Name: Ben Banogu
CONFERENCE: Big 12
CLASS: RS Senior
JERSEY: No. 15
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
WT: 249 lbs
Burst – From a 2-point stance, lacks explosiveness up the field and will often be a beat behind the snap in his get-off. Slow to react even when ball-watching. False step from a standup position often manifests itself. Decent stride length up the arc once he gets going. Did appear more explosive from a 3-point stance, but rarely had his hand down in the games I studied.
Bend – Nada. He can’t bend even favorable angles to the pocket. Rushes high around the edge and struggles to show ideal hip flexibility through contact. Isn’t great at timing his shoulder drop to run under contact. Speed/bend won’t be an issue for offensive tackles, which limits Banogu’s area of impact as a rusher.
Rush Moves – Pretty solid in this area. Not overly dynamic, but has flashed an outside club/swim combo and loves to use the two-hand stab to transition into a rip move on the edge. Can convert speed-to-power against light-weight offensive tackles, but majority of the time was not successful. Just not explosive or leveraged enough to create movement.
Counters – Has flashed a spin move, but usually as a last resort and not a quick-trigger counter when his primary move is stopped. Energetic rusher who keeps working with active hands even when he’s initially shut down. Not quick to get to his second move in general, gets hung up on contact fairly often.
Run Defense – Has to understand his depth from the line of scrimmage. Will get body-to-body with tackles and push deep up the edge, leaving big inside lanes for his teammates to defend. Often makes things worse by trying to work around contact in a wide arc rather than stay gap disciplined. Plays with decent pad level and has the length and hand placement to hold his own in 1v1 exchanges when his technique is good. Asked to fire gaps a lot at TCU and simply wasn’t explosive enough to do so without getting washed down the line of scrimmage. Has to do a better job of staying assignment sound on the edge, ducked inside several times as the force defender, allowing the runner to bounce outside for big gains. Do your job!
Lateral Mobility – Segmented mover with decent mobility, but struggles to adjust when his initial angle is off. Missed too many opportunities to make plays in space because he couldn’t mirror top-tier athletes in space. Some concern that he’ll be too easily navigated as a flat defender if he doesn’t close the distance between he and the ball carrier quickly. Does have the ability to lull tackles to sleep with stutter steps to create a softer edge.
Mental Processing/Vision – As a pass rusher, sees sets well and will take inside paths when they are available. Often charged with working through trash as a looper on stunts, but was hit or miss at finding creases to slip through on the move. Looked like TCU opted for wrong-arm technique when taking on pullers (not my preference), which Banogu processed and executed well-enough in unblocked situations.
Tackling/Finishing – Has the length and strength you want as a tackler on the edge, yet still let too many finishes wriggle away. Can’t seem to hang on outside his frame on a consistent basis. Big radius does slow runners up and allows his teammates to arrive. In space, missed a couple stops this season in the backfield.
Competitive Toughness – Tough, physical and plays hard. Didn’t see any reps where Banogu dogged it in the slightest. Appears fully-engaged despite a healthy snap count.
Athleticism/Size – Size, length and frame are a big reason why he is on the NFL radar. Does he have the athleticism to match? On tape, I don’t see it. Might test ok in some areas, but pass rush athleticism (burst/bend) is lacking.
BEST TRAIT – Rush Moves
WORST TRAIT – Burst/Bend
RED FLAGS – None
Banogu was a mildly productive transfer who put up 8.5 sacks in back-to-back seasons off the edge for TCU, but doesn’t really possess the athletic traits in explosiveness or bend to continue that trajectory in the NFL. He’s got enough rush moves, strength and awareness to contribute as a depth edge defender in the league, but he doesn’t really do anything at a high level, and I can’t see him as a preferred starter at any point in the NFL. Banogu looks good on the hoof however, which will intrigue teams if he tests better than expected at the Combine and stands out in Mobile.
PROS: Long, athletic frame. Good get off at the snap. Has shown the ability to stack and shed against the run. High effort, good motor and pursuit angles to the ball. Excellent ability to shoot gaps at the goal line. Uses length to lock out offensive lineman. Shown enough counters, including a lethal spin move. Is able to get the offensive lineman off balance when rushing the passer. Moves well in space. Does a good job of coming clean on stunts. Alters the path of the ball by getting his hands up at the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Tends to rush without a plan. Uses a club-rip when rushing 90% of the time. Unaware of line of scrimmage against the runs and tends to run upfield and come back down. Not very effective against the running game and disappears at times. Long athlete with potential but needs to develop more refined technique for the next level.