Football IQ - Really encouraged by development down the stretch, he looked more confident in keys and breaking to the ball in both run looks and when tasked with playing zone coverage. Sharp -- keys guards sufficiently to step and squeeze in the box or shoot gaps vs. down blocks.
Tackling - Can get a little overambitious when scraping or flowing into ball carriers, would like to see him be a bit more consistent to break down and ensure he's square on the frame of ball carriers. His frame is explosive -- has delivered some BOOMING hits when he's flush.
Block Shedding - Block deconstruction isn't an overall staple, is more sufficient in space when he can scrape/avoid blocks with his mobility. If you ask him to step downhill/stun blockers to reset the LOS or set the edge, he's not been given exposure and hands don't carry ideal power to reset pads.
Competitive Toughness - Motor is *hot*, he's flashed from outside the numbers on opposite side of the field and make tackles 15 yards downfield. Effort level is strong and attentive to finding work -- will flow with QBs in zone coverage. Functional strength at POA is modest to hold ground vs. linemen.
Lateral Mobility - Sideline to sideline potential -- he's got ample range and won't concede the corner if he's faced with outside run concepts. Will have little problem working over the top of plays and should challenge interior OL to get on top of him on second level as backside scrape LB.
Coverage Skills - Textbook coverage in zone vs. a mobile passer versus USU (2019). Shows plenty of mobility through his hips to drop and key simultaneously while hitting his marks. Gets good depth in MOF drops to force touch throws over his wingspan. 4 career interceptions.
Gap Shooting Ability - Short area quickness is notable and when he sees it and decides to shoot, it is typically because he has the angle to get home. His TFL production is hindered by notable reps flexed out into space but he's got ability to duck under blocks on the boundary, as well.
Feet/COD - He's very fluid in space, impressive acceleration, redirection and agility. His lapses in pursuit don't come from athletic restrictions but rather from inconsistencies to gear down and put himself in a position to mirror the ball carrier.
Flexibility - Smooth athlete in the open field. Really like his ability to disassociate his hips from his upper half to swiftly gain depth in zone coverage but keep eyes into the backfield. His hips are dynamic to explode through contact when tackling head up or with pads aligned for optimal pop.
First Step Quickness - Dynamic. Notable burst and explosiveness makes him a weapon as a blitzer, both from interior gaps from the second level or if he's tasked with working off the edge versus more open sets. Closes ground with little effort.
Best Trait - Range
Worst Trait - Tackling
Best Film - UNC (2019)
Worst Film - Florida State (2018)
Red Flags - 2019 torn biceps
Summary - Justin Strnad projects favorably as a next level linebacker thanks to his range and explosiveness. Strnad took notable steps forward in his final season with the Deacs, showing more confidence in his reads and more trust in his eyes to break on action quickly. Strnad can continue to increase his productivity with continued focus on stacking blocks and keeping his frame clean, but there's plus skills to work in space as is. Can be a starter in an even front as the WILL linebacker playing in space.