NAME: Drue Tranquill
SCHOOL: Notre Dame
CLASS: RS Senior
JERSEY: No. 23
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 233 lbs
Key & Diagnose – Lacks the twitch and instincts to play downhill consistently. Not a quick enough processor to consistently beat blockers to spots. Needs to see his gap open up and attack quicker. His key to success as a run defender will be playing faster than everyone else, not being faster than everyone else, and right now I don’t see him as elite enough in that area.
Range – Not slow, but definitely not quick out of the blocks and is more of a build-up speed guy than an explosive mover. Has made plays to the boundary just out of pure effort and anticipation, but lack of range does get exposed at times. Takes good angles to compensate.
Tackling/Finishing – Can struggle to bring runners down outside his frame to a lack of elite tackle radius. Inability to completely shed blocks before attempting a tackle makes him less effective. Technique is terrific when he can square opponents up. Will deliver a blow as often as possible, with some big hits in his Notre Dame career. Ability to make stops in space will be a concern against more elusive ball carriers.
Coverage – Good coverage linebacker due to processing skills and awareness in zone, and physicality and technique in man coverage. Past defensive back experience allows him to jam up tight ends and stay on their hip with subtle contact down the field. Athletically, there will be matchups he cannot win in man coverage, and windows he cannot defend in zone.
Block Deconstruction – Lack of length and size is an issue at times. Blockers that can match his technique overpower him at the second level. Can struggle to shed cleanly when his opponent arrives with equal purpose. Does show a variety of hand work and technique to slip or evade blockers, albeit giving up some ground as he does so. Physical football player who will bring the fight to blockers. When at SAM, sets a strong edge and will body tight ends a yard or two deep.
Change of Direction – Limited athlete in space with change-of-direction concerns. Not explosive in his lateral movements and gets reached or cut down at the second level too often against stretch plays. Takes a second to gather himself and change direction, lack of twitch gets him into trouble against better athletes in space and limits the aggressiveness of his angles. Added muscle to play linebacker seems to have taken some of his fluidity with it.
Competitive Toughness – Clearly limited, but physicality and toughness will never be questioned. Non-stop motor and makes plays on effort a lot of other players wouldn’t consider. Chases hard to the boundary and arrives with a vengeance. One of the highest-character prospects in the class. Tore his ACL in back-to-back seasons, but battled back to return to the field for a healthy 2017 season. High-character, two-time captain at Notre Dame.
Pass Rush – Effective blitzer who has flashes rush moves off the edge. Blitzed from different alignments at Notre Dame and showed surprising effectiveness. Rips under contact with active hands to corner. Brings a punch against running backs trying to pick him up.
Discipline – Always on the hunt. Smart linebacker who stays assignment sound at all times. Does his job, and knows the importance of gap control. Won’t over-pursue as backside defender and leave cutback option.
Athleticism/Size – Lacks great length or physical measurables, and is on the smaller side for a linebacker, even with the league moving in that direction. His biceps are bigger than your head though. Absolutely stacked frame. Average at best overall athlete. Based on his tape, fair to wonder if the torn ACLs have zapped some of his athleticism.
BEST TRAIT – Competitive Toughness/Effort
WORST TRAIT – Athleticism/Size
RED FLAGS – Tore his ACL in back-to-back seasons. Will be 24 as a rookie.
Tranquill is older, wiser and more mature than most NFL Draft prospects, traits that will appeal to the NFL. His experience, toughness and football IQ should translate immediately to a special teams unit, but a backup role might be the ceiling for Tranquill in the NFL. He’s a sharp player capable of handling a versatile combination of responsibilities at the next level, but his limitations athletically and lack of natural instincts as a run defender will hurt his ability to be an every-down starter in the NFL. Whether he gets drafted or not will depend heavily on his medicals.
Football Intelligence –Only two years of playing experience at LB, is still green on reading mesh points and consistently locating the football out of his reads. Pretty heady and confident in straight forward reps when not tasked to read laterally or hold outside contain.
Tackling –Tackle radius is limited by only modest length, will slip off some challenges. Can get stressed when looking to fill into the LOS and when forced to adjust late lacks the reach and lower body flexibility to play at extreme angles. Physical head-up tackler.
Block Shedding –Hands are aggressive and provide plenty of pop. Punch offers separation window to sweep or pull off an OL at first contact and like his ability to roll through contact with his hips to generate force and power in efforts to stand up blockers.
Competitive Toughness –Punches well above his weight class, you’d guess he’s closer to 240 with the pop in his hands and effectiveness standing up blockers. Can get caught communicating at the snap and if unable to stun with his hands, he can give up ground due to lack of extension to sit and press.
Lateral Mobility –Modest range. He knows his limits and prefers to scrape without pressing into the LOS in fear or not getting home and losing his angles. Not a sideline to sideline guy and lacks agility in tight spaces as well.
Coverage Skills –Really effective in turn and run coverage. Does well to get his hands on TEs at the LOS and flip to carry vertically up the field. Lacks the burst in short zone to click and close in efforts to drive on targets. Quick to react when routes flood his zone.
Gap Shooting Ability –Lacking in the burst needed to really overwhelm blockers but comes into gaps with heavy pads and ready hands. Has aggressive mentality in the box and shows awareness to rip through contact to get himself uncovered.
Feet/Change of Direction –Foot speed in lateral situations is limited, doesn’t do well with a lot of dynamic COD and struggles to collect himself suddenly before exploding in other direction. Issues may be related in some capacity to shaky medical history with knees (ACLs).
Flexibility –Shows coil and hip drop in linear situations but when tasked with playing with dynamic base and extending feet from under the hips, he struggles notably. Doesn’t carry a ton of speed through turns in pursuit efforts and when isolated in space to flip hips and run he labors.
First Step Quickness –Is a one speed guy, but wouldn’t classify him as a twitchy player. He’s about average for his size as it related to suddenness off the second level. He isn’t going to win a lot of real estate just by catching OL off guard out of their stance.
BEST TRAIT – Competitive Toughness
WORST TRAIT – Feet/COD
BEST FILM – Vanderbilt (2018)
WORST FILM – Michigan (2018)
RED FLAGS – 2 Torn ACL
Drue Tranquill is a high floor, low ceiling LB who can be a solid but unspectacular starter in the NFL. Tranquill’s biggest issues stem from a lack of burst and bend, so a role in an odd front, paired with another ILB, would protect him from testing his range. Additionally, Tranquill has good turn and run cover skills, he could play 4-3 SAM with some success. Medical history will be cause for concern and should temper his value as an in-demand prospect.