Seventh Round: 231st Pick
Harding defensive end and linebacker Ty Powell projects to have an NFL role as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He's very quick, and despite playing at a small school, NFL teams see potential in his play to put him on the map for the NFL draft.
Follow along as we dissect Powell's game:
- Powell has a unique amount of athleticism for his size at the position.
- He's a high-motor, talented pass-rusher who just needs more pass-rush moves.
- Against the run, he flows to the ball well and limits yardage effectively.
- He's an excellent special teams player who can create turnovers and block kicks.
- Pass coverage isn't an asset for Powell, but that can be schemed around.
- His tackling form is weak, but he delivers a good pop.
- Hand usage could improve, which would allow Powell to be better all around.
While Ty Powell could go as high as the third round, he should be selected sometime in the third day. He will have multiple general managers fall in love with his physical talents and the way he can fit within a scheme.
How many linebackers out there have 3-4 outside linebacker size at 6'2" and 249 pounds along with safety-caliber athleticism—shown by Powell's 4.60 in the 40-yard dash, 4.40 in the shuttle and 6.98 in the three-cone drill?
Very, very few. But Powell is one of them. He could very well be the best athlete at the 3-4 outside linebacker position in this year's draft. His all-around abilities are all supplemented by his extraordinary strength, speed and size combination for the position.
Intangibles, Character and Injuries
While Powell's not a problem off the field, he's not a leader in the locker room, either. He's a simple, hardworking team player who will keep his nose clean and help the team out. He hasn't had injuries that affected his starting capabilities and hasn't missed any games due to injury at Harding.
Most people would wonder why someone as talented as Powell would choose Division II Harding over other options he may have had available. He answered the following question for NFL Draft Zone's Damond Talbot:
"How many teams were recruiting you coming out of high school and how did you make your decision?" Talbot asked.
Powell responded with "I wasn’t recruited out of high school, however I was heavily recruited out of Junior College. My decision I believe was made up it self once I came on a visit to Harding University. Harding has a great atmosphere and is surround by amazing people. The Coaches care more about you as a person, they just don’t care about if you can play football. Coaches at Harding want to be part of your life forever not just the years you play for them. That ultimately had me sold on where I needed to be."
Early on in his career, Powell was used a safety and even cornerback by De Anza College. However, once he transferred to Harding, he was moved to defensive end and even linebacker depending on the sets. His versatility will be helpful for a team that wants to use him in an "amoeba"-style set.
He was also used quite extensively on special teams and shined in that role. While most players tend to take those plays off, he would always give it his all as both a gunner and a defender on the units. His four blocked kicks were more than just scheme.
Despite playing safety at lower levels, he was never talented as a coverage player and should not be used in man coverage. He's best in shorter zones where he can read the play and react to it after it happens. He flies to the ball and limits yards after the catch, but for the most part he needs work as a coverage player.
As a pass-rusher, Ty Powell is what a team wants. He flies off the snap and uses his quickness to beat slower offensive tackles around the arc. He has an effective bull-rush as well, but he needs to develop some pass-rushing moves to be even better. He is a high-motor player, and if he loses a battle initially, he will still try and get after the quarterback every play 100 percent.
Against the Run
Powell can stack and shed effectively as a run defender when at linebacker. At defensive end, he tended to beat the tackles he would line up against effectively. He didn't over pursue and because of that effectively set the edge. Both spots allow him to be used effectively and could make him an asset for a team looking for a weak-side outside linebacker or defensive end.
While he is a strong tackler and can take down anyone, he needs to wrap up more effectively. He tends to be more of a head hunter than a true form tackler. With simple coaching, he could turn this weakness into a true strength for his NFL team. He does deliver a good pop when he hits guys and can separate a player from the ball with his hits.
Use of Hands
When he's engaged in a block, Powell tends to have trouble getting proper leverage underneath pads. He showed improvement at the Senior Bowl, but it's tough to see him turn this into an instant strength right away. Powell has a ton of potential here; his hand and arm strength is great for his size. He just needs a good defensive line coach to help him develop.
Future Role and Scheme Versatility
Early on in his career, he will be a special teams player and a third-down pass-rush specialist. He's able to develop into a true long-term starter as a 3-4 outside linebacker or even in an Osi Umenyiora role, though. If Powell's pass rush can fully translate from the Division II ranks to the pro game, he could possibly be a first-year starter for a team that is weak at outside linebacker, like the Jets.