NAME: Chase Winovich
CONFERENCE: Big 10
POSITION: Edge Defender
CLASS: RS Senior
JERSEY: No. 15
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 253 lbs
First Step Explosiveness – Linear release off the LOS provides a good burst and is capable of overtaking heavy footed pass setters with a speed rush up the field. Effective up-field charge is complimented with an effective three point stance to keep weight forward in the hand for release.
Hand Technique – Polished usage and techniques help to make the most of an otherwise modest physical skill set. Placement is effective in long arm and stacking techniques to optimize control of the rep and dictate the play. Shedding techniques showcase push/pull, rip and sweep.
Pass Rush Counters – Rip/club, push/pull, forearm sweep are predominant rush counters. Does not play with a lot of power elements as a pass rusher and can get too cute with blocking skill players. Has effective sense of coming back inside vs. over-sets to forcibly work back across face.
Flexibility – Issues in cornering as a pass rusher are most prominent when first hand counter doesn’t result in working hips across the outside leg of opponent. Struggles greatly to lean through the lower half and carry any leverage or force through the corner.
Run Defending – Terrific understanding of gap control and reading blocks at the point of attack. Is quick to attack vs. pulls, down blocks, fold techniques and drive blocks to respond appropriately and occupy his gap as a means of forcing the ball to teammates.
Competitive Toughness – Plays with a tireless effort. Is consistently flying to the football, regardless of his location on the field. Tenacity carries over to stacking blocks at the LOS, although limited lower body power does hinder ability to play with dominant presence as a block shedder.
Tackling – Will need to bring his strike zone up higher, will lean into finishes and catch opposing QBs around the knees. Struggles in space due to some tightness in hips to mirror. Has an authoritative finish when able to secure a clean wrap on the ball carrier.
Lateral Mobility – Is a linear athlete, first and foremost. Ability to hinge and get hips open to carry speed into the boundary is limited and will need to be sure of angles when setting the edge. Shows short area quickness through shallow angles. Plays fast in crash down situations into the MOF.
Stand Up Ability – Has shown an effective release as a pass rusher from a three point stance. Will have advantages as a tilted rusher from wide angles and has enough burst off the line to threaten in such instances. Is not an athlete to play on an island in zone coverage or try to turn and run.
Football IQ – Technically refined. Has done well to maximize his mobility by playing with strong technique and quick mental processing of plays around him. Polished prospect.
BEST TRAIT – Competitive Toughness
WORST TRAIT – Flexibility
BEST FILM – Notre Dame (2018)
WORST FILM – Michigan State (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Chase Winovich is a great example of an overachiever, he is a highly polished defender who illustrates a great understanding of the game and how to defeat blocks. With that said, Winovich does have some natural athletic restrictions (lateral mobility, flexibility, length) that will limit his ceiling at the next level. Winovich can be a productive starter at the NFL level and his technical prowess should allow him to get reps early on in his NFL career.
Burst – Not a highly explosive athlete. Can be slow off the ball and doesn’t get a great jump at all times. Decent arc speed and stride length, but not enough to be a trait he hangs his hat on. Has shown the ability to time up the snap in flashes.
Bend – Not overly bendy in the hips, but can shoulder dip under contact and tilt the edge. Reduces his surface area pretty well at the top of the arc, swiveling his shoulders to get through contact with minimal resistance. Does an outstanding job getting his hips and feet pointed to the pocket as an edge rusher. Corners better than given credit for.
Rush Moves – Elite combination of moves and ability to work various plans of attack to get home. Maximizes his average physical and athletic tools by having a plan of attack and consistently executing. Terrific job of showing hands and then attacking his opponent’s punch when he overreacts. Gets linemen lunging and deploys the snatch maneuver. Transition from snatch to rip at the top of the arc is so smooth. Push-pull is deadly. Creates some push with his bull rush. 2-hand swat is a thing of beauty.
Counters – Consistently works to get to the quarterback, although his secondary moves are more last resort dramatic effort than anything formulated in his plan of attack. Doesn’t get locked up often, keeps himself clean enough to disengage and work back to the quarterback. He’ll get some hustle sacks in the NFL, but won’t convert primary rushes to counters in a timely fashion very often. Not a speed-counter type of rusher.
Run Defense – Really good point-of-attack run defender, plays with power, leverage and hand placement. Long arms to lock out opponents and keep his frame clean. Easy disengage, push-pulled blockers out of the picture for clean sheds. Penn State and Notre Dame can testify to his functional strength. Smart player who finds the ball quickly and can make plays from the backside. Only limitation is range and athleticism to make plays in space.
Lateral Mobility – Labored lateral mover who struggles to change directions quickly. Not a quick-twitch defender and won’t be able to bounce and match more explosive runners to the boundary. Biggest struggles come in his inability to mirror ball carriers in space or make plays to the perimeter.
Mental Processing/Vision – Knows what to do in unblocked situations. Attacks pullers and won’t get kicked out. Recognizes blocking schemes extremely well and refuses to be reached on the edge. Sees inside space as a rusher and will work to it for fast tracks to the quarterback. Gets a little hungry at times and will chase ball fakes.
Tackling/Finishing – Can be a little aggressive and lose his balance coming into contact. Has the length and strength to get runners on the ground when he comes to balance first. Flashes of big-hit ability show up on tape.
Competitive Toughness – One of the toughest, most physical football players on the planet. High character prospect who will play through injury and work his tail off on every snap. Motor never quits. Does need to temper himself at times, as dumb penalties will creep into his play.
Athleticism/Size – Outstanding size, length and build for an edge defender, but lacks the ideal burst, arc speed and hip flexibility to be super dangerous on the outside track. Combine will be massive for him, particularly the 3-cone and 10-yard split.
BEST TRAIT – Hand Usage
WORST TRAIT – Burst
RED FLAGS – Dropped out of Senior Bowl dealing with a foot injury
Winovich is a pretty fascinating case study in what it takes to be a successful edge rusher in the NFL. At first glance his traits don’t seem to be inspiring, as he lacks explosiveness and doesn’t have great change-of-direction or speed to run the arc. Nevertheless, Winovich bends under contact and gets his feet pointed to the pocket better than he’s given credit for, which combined with his hand usage allows for him to corner at a decent level.
Winovich is probably never going to be a double-digit sack artist in the NFL, but he is a high floor defender with a strong all-around game and terrific intangibles. The second round is probably a little too bold for me, but he has starter ability and at the very least will be a key member of a team’s rotation at edge.