NAME: Carl Granderson
JERSEY: No. 91
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
WT: 255 lbs
Run Defense – Finds most of his success as a run defender slashing through gaps and slanting inside. Doesn’t have the mass or power to be a consistent edge-setter or gap-squeezer. Plays with poor leverage which negatively impacts his ability to anchor. Will run himself out of his run fits and too often resolves to going around blocks because he does not consistently play through contact.
Pass Rush – Uses his length well and illustrates a good one-arm stab. Has enough ability to convert to power and challenge blockers with a bull rush. Has enough ability to reduce his surface area and attack with tilt to get under the punch of his blocker. Doesn’t have enough juice out of his stance or flexibility to consistently win around the outside hip of the offensive tackle. Step frequency up the arc is excessive. Pads get too high immediately off the snap. Counters and hand usage at the top of the arc are under developed.
Burst – Doesn’t have the quick acceleration needed to stress offensive tackles’ foot speed to reach landmarks around the arc. Closely fairly quickly once the path is cleared to the football. Fires out of his stance with urgency.
Effort – Plays with generally good effort but it’s clear that he revs the engine up at times which exposes reps that he doesn’t. Can be over-aggressive at times when stunting inside and will work himself out of the gaps he is responsible for.
Hand Technique – Demonstrates a variety of swipes and techniques to clear his pads. Timing and execution of his pass rush moves is hit or miss. Won’t jolt pads with the pop in his strikes. Needs to be more consistent winning with first contact and not allow the blocker to fit his hands.
Flexibility – There is some segmentation to his rush and change of direction ability. Doesn’t have the twitch or juice to bend the outside corner. Apparent tightness in his hips when working laterally or dropping into pass coverage.
Processing – Guilty of guessing wrong and playing himself out of his responsibility. Limitations may play into why but struggles to regularly establish a half man relationship with his blocker and finds himself in too many body-to-body situations.
Play Strength – Modest. Isn’t an overly stout defender and can struggle in tight quarters. High pads rob himself of play strength. Lacks the functional power needed to set a firm edge or squeeze gaps as a run defender. Contact power and balance do not impress.
Versatility – Likely best utilized as a standup 3-4 outside linebacker where he’s not tasked with consistently exchanging power with offensive tackles. Most effective slashing gaps and linear angles to the football which can be schemed more efficiently in a standup role. Pass drops could be a liability if tasked with that responsibility.
BEST TRAIT – Stunting/Length
WORST TRAIT – Flexibility
RED FLAGS – Torn ACL on left knee in 2016
Granderson enjoyed a breakout junior season returning from his ACL tear in 2016 but tapered off as a senior. Because of his limitations in terms of flexibility and play strength as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end, Granderson’s best NFL fit comes as a standup 3-4 outside linebacker where he can take advantage of angles created from stunting and utilize his length. By year three, Granderson may be able to carve out a niche role in sub-packages while providing additional value on special teams.
Burst – Very little lower body explosiveness. Below-average first step and takes two steps to get to top speed. Can cover some ground after that, but slow starter who provides ample opportunity for tackles to build their house comfortably. False step out of a 2-point stance is ugly.
Bend – Stiff in the hips and ankles, struggling mightily to turn the corner. Flashes the ability to suddenly angle feet and hips to the pocket at the top of the arc, but lacks the flexibility to change directions and track a tight path around contact to the pocket. Often ends up a yard or two deeper than where he began to corner.
Rush Moves – Lacks a go-to initial move to win 1v1, but does flash a decent repertoire. Will show his hands, draw out the opponents’, then attempt to transition to a cross chop or rip. Can dip the shoulder and rip under/through weak pass sets. Best move is probably an inside swim, sometimes combined with a stutter-step. Loves to spin outside and inside, but isn’t really successful with the move due to the inability to sell speed and manipulate the tackle’s set.
Counters – Struggles to threaten the edge out of the blocks, which discourages oversets and makes his go-to inside spin less effective. Works hard to get to a second move, but doesn’t have ideal athleticism to create space in tight quarters. Will create something for himself off of hustle however.
Run Defense – In three games I watched, wasn’t really charged with setting a strong edge to his side of the field, but was knocked off the ball a few times regardless. Plays high off the snap and can get leveraged by more technically savvy opponents. Good length and arm extension, but can get his hands fitted better and control 1v1 exchanges at the line of scrimmage a little cleaner. Not the type to rag-doll opponents, but can play off contact and make stops. Limited athletically in space, but flashed some good penetration ability to slip gaps.
Lateral Mobility – Stiffness in the hips is evident in space. Not a twitched-up athlete with bursty movements, transitions come slower than you’d like. Does a nice job of varying his pace to get his opponent to relax, which offsets some of the athleticism concerns.
Mental Processing/Vision – Does a good job of stepping down when unblocked as a run defender. Finds the football quickly and isn’t fooled by misdirection easily. Stays assignment sound. Good vision as a pass rusher to read sets and take advantage of opponent weaknesses, which often means a quicker inside track to the quarterback.
Tackling/Finishing – Good tackler who rarely missed opportunities to get his opponent on the ground. Struggles to re-direct in space and finish, despite coming to contact under control.
Competitive Toughness – Physical, tough and plays exceptionally hard. Motor is non-stop and will chase the ball all over the field. Made a couple nice hustle plays to the boundary or in pursuit during the three games I watched.
Athleticism/Size – Excellent size and length for the position, but athletically limited and does not appear to be a prospect that will test well, especially in the pass rush athleticism-specific drills.
BEST TRAIT – Mental Processing/Vision
WORST TRAIT – Burst
RED FLAGS – Torn ACL ended his 2016 season after six games
Granderson is a hard-charging edge defender with limited production despite facing non-Power 5 competition. 16.5 career sacks and just three sacks in 2018 highlight a disappointing resume in the box score, one that too easily translates over to the tape. Granderson plays hard and has some rush moves to lean on, but he’s painfully lacking athletically and doesn’t have the burst or bend to win many 1v1s on the edge. His best shot at making a roster is probably as a situational interior rusher who needs to ball on special teams to find a place in the NFL.
PROS: Long rusher with a good NFL frame. Shows the ability to reduce surface area and duck underneath punches; can continue up the arc with decent tilt to threaten the set point, though true bend through the lower half seems lacking. Able to throw inside spin counter and does well to read QB set points to adjust accordingly. Excels when slicing into the B-gap as a run defender and when twisting inside on T-E stunts as a pass-rusher — interior presence currently the best aspect of his game. Will occasionally throw a quick inside move as a pass-rusher with good success. Hands can be strong swiping or push-pulling when they arrive on time. Can get skinny between gaps to present in the backfield, especially when slanting off the snap.
CONS: Athleticism widely disappoints. Lacks explosiveness off the snap to be a true threat to corner and does not have the agility to drop in space as a coverage player at 255 pounds. Is immediately upright out of his stance and can get easily broadsided by down blocks accordingly. Has very little, if any, power to his frame (especially in the lower half) — gets blown off the ball. Lack of discipline and over-aggressive penetrator mindset only exacerbate the issue: will try to get into gaps he never could, and loses leverage terribly, giving up big running plays.
Is currently uncomfortable playing within OT’s cylinder as a pass-rusher, which greatly limits his ability to generate pressure/sacks. Tries to bend corner without taking the edge track tight to the frame, and is subsequently pushed beyond the peek of the pocket. Gives up his back too often to punches as he attempts to clear his shoulders. Generates no notable hand usage or rush moves beyond inside spin, which is only a decent move to this point. Lacks a great motor.