After redshirting his first year in East Lansing after a successful high school career in Ohio, Worthy garnered Freshman All-American honors in 2009 after collecting nine tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks, as an 11-game starter. Big Ten coaches and media voted him to their honorable mention list in 2010 due to his eight tackles for loss and four sacks in 13 starts.
Worthy flashed disruptive tendencies over the past two seasons, but needs to take his game up another notch before NFL scouts consider him an elite prospect. Increasing his stamina to make plays in the fourth quarter and using his hands to disengage from blocks more regularly are two keys to unlocking his potential during his junior season.
Pass Rush: May not put up huge sack numbers, but is a constant thorn in a quarterback's side in pass rush situations. Swims past lesser linemen with a shake and quick, violent hands. Closes on the passer in a hurry once free. Will sometimes line up a half-yard off the line to give himself room to make his move. Does not split doubles regularly or have a great bull rush, often giving up after initial contact.
Run Defense: Packs power and has quick feet to handle one or two-gap run defense responsibilities in the box. Tough to move, stands up blockers when anchoring against the run. Brings down backs from behind within the box and straight up the middle, but does not regularly chase plays downfield or towards the sideline. Spins off blocks but doesn't have elite change of direction to reach quicker backs going through the hole once he's left it. Gets caught up in his man chest at times, failing to get off to make a play. Quick backs elude him easily in the hole. Avoids cut tackles to stay upright, but lacks quick acceleration to get into plays away from him.
Explosion: Impressive explosiveness off the snap, shocks his man with a strong initial punch and can also out-quick him to get into the backfield. Quick to get low, create a pile in goal lone situations. Gets too worried about contact or penetrating a gap that sometimes forgets to find the ball.
Strength: Already excelling in this area, should get even stronger in a pro strength and conditioning program. Strong hands allow him to shed lineman in either direction to catch backs coming into his area; consistency in using them could be improved, however. Once he gets a guard on skates, puts them into the quarterback. Takes his man backwards when slanting, also effective occupying two men on twists to free up the end.
Tackling: Limited area of coverage results average tackle numbers for the position. Swallows up ballcarriers in the box with length and superior upper-body strength, though, leading teams to stay away from inside runs. Closes well on quarterbacks and running backs in the backfield and rarely gets go of ballcarriers once making contact. Has enough agility and athleticism to grab backs from behind after a strong swim move.
Intangibles: His stamina and conditioning will be a concern for scouts unless improvements are made. Vocal on and off the field; points out potential hot receivers and run plays to teammates before the snap, something you don't see many interior linemen do."
Exhibits above-average snap awareness. Is a savvy player who can time up the snap count well, routinely is one of the first lineman moving off the snap and is a consistently threat to knife his way into the backfield.
He also displays a "plus" first step. Showcases the burst to initially gain a step off the ball between the B or C gap, keep his pad level down as a linear rusher and create havoc inside.
Showcases some niftiness with his length/hands, knows how to work a sudden arm over in order to keep himself clean inside, still has yet to develop a rip, but can use his hands to slip on contact.
As a pass rusher, if he doesn't win with his first step he does exhibit some niftiness laterally, but tends to pop upright initially in order to try to laterally slip blocks and when he gets caught struggles to create a push or fend through contact. Can initially gain some leverage on his bull rush.
However, he lets his pad level rise through contact causing him to struggle with balance, which negates his quickness to shed. Once a defender gets their hands on him, he has a tough time freeing himself.
As a run defender, again has the ability to knife his way into the backfield and stop plays before they start. Showcases good awareness on perimeter runs, can shoot his way through the C-gap, work his legs through contact and get up the field. However, is a bit tight hipped and will struggle to breakdown consistently on contact.
Also, doesn't do a great job really sitting into his stance when asked to anchor inside. When he sees the double team tends to lock his legs out and try to anchor his feet, instead of dropping his pad level. Is a naturally strong kid, but lacks balance inside vs. the double team and too often ends up on the ground because of lacking balance.
Can be a playmaker though at times with his combination of ball awareness, first step and suddenness to slip and get into the backfield. However, is more of a hit or miss guy who flashes one play and is invisible the next.
Impression: A talented kid with a thick frame, "plus" get off burst and snap awareness to his game. However, doesn't shed blocks well when engaged and lacks ideal anchor ability inside. Looks like a one-gap type lineman only who could give solid reps at both nose and three-technique in a 43 front. But is going to need some time before he's ready to start."
Defensive coordinators are always on the look out for a player that can cause problems for the offense. Worthy is a good athlete that possesses the size needed to be a versatile defensive lineman. He has a quick first step and strong punch that helps him gain position over the offensive line.
His strength and strong lower half allows him to hold at the point and generate a push on the pocket. At this point, Worthy's best attribute is his ability to occupy blockers and hold at the point of attack.
Watching Worthy play, I just don't see him making a ton of impact plays. He is always engaged and tied up by a blocker and didn't show the ability to make plays away from his frame. His lack of a pass rush also is concerning as defensive tackles are looked to more often to create pressure.
Overall, Worthy has the upside to warrant attention but he needs to make more impact plays. He is high on lists because of his potential.
Bold Statement: Worthy will be the first Michigan State player selected in the 1st round since Charles Rodgers in 2003.
Games Viewed: FAU ('10), Iowa ('10), Wisconsin ('10)
- Worthy has good ball awareness and a quick first step
- He fires off the football and delivers a strong jolt
- His has are routinely inside allowing him to control the blocker
- Worthy has a nice strong base that allows him to hold at the point of attack
- His strong leg drive allows him to get a good push on the pocket
- He does a nice job remaining on his feet due to his good balance
- Worthy's good balance is key to his ability to pursue the ball down the line of scrimmage
- Effort and focus do not appear to be an issue even when his team is trailing by a large number
- Worthy appears to always be engaged with an offensive lineman
- He struggles to keep clean as he penetrates the pocket and is often washed down the line
- His struggles disengaging result in him not making a lot of tackles
- Worthy is not much of a factor making plays away from his frame
- He has a hard time locating the football and over pursues leaving open cutback lanes
- Worthy doesn't offer much as a pass rusher
- He has good bulk but lacks great lower half thickness"
Had 40 tackles in 2010 including 4 sacks and 4 other tackles for loss; has top 10-15 potential, but needs to be a little more physical and consistent as well as keep the motor turned on every play."
Strong lower body, flashes good hand play and a quick punch, strong hands to jolt, holds the point reasonably well, occupies double teams; solid leg drive, keeps his legs moving, can generate a push on the pocket, extremely difficult to block one-on-one... Reasonably good balance, seldom on the ground, good agility and COD...
Can be difficult to move, has the strength to anchor, makes it difficult to run up the middle, maintains gap assignments; teams tend to stay away from inside runs versus MSU...
Plays with a lot of aggression and intensity, hard worker who is very vocal on the sideline and during the action, commands a double team on every play, frees up teammates... Versatile, ideal fit in a four-man front as 3-technique, could also get looks as 3-4 DE (5-technique)... Hasn't missed a game at the collegiate level.
Negatives -- Lack of pass rush, struggles when he doesn't win with first step, lacks counter-moves...
Doesn't make a lot of impact plays, doesn't stuff the stat sheet, doesn't make plays away from his frame; is virtually always engaged with an offensive lineman, sometimes struggles to disengage and keep himself clean, doesn't look very comfortable in stack and shed situations...
Needs to be more consistent with his hand usage, especially against more powerful offensive linemen, is easily handled when he doesn't win off the snap; lacks the explosive and consistent hand usage to be considered elite, although he flashes good hand play...
Allowed his pad level to get too high in head up situations, makes it easy for blocker to push him out of the play... Will sometimes over-pursue on run plays, can be slow to locate the ball...
Felt he could move into the top half of the first round with a breakout 2011 campaign and that never materialized, is gushing with talent but needs to play with more consistency, lacks an elite motor... Appears out of shape, was rotated out more than a player of his caliber should be, seems to fade as the game progresses... Tore an ACL in high school...
Has a very active Twitter account and might have some issues going to a team with a strict social media policy."
In the beginning of his career, Worthy was free to pass rush and penetrate the line in what is usually called the off-tackle position, or under tackle.
At this point in his career, as the team's most dominant defensive lineman, his job is to occupy double teams, seal off running and passing lanes, take up space and hold ground at the point of attack.
No, it's not a glamorous job, but it allows his fellow lineman and other blitzers to get after the play. Offenses know if they didn't double team him, he'd blow the play up more often than not.
Most evaluations miss this change in assignment and see a guy who doesn't penetrate, doesn't get in the backfield, doesn't make impact plays, etc.
But the role of a defensive tackle isn't necessarily to be involved in that more than a couple times per game.
Worthy does all his new tasks very well. He shows a great explosion off the line and is strong enough in his upper body to grab a player with one arm and, all in one motion, bring the ball-carrier into his chest and down to the ground.
When he does pass rush, he shows a good bull rush, swim move, and rip move. Worthy will make a great fit at either defensive tackle positions in a 4-3 defense. His development leans more toward him slimming down to be a 3-4 DE rather than a bulked up 3-4 NT. It really depends upon which team selects him."