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.