Height: 6’3 | Weight: 305 | North Carolina
Pass Rush/Closing ability/Moves and counter moves: Playing in a zero technique at times, Austin was not asked to purely rush the passer. What he does excel at is collapsing the pocket and creating pressure on the quarterback by driving interior linemen backward. Has exceptional closing speed. When he breaks free of his blocker and closes on the quarterback, he does so quickly. Tries to use a spin move, but loses depth when spinning and opens himself up to blockers. Would benefit from a shoulder dip or power move instead of adding finesse moves (a juke and spin move).
Pursuit/Lateral movement and agility: Has the speed to run down screens and counters. Moves his feet well. Can shuffle down the line. Loose hips. His closing speed is impressive. Against Boston College, Austin breaks free of the guard and closes 5yds on the quarterback in one second (hand-timed)- causing a fumble that he almost recovers. His speed and athletic ability are somewhat unreal. Foot speed is dangerous and can slide past guards with ease. Austin never gives up on a play and even when putting himself out of position, he fights to get back to the ball.
Quickness/Explosion: Can be slow off the line of scrimmage at times. Would be quicker off the ball if he fired out of his stance low instead of standing up at the point of attack. Is much more athletic than the majority of defensive tackles. Moves with ease. Is athletic enough to play defensive end. When he does explode, Austin is unstoppable. Has the ability to push and collapse the pocket.
Run defend/Recognition: Recognizes the run quickly and effectively. Reads the line well and works down the line of scrimmage to the hole. Is very good at sniffing out a counter or trap and adjusting to the play. Is smart enough to pull down his blocker if he realizes he cannot get away from the block- freeing up tackling lanes for his teammates.
Size/Length/Hand size: Has ideal size for a defensive tackle. Has the bulk to plug holes, but is still a lean and athletic player. Is a new breed of tackle- lean, athletic and quick.
Strength/Ability to shed blocks: Slips blocks more than anything. Does not have to overpower many college blockers, but must improve at this to compete in the NFL. Locks his arms and keeps his eyes up. Able to locate the ball while engaged and is strong enough to disengage from the blocker.
Tackling: Works off blocks well and can make tackles while engaged. Is a strong and able tackler. Is aggressive at the point of attack. Looks for the high-kill shot a little often, but is a sure tackler.
Technique/Hand use/Leverage: Will stand up out of his stance too often. Must fire out lower, and with better pad height. Can be pushed off the ball, but has the strength and agility to slip blockers and recover. Makes many tackles after being initially popped by a guard or center. Tries to play patty-cake too often with blockers, he almost looks hesitant to engage the interior lineman. Improved as the season progressed at driving the center back off the ball. Dominated Virginia Tech in the 2nd half. Austin is an aggressive player who can take over a game with his ability to collapse the pocket and pressure the quarterback. Against Boston College Austin showed much better technique, firing off the ball low and using his hands to free himself from blockers.
Versatility: Has experience lining up over the center, but has the athletic ability to play any position on the defensive line. While Austin looks most likely to line up as a three-technique tackle in the NFL, we believe he could slide outside to defensive end in a 3-4 scheme and become a dominating player.
Final Word: In scouting defensive tackles lately, we have been blessed to see the likes of Glenn Dorsey, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Sedrick Ellis. In 2009 we proclaimed Ndamukong Suh the best defensive player we had ever scouting- and we are sticking to this. However, Marvin Austin is the most athletic defensive tackle we have seen to date. His ability to chase down the ball carrier and his freakish speed make him among the most dangerous defensive players in college football. He has the full arsenal of strength, size, speed and awareness that NFL General Managers are looking for in today’s defensive tackle.
While Austin may not be the pure player Suh is, he is a deadly combination of Suh’s ability to collapse the pocket and Gerald McCoy’s speed and athleticism.