NAME: Austin Bryant
JERSEY: No. 7
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 265 lbs
First Step Quickness –Offers some flashes when afforded real estate to gain ground and when not tasked with setting up offensive tackles for pass rush counters. Best work has come off the edge as a crash defender with wide leverage and alignment to start.
Hand Technique/Length – Does not have any consistency with hand strike and ability to create space for himself as a rusher or run defender. Plays reps to a stalemate after stacking blocks and will need to introduce more aggressive sweeps, pulls and rips to uncover off of bodies.
Pass Rush Counters –Instances of a speed rush with inside shoulder lean, but by and large uncovered plays and second effort rushes have yielded the most consistent results in his game. Does not appear to address tackles with any strategy or base his moves on type of pass set he’s facing.
Flexibility –Has some modest lean below the waist, has offered some reps reducing the inside shoulder and rushing under the hands of a pass protector on the edge. Does not, however, play with a dynamic base and as a result struggles with redirection ability.
Run Defending –Needs improvement with his anchor to play his gap effectively and not provide runways for ball carriers to build up speed. More effective in crash down opportunities and when not forced to bow his back, sink his hips and anchor a spot.
Competitive Toughness –Gets pushed around far too much. Will get bubbled at the point of attack and does not hold a firm set of the edge against outside runs. Lacks power and authority in his hands as a means of offsetting run blockers. Can play passive in pursuit to the football.
Tackling –Will get over-eager and fail to settle down and squat on open space challenges. As a result, he’s left plays on the field by being unable to finish potential splash plays in the backfield. Offers a good wingspan and can influence a larger area of the LOS with a free arm.
Lateral Mobility –Fleeting glimpses of mobility are marred by poor effort when trying to string out plays under duress and when fighting through contact. Does have some athleticism to crash or step down but technical restrictions are massive hurdles he’s been unable to overcome.
Stand Up Ability –Removing him from traffic at the LOS often provides the best results. Athletic enough to walk out over a receiver and provide a jam vs. stack and sit in zone coverage. Pursuit plays and athleticism shine brightest in the open field and in linear situations to find the football.
Football IQ –Experienced player who has played on the brightest and biggest of stages for three years. Part of a well oiled machine up front on defense with all NFL players, although he’s the worst of the bunch on account of lack of plan for discarding blocks and being slow to process plays.
BEST TRAIT – Stand Up Ability
WORST TRAIT – Hand Technique
BEST FILM – Boston College (2018)
WORST FILM – Alabama (2017)
RED FLAGS – None
Austin Bryant is a challenging projection. He currently lacks baseline levels of anchor, extension, pass rush counters and play recognition to be a high caliber player. Instead, Bryant has promising reps as a widened defender, where he won’t have to set or anchor the edge. Bryant’s forecast is as a depth player only after four years at Clemson, he has notable growth before being considered to see field in high volume or as a starter.
Bryant has a similar build to teammate Clelin Ferrell but they are worlds apart when it comes to who is a more appealing NFL Draft prospect. Blossoming during his first year as a full time starter as a junior in 2017, Bryant needs to demonstrate major growth as a senior to be regarded like his fellow Clemson defensive line mates.
A modest athlete at best, Bryant doesn’t offer the type of juice out of his stance to put stress on an offensive tackles foot speed to keep pace around the edge track. He lacks vision, a plan and his pass rush moves are slow-developing and poorly-timed. He needs to become more of the aggressor as a pass rusher to make up for what he lacks athletically while developing his hand usage to disengage from blockers.
As a run defender, Bryant doesn’t process blocks quickly enough to position himself to be a consistent playmaker. While he does have flashes as an edge-setter and gap-shooter, he is too frequently late with his hands and is stuck in state of recovery to get back into his run fit.
Bryant’s best moments on tape were situations that the scheme specifically positioned him to make a play. To his credit, Bryant often took advantage of those opportunities. A role where he is used as a chess piece more than a head-up player is most ideal for Bryant at the next level as it currently stands.
Bryant did have some standout moments on tape but his snap-to-snap consistency is underwhelming. With that said, the stage is set for him to put it all together as a senior in a year where expectations couldn’t be higher.