Lukas Van Ness NFL Draft Scouting Report
EDGE, Iowa Hawkeyes
Lukas Van Ness grew up playing hockey and started playing football in the eighth grade. After redshirting in 2020, Van Ness spent 2021 as more of an interior defensive lineman before playing primarily on the edge in 2022. That transition started during spring practices in 2022.
There’s so much to like about Van Ness and it starts with his functional strength. His ability to convert speed to power and play through blockers is outstanding. He maximizes his ability to bull rush and collapse the pocket with plus length, timing, and functional power to truly stress the anchor of offensive linemen. For a player of his body composition, I’m surprised by how much burst and flexibility he has to get off the ball, corner, flatten, and close. A B-gap defender in 2021, Van Ness is playing primarily on the edge and still getting chances to reduce inside. He should be able to bring that type of inside/outside versatility to an NFL defensive line, making him a wide-ranging fit, especially for the amount of fronts in today’s NFL that are multiple. Van Ness is a high-ceiling prospect that is still only scratching the surface of what he can become as a defensive playmaker.
Despite being a highly attractive prospect, Van Ness never started a game for the Hawkeyes’ defense—although he received a significant amount of playing time in a rotational role. While he has all the power, length, and movement skills to be an outstanding run defender, his block recognition skills have room to improve so he can be more consistent fitting the run and leveraging gaps. Van Ness has a strong foundation as a pass rusher but he needs to continue to build his repertoire of moves off his length and power. He should become even more dynamic as he develops his vision to read the set of blockers and his technique becomes second nature.
Van Ness has the makings of an impact starter in the NFL where he has a high ceiling to develop into. His room for growth makes him even more exciting given his relative newness to playing on the edge.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- Functional strength
- Flexibility and burst for his body type
- Motor and room for development
Top Reasons For Concern:
- Block recognition
- Expanding pass rush repertoire
Size (NFL Combine):
Height: 6′ 5”
Weight: 272 lbs
Arm Length: 34”
Hand Size: 11”
Athletic Testing (NFL Combine):
40-yard Dash: 4.58s
Vertical Jump: 31”
Broad Jump: 9′ 10”
Bench Reps: 17 reps
Ideal Role: Primarily a 5-tech that gets chances to reduce inside
Scheme Fit: Any
Prospect Comparison: Trey Hendrickson (2017 NFL Draft)
TDN Consensus Grade: 84.50/100 (Second-Round Value)
- Marino Grade: 84.50/100
Written By: Joe Marino
Exposures: Michigan (2022), Iowa State (2022), Ohio State (2022), Northwestern (2022)
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