Powell quickly became an integral part of the UNC DL rotation as a red shirt freshman in 2008 primarily at DE, and was a full time starter by the beginning of his junior year in 2010 at DT.
Stats were 18 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 0 pass defensed, and 1 sack in 2008, 24/4/3/2 in 2009, 47/3/2.5/1 in 2010, and 46/4.5/2/1 in 2011. Powell appears to have a virtually perfect health and durability record.
Powell is athletic, and has some quickness. However, his primary problem is that he doesn't bend his knees well. If his initial move failed, too often Powell got upright, lost his ability to generate power, and did nothing.
Powell was absolutely handled all game by VaTech ORG Jaymes Brooks, and had a very uninspiring final performance against Missouri in the Independence Bowl.
As an NFL Draft Prospect, Powell has the size and athleticism the NFL seeks. With better conditioning and knee bend, Powell would project quite well in the NFL. As he was his senior season, Powell does not bend well enough to succeed in the NFL.
Strengths: Big athletic prospect with quickness and agility. Makes plays on the move, closes quickly. Has an apparent perfect health/durability record. Can be quick off the snap and disruptive.
Weaknesses: Inconsistent quickness off snap. Not a natural knee bender. Gets high and upright after initial move and loses all power. Did not appear well conditioned during final season, and did not play well down the stretch.
NFL Comparison: Corvey Irvin - Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars."
However, he gets upright into contact, uncoiling at the waist, will get straight-legged and loses all of his power and burst into contact. Is a naturally strong kid for his size, but fails to gain leverage, allowing blockers to routinely get under his frame and he doesn't anchor nearly as well as his frame would indicate.
To his credit, he's still a tough guy to move off the ball and stay engaged with as he fights his way off blocks down the field and exhibits "plus" range when closing on the ball. However, he simply doesn't play with leverage inside and too often gets overextended off the snap, lunging upright into his block and loses balance/power at the point.
Isn't a real natural pass rusher as well. He doesn't explode off the football, as his initial movement is upright and is slow to get into blocks, but he stands upright as a pass rusher and is easily to get under and anchor against inside.
Does possess some natural power and when he builds momentum into contact, he does have the natural strength through his upper body to knock opposing blocks off balance that are upright. For the most part, he exhibits poor hand placement as he gets too low and just doesn't have the base/balance to overwhelmed/slip blocks.
Isn't real laterally sudden either and is a better athlete than he looks as a pass rusher, as you can see when watching him in pursuit. He just doesn't play lot enough to exhibit his natural skill set.
Impression: A naturally talented kid, just plays too high and doesn't play up to his skill set. Is worth a flyer in camp as a late round/free agent type upside prospect, but needs to learn to play lower."
Powell shows some good straight line speed and quickness. His high motor helps him pursue and make plays. He has good strength and promise but needs to make some improvements. The biggest problem facing Powell is his ability to keep his pads down. This impacts his leverage, pass rush skills, and ability to hold at the point of attack.
To often, the blockers are able to get underneath him and drive him off the line. Unless he is able to remain low he will be unable to be a good run defender. Powell doesn't have the suddenness/quickness to be an effective pass rusher or shoot the gap. His success is going to be tied to his ability to remain low and hold up against the run.
Overall, Powell was mostly underwhelming as he was push around to easily. He wasn't around the football or really disruptive. Again, the potential is there but only if he learns to remain low.
Bold Statement: Powell will be the last of the top rated UNC defensive players drafted
Games Viewed: Virginia Tech ('10), LSU ('10), Tennessee ('10), Florida State ('10), NC State ('10), Miami ('10)
- Powell has good size and weight distribution
- However, his thick base is negated by his high pad level
- To often, Powell allows the offensive lineman to get underneath him and drive him off the ball
- This issue could be corrected by maintain leverage
- Powell is a hard worker with a good motor
- His lack of awareness impacts his ability to find the football and make plays
- He doesn't provide much of a pass rush and isn't very disruptive
- Powell has some straight line quickness but lacks the suddenness to avoid blocks"
More of a bull-rusher, though, without much in the way of natural pass-rush moves, but can collapse the pocket; had 47 tackles in 2010 including 2.5 sacks; character player who was a team captain as a junior."