive first step off the snap, is a natural bender who coils up well and keeps his base/pad level down into contact. He delivers a strong initial jolt into contact and when he extends his arms, he can disengage and make plays off his frame.
However, vs. bigger, more explosive lineman he can initially be overwhelmed vs. an in-line run game. He IS a good enough athlete to slip through contact and get himself back into the play, but will have some trouble trying to fight off blocks inside vs. NFL caliber blockers.
Winn is at his best threatening gaps inside off the snap and trying to make his way into the backfield. He plays low, runs his legs through contact and uses a strong club in order to fight his way through contact. He exhibits the first step to cross the face of defenders, and for the most part stays low and works his way through contact.
He isn't a dynamic pass rusher at this stage, but again his explosive first step and ability to keep his pad level down gives him the ability to routinely threaten gaps inside. In space, Winn will use the club to shed and has the initial burst to slip and close on the football.
However, he is a bit of a linear pass rusher inside who doesn't have the kind of lateral quickness to make blockers miss. He likes to fire off the ball low, pressure gaps and use his pad level to slip under contact and accelerate.
He is a solid tackler who breaks down well in the backfield for the most part and displays solid instincts when trying to find the football.
Impression: Winn is a bit of a tweener who will get looks as a 43 DE, a 34 DE and a 43 one gapping DT. I think he's best suited to play 34 DE as he has the power to anchor on the edge and offers some pass rush ability as well. Either way, the guy looks like a starting caliber defensive lineman in any number of schemes."
Can fire into gaps, dip his shoulder and rip through, as he plays with good pad level and is quick-handed to play off blocks.
Has nice ankle flexion for a big man and is able to redirect, accelerate and range in pursuit.
Is inconsistent, however, as his motor runs hot and cold and production doesn’t match talent.
Needs to improve play strength — can be neutralized in tight quarters and doesn’t rush with power.
Fits best as a one-gapping three-technique where he could slant, stunt and work the edges."
Billy Winn appears to be the top NFL prospect on Broncos. He is an explosive defensive lineman that does a good job at disrupting the offense. His best attribute is his ability to get into the backfield and create pressure. Winn shows a great 2nd gear that helps him close and make plays.
He is always around the football thanks to his physical skills and high motor. Winn looks to be a very good 3 technique prospect especially for a team looking to create pressure. Winn boasts a lot of talent but has some deficiencies as well. He doesn't do a great job holding his ground against double teams.
Winn doesn't appear to have the anchor necessary to play two gap football which limits his versatility. However, spending more time in the weight room could improve his ability to hold at the point of attack. Overall, Winn shows the skills and effort needed to be a legit NFL prospect. Another productive season followed by good workout numbers could push him into the 1st round.
Bold Statement: Winn could work his way into the first round with a team looking for a 3 technique
Games Viewed: Virginia Tech ('10), Hawaii ('10), New Mexico State ('10), Nevada ('10)
- Winn has a nice build with thick lower body
- He is really quick off the ball and possesses an exceptional burst
- His short area burst allows him to close on the football
- Winn's quick hands help keep blockers off of his frame
- He does a nice job of delivering a jolt by rolling his hips and exploding into the lineman
- Winn has a really good motor and is always in pursuit of the football
- In the run game, Winn showed some ability to anchor but is much better when asked to shoot the gap
- He needs to do a better job of consistently getting inside hand placement"
Has decent size and good weight-room strength; is stout at the point of attack, but doesn’t always get off blocks once engaged; is very quick with good balance and lateral agility; also keeps pads low coming off the snap and can be very disruptive when he jumps into a gap,
But lacks exceptional closing speed; still had only 28 tackles in 2010, but did have 4 sacks and 5 other tackles for loss; decent athlete who was a star wrestler in high school."
Good quickness off the snap, explosive defensive lineman, creates a good push at the line of scrimmage, does a good job disrupting the offense, creates a lot of pressure and spends a lot of time in the backfield; first step gives him the ability to slip through contact and threaten gaps inside...
Good length, quick and violent hands, keeps blockers off his frame, strong hands to engage the blocker and deliver a jolt, keeps his base down into contact... Plays with good balance, seldom on the ground, solid lateral mobility and does a reasonably good job redirecting...
Doesn't anchor very well but can disengage when he extends his arms and make plays off his frame... Plays with a high motor, good instincts, has a nose for the football, does a nice job in pursuit, good short-area burst with a second gear to close, solid tackler...
Versatile, could play 4-3 DT (3-technique) or 3-4 DE (5-technique), spends an equal amount of time playing both in Boise's hybrid defense; an interchangeable piece who can move up and down the defensive line as needed, has even stood up some as an inside and outside linebacker, has the combination of agility and strength that will intrigue a lot of teams.
Negatives -- Doesn't always get off blocks when engaged, needs to improve functional strength and play with better leverage to take on double teams in the NFL, often gets stuck in his tracks at the line of scrimmage and might have trouble staying clean vs. NFL blockers...
Marginal anchor, struggles to hold his ground, not a fit in a two-gap system, can be overwhelmed versus bigger blockers in the run game...
Isn't an extremely productive guy in terms of statistics, has just 62 tackles and 7.5 sacks combined over the last two years, is known more as a rock of the Broncos defense; still, a bit inconsistent, plays as part of a rotation and production doesn't match talent...
Has the tweener reputation, his frame translates best to a 3-4 DE but his skill set translates better as a 4-3 DT, ideal fit as a one-gap 3-technique to slant and stunt...
Minor durability concerns, suffered a left ankle injury during the 2011 spring game, and missed portions of the 2011 Tulsa game with a foot injury... Lack of competition playing in the WAC and Mountain West."
Winn looks to be a versatile defensive end prospect who can play anywhere except nose tackle. He's a very good three-technique with more than enough athleticism to seal the edge or rush that inside shoulder of the opposing guard. His quickness and burst at the snap can be very disruptive on run plays.
This short range quickness allows him to get in the backfield on occasion.
With some adjustments, he could prove to be an effective nose tackle but he is undersized for that position. While Winn is very strong in his lower half, he just doesn't have that elite upper body strength necessary to handle double teams on a regular basis.
Outside of that, he does his best when he can initiate contact with his hands before the blocker can. When bull-rushing, he has to be able to stay inside his frame and drive through his body since he sometimes gets caught reaching and pushed out of the play."