Corbin Smith

Seahawks Draft Central- Stephon Tuitt, DL Notre Dame

Created on Apr. 20, 2014 10:51 PM EST



2013 STATS: 49 TKL, 7.5 SACKS, 9.0 TFL

STRENGTHS: From a potential standpoint, there might not be a defensive lineman away from Jadeveon Clowney with more upside than Tuitt. At 6'6 and weighing over 300 pounds, he's a load to block and has outstanding athletic skills to go with his size. He's one of the more versatile players in this draft class, as he has the strength and power to play inside as a tackle and the athleticism to do damage as an edge rusher. He can be plugged in pretty much anywhere along the defensive line and be successful, making him adaptable in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. Though he didn't record as many sacks as a junior in 2013, Tuitt showed he's more than capable of getting after the quarterback with 12.0 sacks as a sophomore the season prior.

WEAKNESSES: Consistency seems to be the biggest question mark for defensive linemen in the 2014 class, and Tuitt's uneven junior campaign puts him under the same microscope. He had off-season hernia surgery and showed up at camp carrying a few extra pounds. While his play improved as the season progressed, he never dominated the line of scrimmage at any point like he did for most of the 2012 season. As a result, his production took a hit, especially in the sack column, as he only totaled 7.5 sacks in his final season with the Fighting Irish. His intensity seems to change from down-to-down, as he'll go from sending two lineman back into the back field one play to being driven into the turf the next. He's also entering this draft with durability concerns, as he didn't run at the combine after doctors found he had a foot fracture.

WHERE HE FITS: Tuitt will most likely still be a late first round pick, but his current foot injury hasn't allowed him to work out for teams prior to the draft. Scouts continue to question his motor, but the same was said about Bruce Irvin before the Seahawks drafted him two years ago. This guy has a blend of size and quickness that rarely enters the draft, and Pete Carroll has always had interest in versatile linemen. Tuitt looks like he could be molded into the next Red Bryant and play defensive end as a run stopper while being used as an interior rusher on passing downs. He has to prove he's fully committed and ramp up his effort more consistently, but if he ends up in the right system, he could be a steal at the latter stages of round one.
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