NAME: Isaiah Buggs
POSITION: Interior Defensive Lineman
JERSEY: No. 49
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 292 lbs
Get-off/Burst – Decent first step, but nothing to write home about. Only slow off the ball when he’s wrapping late for contain, but even his quickest first step isn’t overly explosive. One-speed pass rusher without a lot of twitch to his attacks. Doesn’t have the speed to really threaten off the edge, where Alabama often played him.
Leverage – Pad level can swell a bit, but hands are well-placed and he is rarely bullied at the point of attack. Fires off the ball low to gain early control of blockers. Despite imperfect attention to detail, results are usually excellent. Controls his gap and does not give ground at the line of scrimmage. Creates knock-back with strong hands inside the frame of his opponent, rarely losing 1v1 exchanges.
Hand Usage – Powerful mitts that can discard or fold up his opponent depending on the rep. Rag-doll ability when his pads and effort are ideal. Works snatches, rips and push-pulls to disarm blockers and get in on the quarterback. Can convert speed-to-power and runs through the outside arm of lighter, more technically deficient offensive tackles.
Rush Plan/Counters – Can be stubborn in his approach and slow to work a secondary move when his first strategy is stymied. Has counter moves and will flash spins and secondary hand work, but the maneuvers come too few and far between. Will get hung up on blocks at times and fail to show the necessary quickness or smooth transitions to still win the rep. Playing on the edge so often for Bama hasn’t made this aspect of his game as easy to analyze.
Mental Processing/Block Recognition – Sets a strong edge and isn’t easily reached by zone steps. Recognizes stretch plays and locks his outside arm to keep opponents from working around him to seal him inside. Rarely doubled in his alignment in Alabama’s defense, so will need to adjust to diagnosing interior block combinations at the next level, as he typically only plays there on passing downs.
Range – Clear lack of elite range inhibits ability to make a lot of plays in the backfield. Adequate mover, but not the kind of player who can turn burst into speed and make plays from the backside at full speed. Still a good enough athlete to finish on plays where he re-sets the line of scrimmage and gets off blocks.
Bend/Flexibility – Tight in the hips and doesn’t possess desirable flexibility to turn tight corners to the pocket. Struggles to re-direct fluidly and can labor in space against more athletic ball carriers. Quarterbacks have wheeled away from his linear pursuits more than once.
Tackling – Generally a good tackler, but can struggle to finish outside his frame and gets sloppy with his technique at times. Will drop his eyes and allow runners to evade him. Physical tackler who can lay the thunder if he squares up the ball carrier.
Competitive Toughness – Physical and violent in his temperament on the field, but does sit on blocks at times and doesn’t always seem to go all out on every rep. Comments from Nick Saban have suggested that Buggs doesn’t always give 110 percent (but is a monster when he does).
Athleticism/Size – Thickly-built defensive lineman with a pro-ready, rocked-up frame. Typical Alabama physical prowess, but lacks the athleticism of some of the other top-tier interior defensive linemen in the class.
BEST TRAIT – Hand Usage
WORST TRAIT – Burst
RED FLAGS – Teams will likely inquire as to why the fire doesn’t always appear to burn red hot for Buggs.
Isaiah Buggs is a burly interior defensive lineman who plays on the edge for Alabama in their base packages on early downs. That role won’t suit his lack of athleticism well in the NFL, but Buggs is a power-playing, slow-burn pass rusher who can discard offensive linemen with his hands or run through them to the pocket as well. He’s a load when he brings it, capable of lining up all over the defensive front as a capable pass rusher and consistent point-of-attack threat against the run. Can Buggs ever be a high-impact player at the next level, especially without special traits?