Football IQ - His initial processing to diagnose ball pathway is solid — fairly sudden. But as he scrapes and flows, appears to get tunnel vision and anticipation wanes, too often works himself into poor positioning to challenge ball carriers and overrun plays. Too prone to ducking traffic to take easy path.
Tackling - Lack of length is compounded by a habit of overrunning plays, will be slow to come to balance and transition into mirror mode. He's lacking in tackle radius, too — if you test him in wide open spaces, odds are decent he's going to get broken down and wrap up skills are hit or miss.
Block Shedding - Does not possess the needed pop in his hands to offset blockers climbing to the second level. Wish he had a little extra length to him to keep his chest clean in head on collisions — but he's embraced a more finesse, slippery style of play instead. As a result he can be influenced out of the play.
Competitive Toughness - He's a high motor try hard — appreciate that he's pretty consistent in effort level to scrape and flow to the football. His rally skills are strong but his finishing skills are not. Will not do well in gap penetration style defense that forces him to address/play through contact.
Lateral Mobility - He's fairly fluid to scrape and work over top of the set and into position. Like that he's got a sense of sliding in zone coverage, too — he's pretty fluid and despite lack of explosive skills he is actually pretty clean and quick in space when he wants to be.
Coverage Skills - Notable ball production over the course of the last two seasons. He's better off in zone — he'll sink and slide to shade quarterback's eyes effectively and does well to influence the ball despite his prominent lack of length. Has finished chances to convert turnovers with regularity.
Gap Shooting Ability - If he sees a chance to shoot gaps, he'll take them and his initial processing quickness will let him get his fair share of plays into the gap. When he beats an OL to the spot, he's pretty heady to crash the party — but if he's not able to step through clear, OL will wash him down and out of the play.
Feet/COD - Will say this about his feet — they're active. He'll run hard through contact or run hard through the point of balance for better or for worse. He's not overly springy but he is definitely fluid when he's working or scraping over the top of the play.
Flexibility - Not especially bendy and doesn't have great hip mobility but he is built low to the ground so he's comfortable to work under the pads of ball carriers on chances to deliver big body blows as a fill defenders. His tackle radius suffers from lack of length but he does what he can to lean and challenge while carrying pace.
First Step Explosiveness - More quick than fast, almost equivalent to a snap jumper on the LOS. He doesn't cover a ton of ground on account of short strides and will struggle to work into position to overtake blockers if he isn't given a sudden release immediately at the snap of the football.
Best Trait - Short Area Quickness
Worst Trait - Block Deconstruction
Best Film - Oregon (2019)
Worst Film - USC (2019)
Red Flags - None
Summary - Francis Bernard projects as a potential depth LB in the pros. Bernard has bright flashes of play diagnosis/quickness to step into voids up front, but his ability to break down blocks, play through contact or serve as a consistent finisher all blend for concerns that will need to be ironed out before he latches on to a full-time role. Bernard is more quick than fast and more sudden than powerful — will need a DL that can provide heavy protections if he is to serve as a starter.