Monday, 22 February 2010

POTD: Brian Price, DT, UCLA


By Kip Earlywine

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 300 lbs.
Unofficial 40: 5.05




Positives:

  • Lightning fast first step
  • Very good burst/recovery, explosive off the snap
  • Plays hard and never quits plays
  • Penetrates very well, lives in the backfield
  • Big, strong, thick body
  • Very good bull rusher
  • Good at winning leverage
  • Seems to utterly dominate zone blocking scheme
  • Good at knocking away hands in the initial clash
  • Led all college football players in tackles for loss (23.5)
  • Productive pass rusher (7 sacks)
  • Only 20 years old (turns 21 in April)
  • Good character (looks like a good locker room guy)
  • Durable
  • Connections with Brandon Mebane

Negatives:

  • Sometimes struggles to disengage
  • Pass rush arsenal is nearly 1 dimensional
  • Lots of diving and falling
  • Some inconsistency against the run
  • Maxed out frame, 300 looks to be his absolute limit
  • Only a 4-3 three tech
  • Extremely little untapped potential physically
  • Seems far less effective against bigger linemen, man systems
  • Doesn't beat double teams often
  • A bit of an over-achiever

Sound Bites:


"Since Price's freshman season, I've been impressed with the way he explodes off the football. A power and leverage guy with an impressive rip move, Price has a knack for being able to make big plays in the opponent's backfield. When we talk about the top DT prospects in the country, Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy are the cream of the crop. But the gap between them and Price definitely has narrowed."
-Mel Kiper

My thoughts:

Brian Price is a supremely productive and young DT prospect who was highly recruited out of High School. Its a bit of a wonder then that he's merely a top 15-30 pick. There are very good reasons for it, which I'll get to later. The best way to describe Price is to say he's similar to a 3 tech Mebane. He's super quick off the snap, and adept at penetrating into the backfield, but does it with leverage, quickness, and power, not skill. Mebane was basically an average to above average 3 tech in 2009, but that's a little misleading since he was paired with Colin Cole, who is worthless in the pass rush and worth little against the run. If you could clone Mebane to pair with himself, I'd imagine he'd make a pretty good 3.

Price has a bit of a connection with Brandon Mebane. They went to the same high school and Price's father was Mebane's coach. When at UCLA, Price contacted Mebane for advice against USC. I'm not sure if being friends off the field will pay any dividends on it, but its a pretty neat connection.

Getting back my impressions, I noticed that the lion's share of Price's big plays came against smaller linemen attempting to angle block him. Price's two biggest strengths are his bull rush and his ability to club hands off him at first contact. Zone guards and centers are left grasping air when he knocks their hands away, and then he charges their inside shoulder at a rate they simply can't keep up with. Angle blocking can be weak against a bull rush to begin with and Price's style seems tailor made to take advantage of the seam it allows. This results in instantaneous backfield penetration on a frequent basis against those types of teams. Price is a nightmare for Max Unger types and zone teams will have to game plan him in the NFL.

Price seems to fare less well against direct blocking. When Price is directly engaged, his bull rush can be stonewalled. His club move seems less valuable when being blocked straight on too. This is where Price is exposed. Once those two things are neutralized, he doesn't have much of a pass rush repertoire to disengage with. If the Seahawks draft him, expect him to have huge games and disappear in other ones depending on the match-ups.

Price isn't a liability against the double team, but he doesn't beat them very often either. In that sense, he'll probably never be as good as Brandon Mebane.

The big issue with Price is that his body seems totally maxed out bulk wise, and he doesn't bring a lot of skills to the table. He's a bit of a one-trick pony. If teams can stop his bull rush, he could be in big trouble because he's not going to have the ability to add size and adding skills this late is improbable.

He's not especially dominating against the run either. While his tackles for loss are incredible, and his awareness is usually good, he can misdiagnose plays or otherwise be run on sometimes.

Outside of Suh, there isn't a more dominant bull rushing DT in this draft. However, Price represents a bit of a gamble as would any one-dimensional player trying to leap to the NFL. I think Seattle could be a good fit for Price, though he strikes me as a bit of a boom or bust player.

6 comments:

Jon said...

Ah c'mon he wears glasses, I'm sure he's plenty smart and can learn some new tricks in the Pro's =)

Seriously though, if he's a coaches kid and he's only 20 right now there's hope he can develop skillwise. If he had an attitude or consistency problem and or seemed like a dim bulb mentally I'd be nervous about the "one trick pony" tag but it doesn't scare me as much with Price.

I still like him at #14, he seems like a rich mans Chuck Darby.

Steve in Spain said...

John Morgan's take on Brian Price is pretty similar but perhaps even more negative (http://www.fieldgulls.com/2010/2/22/1322184/2010/2/22/1322184/the-complete-incomplete-brian-price#storyjump).

Another point of concern is how little Price plays - there was a story here a few weeks ago which said he only played in 75% of UCLA's defensive snaps, which was the lowest count for any of the top DTs in the draft.

Kip Earlywine said...

I'm pretty pessimistic about him developing more skills. He's been a hard worker his whole life, he's the son of a football coach, and its not like he's failed to live up to his potential or anything. I'm pretty sure that the Brian Price we saw this past year is going to be 95% the same guy in the pro's in terms of what he does. Hopefully that means he still produces.

I think Morgan has a slight axe to grind against Price, going back at least a month. However, that doesn't really matter because in this case it didn't effect his analysis and I agree with him in a nutshell that Price is a fun guy to watch but might be best to stay away from since he's incomplete and might not ever be complete. I only really disagree in that I'd still be ok with taking Price because I think Mebane's presence will mask some of Price's issues.

Anonymous said...

Was Chuck Darby worth a #14 overall?

Some good points about his dad, size and pro ceiling.

Anonymous said...

i really want the hawks to trade up and grab mccoy. i dont want mebane to mask prices issues, i want a DT at 3 tech that will help mebane out and give us a dominant DT combo. i want offenses to have no clue how to handle our DTs (which will help out our DEs)

Anonymous said...

i really want the hawks to trade up and grab mccoy. i dont want mebane to mask prices issues, i want a DT at 3 tech that will help mebane out and give us a dominant DT combo. i want offenses to have no clue how to handle our DTs (which will help out our DEs)