Gerald Willis

Position: Defensive Tackle

College: Miami

Height: 6'4"

Weight: 300 lbs

SCOUTING GRADE

Injury History: No Major Injury History

Games Evaluated: 2018: Florida State, Virginia, LSU, Boston College

Scout: Jason Feiner

Scouting Report

Athleticism: 6.42

Q.A.B. / C.O.D.: 6.90

 

Quick on his feet and seems to change direction and vary speeds with ease. He has quick feet and solid footwork when working off the line of scrimmage. His wide base and strong frame keep him balanced at the point of attack, but he can be caught standing high and losing his footing after leverage is lost. His ability to move in space and finish run-and-chase plays better than most defensive tackles. Surprisingly athletic for a 300 pounder.

 

Flexibility: 5.90

 

He displays poor flexibility in his knees and hips when engaging blockers the line of scrimmage often standing straight up after bursting off the line. His flexibility allows defenders to lock their hands into his frame. Could benefit a ton by dropping his pads and working under more contact to keep himself cleaner. Possesses enough bend and ankle flexibility to cut into the pocket when working the outside shoulder of the guard.

Explosiveness: 7.50

 

Surprising burst off the line with the ability to eat up ground quickly. He can force lineman onto their heels early in sets and shoot gaps immediately utilizing active hands and quick feet. Needs to consistently fire out rather than pop up with his initial movement. Utilizes a quick first step and can transition his burst off the line into quickness upfield.

Playing Speed: 6.00

 

His straight line speed won't be a problem at the next level, as he possess solid range to chase down runners down the line of scrimmage and in the backfield. Won't catch runners from behind in the second or third levels, and will occasionally give up on the play when the ball is run away from him.

Coordination: 5.80

 

Frequently will play in contact with high pads and poor leverage off the jump. Will end up on the ground multiple times throughout a game and can't step over bodies efficiently.

Pass Rush Ability: 6.52

Initial Quickness: 8.00

 

Utilizes a quick first step off the line to challenge blockers and work upfield quickly. Has learned how to carry his burst into quickness and eat up ground exploding through gaps and making plays in the backfield. Excellent reaction time, as he is the first off the ball on the majority of snaps.

Use of Hands: 6.30

 

He has shown the raw power to toss lineman out of the way and attack the ball with a relentless motor, but it comes in waves and has been extremely inconsistent. He fails to maximize his leverage and arm extension to keep his chest clean often standing up and losing leverage, creating battles of raw power rather than technique. When he can get his hands inside the pads of offensive lineman, he can control them from the get-go and reset the line of scrimmage. He will too frequently will forget to use his hands to punch or create seperation. He does however, utilize an effective club maneuver to pop hands off his chest and shows a solid push/pull combo to yank blockers off their platform. Limited.

 

Leverage: 5.30

 

Losses leverage immediately standing up after brushing off the LOS. He will pop straight up out of his stance to start plays. This forces him to work over the top of blockers often causing him to lose gap control, widening his lane and losing site of the ball. Doesn’t fire into opponents with ideal extension and knee bend, causing him to be displaced at the point of attack.

Pass Rush Moves: 6.30

 

Possesses a short supply of effective pass rush moves that he can consistently win with attacking the backfield and making plays behind the line. He has raw power that can manhandle most interior lineman pushing them off their set when his [ad level is decent. Loves the swim move and is quick and deadly with it. Uses it to much, and it shows up on film. Savvy opponents know it is coming early. Big and strong enough to push through the edge of weaker interior linemen. Will get stuck on blocks and fail to work off in a timely fashion. Struggles with counter moves.

Finish Ability: 6.70

 

Will leave to many opportunities on the table when rushing the passer. Struggles to get off blocks and can run past quarterbacks who show solid movement ability in the pocket. relentless motor helps him close and collapse the pocket. Has shown good production against scramble drills and doesn't get fooled by the option. Can find the ball and attack.

 

Competitiveness: 7.23

Toughness: 7.80

 

Big frame combined with excellent raw power make him a problem for blockers physically. He plays with a nasty demeanor on every snap.

Consistency/Motor: 7.10

 

He is relentless in pursuit of the ball behind or at the line of scrimmage and will do everything he can to stop a runner play side. Won't provide much effort when the ball reaches the second level or is run to the opposite side of the field. Has been seen stopping mid play when a runner broke a tackle ultimately running by Willis in the process.

Production: 6.80

 

Good production as an interior lineman racking up 4 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. Only has one season under his resume after off field issues took him off the field.

Against The Run: 6.32

Play with Leverage: 5.00

 

This is a big area of concern for Willis, especially in the run game. He will pop straight up out of his stance and lose leverage immediately. Tries to spin out of blocks as a last resort at times and can really be manhandled then. Spends too much time on the ground and bottled up due to lack of leverage. Struggles to stack and shed often missing opportunities to attack the ball due to leverage battles he loses.

Stack and Shed: 6.10

 

Willis is slow to process blocks, and with that he gives away leverage almost immediately after bursting off the line. When blockers are allowed to get there hands in his frame, he struggles to release and shed the block. Miami's offense is designed to give Willis the opportunity to shoot gaps limiting the risk to get swallowed up in contact. Willis also abandons technique too often. He gets sloppy with his pad level and rarely will stack and shed to control the line of scrimmage. Limited hands usage hurts him in this area. Lacks length.

Gap Shooting Ability: 7.50

 

Possesses the functional strength to play through down blocks and lateral contact when he’s fully committed to driving into the backfield and create havoc. He can be slower off the ball when he needs to think about the run, but is sensational and can jump through the gap with ease when his soul purpose is rushing the passer. He has an outstanding ability to mirror ball carriers in the backfield to accrue tackles for loss. Great field vision with the ability to find the ball in the backfield.

Run at Him: 6.50

 

He will not successfully hold the point of attack against drive blocks and lacks the length needed to stack and shed when ball is carried off his hip pocket. Possesses the strength to play through down blocks and the mental processing to push cut-blocks to the turf. When he is fully committed to the play, he can slash into the backfield and create havoc.

Run Away: 5.70

 

He has the athleticism to chase backs down the line of scrimmage and make the occasional play at the boundary while scraping the line of scrimmage. He will not give his full effort for plays away from him.

Tackling/Hitting: 7.10

 

Will swallow you whole if he’s able to square you up at the LOS. He has the ability to get power behind his pads and lay out runners providing the big hit. His ack length and radius is masked by his short area movement, and his ability to slide and mirror in tight spaces.

 

Intelligence: 6.13

Instincts: 6.50

 

Willis does an excellent job in tracking down the ball and making plays in the backfield. He isn't really tasked to diagnose plays and often is asked to penetrate and disrupt playing to his strengths.

Learn/Retain: 6.10

 

The majority of the time he’s attacking a gap with very little block recognition required. Miami’s defense is designed to play fast up front and limit thinking. He will have to develop at the next level, as his overall block recognition is slower than what is preferred.

 

Teamwork: 5.80

 

Willis has many off field concerns revolving around his personality traits that will need to be answered for in pre-draft interviews. He was dismissed from Florida and ultimately transferred to Miami before taking a year off. Since his return to the field he is a "self proclaimed" new man and his teammates and coaches have gawked over his leadership and determination over the past year.

STRENGTHS:

Willis is an athletic prospect with a big frame and good power to challenge lineman in contact. Shows a lot of enticing flashes at the point of attack as a dominating penetration presence. He displays a quick first with the ability to work upfield and attack the ball with a relentless motor collapsing the pocket or exploding through the gap. He understands how to slip blocks and use his hands to uncover in gaps. Has the ability to play down the line of scrimmage and attack the ball carrier to the edge making plays in the backfield. Possesses a ton of room for development and could wreak havoc at the next level with the right coaching. Developed leadership traits over the past year.

WEAKNESSES:

Has major off field issues that will be heavily questioned during the draft process. He was dismissed from Florida and took a year off from football after transferring to Miami. He struggles with pad level and stands up immediately off the line of scrimmage losing leverage. Has short arms inhibiting his reach and ability to keep blockers off his frame and struggles to shed at the point of attack. Willis concedes his chest far too often and will subsequently get manhandled in contact despite his play strength. Will need to learn how to read blocks at the next level and has a long road ahead to develop into an NFL defensive tackle with well developed play recognition. Can be slow off the line when tasked with thinking about the run: added responsibility.

BIG PICTURE:

Willis is an athletic prospect with a great burst and good build to battle in contact. He struggles to shed blocks and plug gaps, but possesses a relentless motor that keeps him playing through the whistle ultimately making plays behind the line of scrimmage. He can get off the line quickly and shoot the gap to collapse the pocket and attack the ball. Ultimately gets manhandled in contact due to poor leverage and a deficiency in overall length. Willis should be considered a late day 2 prospect with an extremely high ceiling if he can stay on the field and develop with the right system and coaches. Along with his high ceiling, Willis possesses a low floor and will be drafted with caution.

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