Possesses an impressive combination of power, coordination and explosion for such a big guy and has the ability to be sudden on contact and violent when asked to slip blocks vs. the pass. Displays a good first step, can suddenly change directions and at times uses his hands well to keep clean before surging up the field. However, isn’t the most aware of defenders getting off the football on time and doesn’t do a good job getting his hands up initially on contact. Too often waits until he is engaged to start to work himself free and relies more so on his lower body strength and lateral quickness to disengage than actually trying to control blocks with his hands.
Is an immature kid who is at the center of the North Carolina/agent scandal and really drew a lot of negative attention from outsiders/scouts during his time on Twitter.
Impression: There is no denying that the overall talent and skill set is there for him to be as good as he wants to be in the NFL. However, I worry about his passion, willingness to become better and overall maturity level going forward. There is no way I would spend a first-round pick on the guy at this stage and I don’t think he will ever become the player many suspect. But, his natural God-given ability will keep him in the league and give him plenty of second chances."
Run Defense: Quick enough to slip through a gap and disrupt the timing of running plays. Good size and power to control his gap responsibility. Has a tendency to play too upright, negating his own power. Strong, active hands to disengage from the block as the ballcarrier nears. Reacts quickly to the attempted cut block, sprawling and re-gaining his balance quickly by pushing off cutting offensive lineman. Good hustle laterally and downfield. Good vision and footwork to keep his feet while making his way to the ballcarrier.
Explosion: Good initial burst off the snap. Flashes a quick first step, vertically and laterally, to penetrate gaps and destroy the play. Good upper-body strength to shock his opponent and knock him back. Likes to make the flashy hit. Will gather for the big hit on an unsuspecting ballcarrier.
Strength: Good upper- and lower-body strength to hold up at the point of attack. Has an explosive shove to knock pass blockers aside on his way to the quarterback. Lacks the bulk and power to split double-teams as a true nose guard, but can hold up long enough to create a pile. Good strength for the drag-down tackle.
Tackling: Surprising balance and lateral agility to break down in tight quarters and make the open-field tackle against small and quick athletes. Good strength to pull down ballcarriers while being occupied by blockers. Good hustle laterally and downfield. Willing to leave his feet and lunge at ballcarriers, resulting in some big hits (as well as some wild misses).
Intangibles: Suspended for the entire 2010 season after an NCAA investigation found that he'd accepted gifts from an agent. Characterized by those close to the team as "talented, but selfish." Highly touted prep prospect that was rated the No. 1 at his position and top 10 overall by most recruiting experts."
Pursuit/Lateral Movement and Agility: Has the speed to run down screens and counters. Moves his feet well. Can shuffle down the line. Loose hips. His closing speed is impressive. Against Boston College, Austin breaks free of the guard and closes 5yds on the quarterback in one second (hand-timed)- causing a fumble that he almost recovers. His speed and athletic ability are somewhat unreal. Foot speed is dangerous and can slide past guards with ease. Austin never gives up on a play and even when putting himself out of position, he fights to get back to the ball.
Quickness/Explosion: Can be slow off the line of scrimmage at times. Would be quicker off the ball if he fired out of his stance low instead of standing up at the point of attack. Is much more athletic than the majority of defensive tackles. Moves with ease. Is athletic enough to play defensive end. When he does explode, Austin is unstoppable. Has the ability to push and collapse the pocket.
Run defend/Recognition: Recognizes the run quickly and effectively. Reads the line well and works down the line of scrimmage to the hole. Is very good at sniffing out a counter or trap and adjusting to the play. Is smart enough to pull down his blocker if he realizes he cannot get away from the block- freeing up tackling lanes for his teammates.
Size/Length/Hand Size: Has ideal size for a defensive tackle. Has the bulk to plug holes, but is still a lean and athletic player. Is a new breed of tackle- lean, athletic and quick.
Strength/Ability to Shed Blocks: Slips blocks more than anything. Does not have to overpower many college blockers, but must improve at this to compete in the NFL. Locks his arms and keeps his eyes up. Able to locate the ball while engaged and is strong enough to disengage from the blocker.
Tackling: Works off blocks well and can make tackles while engaged. Is a strong and able tackler. Is aggressive at the point of attack. Looks for the high-kill shot a little often, but is a sure tackler.
Technique/Hand Use/Leverage: Will stand up out of his stance too often. Must fire out lower, and with better pad height. Can be pushed off the ball, but has the strength and agility to slip blockers and recover. Makes many tackles after being initially popped by a guard or center. Tries to play patty-cake too often with blockers, he almost looks hesitant to engage the interior lineman. Improved as the season progressed at driving the center back off the ball. Dominated Virginia Tech in the 2nd half. Austin is an aggressive player who can take over a game with his ability to collapse the pocket and pressure the quarterback. Against Boston College Austin showed much better technique, firing off the ball low and using his hands to free himself from blockers.
Versatility: Has experience lining up over the center, but has the athletic ability to play any position on the defensive line. While Austin looks most likely to line up as a three-technique tackle in the NFL, we believe he could slide outside to defensive end in a 3-4 scheme and become a dominating player.
Final Word: In scouting defensive tackles lately, we have been blessed to see the likes of Glenn Dorsey, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Sedrick Ellis. In 2009 we proclaimed Ndamukong Suh the best defensive player we had ever scouting- and we are sticking to this. However, Marvin Austin is the most athletic defensive tackle we have seen to date. His ability to chase down the ball carrier and his freakish speed make him among the most dangerous defensive players in college football. He has the full arsenal of strength, size, speed and awareness that NFL General Managers are looking for in today’s defensive tackle.
While Austin may not be the pure player Suh is, he is a deadly combination of Suh’s ability to collapse the pocket and Gerald McCoy’s speed and athleticism."
Negatives: Inconsistent off the snap... Needs to locate the ball better and finish plays... Plays with a high pad level, especially off the snap... Can struggle to split double teams... Not the greatest work ethic... Can disappear during games... Does not have a non-stop motor... Did not start two games in 2009 due to coach's decision... Kicked off team during 2010 season and did not play at all due to ongoing investigation of receiving improper benefits from agents... Needed to play this season to work his way into first round discussion."
While his sacks and tackles-for-loss numbers were down, Austin turned into a great run stuffer and totaled 38 tackles. Austin tallied 42 tackles, 6.0 tackles-for-loss and 4.0 sacks during what ended up being his last season in Chapel Hill. Austin's size, strength and versatility are his best assets and that is why he is considered one of the best defensive tackles in this class. At 6-3 and 305 pounds, he already has the size to play tackle in the NFL and he has some room to add more strength and weight to his frame.
Austin, like so many of UNC's defensive stalwarts, could have gone pro early, but opted to return to school. Despite not playing all year, Austin could still be a first rounder. He has the talent, but now he has to stay focused on staying in playing shape and spend some time getting ready to answer a lot of questions from NFL teams."
Weaknesses: Not a true brawler, and does not seem to relish the trenches. Will definitely need to be fully evaluated from a psychological/maturity standpoint. Indifferent worker who may need to be constantly monitored and motivated. May be a press-clipping guy. Has not played competitively for a long time."
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