clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who The Hell Will They Draft? Clemson DE, Ricky Sapp

My choice in the 2nd round of the MtD commenter mock, Sapp has the pass rush skils to be a 1st round pick. Other concerns may push him down the board a bit, but by the 63rd pick Sapp is fantastic value.

At 6'4" 254lbs Sapp is light and lanky for a DE, but fits well as a 3-4 OLB or a situational player in a 4-3. Sapp's athleticism is his top asset. He is a great edge rusher and pursues well. His light weight and lanky frame hurts him when he's run at and means he doesn't have a good bull rush to pair with his speed moves.

Sapp rarely missed time at Clemson playing in 50 games in 4 years, but he suffered various nagging injuries including a partial ACL tear late in his junior year that he says was "about 60%" his senior year. Another concern is a lack of top level production. Sapp's career best in sacks was 6, and he totaled just 17 despite starting 3 years and seeing time as a situational rusher his freshman year. Still Sapp is an elite athlete with a high ceiling and a better history production than certain other edge rushers at the top of the draft. He's a gamble as a first rounder, but if a team gets him in the 2nd it's a solid investment for his upside.

Mocking the Draft

Pass Rush: This is the area where Sapp will earn his draft placement. His quickness off the snap is excellent and uses his speed to get out wide and around tackles. While Sapp played end at Clemson, he often was standing up pre-snap. Shows a good swim move with his arms, but he doesn't always complete it properly with his legs.....He has impressive agility and straight-line speed. Locates the ball and can change direction effortlessly......Run defense: Sapp only struggles some here because of his lack of good functional strength. Gets held up too long blocks. He can be run at, but is very good at tracking down runners on the back side......Needs to get stronger to handle blockers at the point of attack. Has some problems stacking and shedding. Would rather run around blockers than through them...... Displays good technical tackling ability, but needs to get stronger to be more effective.

NFL Draft Scout

Lacks the bulk necessary to stack and shed as a defensive end. Can get bulled over in the running game and relies on his lateral agility and swim move to get past blocks, but too often takes himself out of the play. To his credit, Sapp hustles downfield and makes many of his plays in pursuit, showing the straight-line speed and agility necessary to move to linebacker......Effective drag-down tackler from behind. Wraps up securely when taking on ballcarriers laterally or head-on. Flashes explosiveness as a hitter, but too often is a catch tackler. Needs to add strength, especially in his upper body........Natural pass rusher. Experienced standing up and with his hand on the ground. Explosive burst and good flexibility to get under the tackle's reach and around the edge. Active hands and a good swim move to get past the initial blocker. Lacks strength to bull rush NFL offensive tackles. Relies on his agility to get past the blocker. Struggles to disengage once tied up........ Better athlete than football player.

Is an extremely athletic front-seven defender who can get to the quarterback with the speed rush and is comfortable playing in space. Durable during his time in college. Plays with good instincts, including in coverage.....Sapp is undersized and only possesses average power to hold the point of attack when teams run at him. Does have the frame to add bulk. Needs to be more consistent with his hand use and must do a better job disengaging from blockers.

Sapp is too much of a gamble for my taste as a 1st rounder, but if he's somehow around in the 2nd I think his potential more than justifies the pick. He's got the athletic tools and a fair amount of the pass rusher skills. He would be a good guy to have to spell/backup Freeney and Mathis and with athleticism would be useful on STs as well.