6’4, 242 pounds | Outside linebacker/Defensive end | Clemson
Instincts/Recognition: This area of Sapp’s game could be tested as he will likely have to move from end to linebacker. His role at Clemson was to get into the back field, so becoming a more well-round player may be a challenge. Will have to initially rely on his athleticism.
Pass Rush: This is the area where Sapp will earn his draft placement. His quickness off the snap is excellent and uses his speed to get out wide and around tackles. While Sapp played end at Clemson, he often was standing up pre-snap. Shows a good swim move with his arms, but he doesn’t always complete it properly with his legs.
Still, for a player known as a pass rusher, Sapp never had more than six sacks in a year and finished his career with 17 in 50 games.
Pursuit/Lateral movement and agility: This is one of Sapp’s biggest strengths. He has impressive agility and straight-line speed. Locates the ball and can change direction effortlessly.
Quickness/Explosion: Has a stellar burst off the line of scrimmage. Gets to full speed almost instantly.
Run defense: Sapp only struggles some here because of his lack of good functional strength. Gets held up too long blocks. He can be run at, but is very good at tracking down runners on the back side.
Size: Possesses adequate size for a linebacker but would be considered undersized as an end. Has long arms and is tight-skinned. Should try and add at least 10 pounds of bulk.
Strength/Ability to shed blocks: Needs to get stronger to handle blockers at the point of attack. Has some problems stacking and shedding. Would rather run around blockers than through them.
Tackling: Displays good technical tackling ability, but needs to get stronger to be more effective. Not an intimidating hitter. Could do better attacking as a tackler.
Versatility: Sapp’s placement in the NFL is either as a 3-4 outside linebacker or on a team that needs a pass-rush defensive end. He doesn’t have the size to hold up as an every-down defensive end. Will likely need to be heavily worked with in pass coverage. Rarely used in zone coverage at Clemson.
Final word: Sapp is a player who will be over-drafted based on his measurables. Sapp is a good pass rusher who struggles in some other facets of the game.
What’s more concerning about Sapp, though, is his overall lack of production. Outside of showing a couple flashes a sophomore, Sapp was a non-existant player on the defensive line until his senior year. Even then, he still only had five sacks. This makes you question his work ethic and competitiveness.
As a junior, Sapp suffered a partially torn right ACL in 2008. It’s an injury that is reportedly still giving Sapp some problems.
Sapp is almost purely a 3-4 outside linebacker prospect, but he’ll have to do more than be a pass rusher in that role. Whether he can do that or not is unknown.