Third Round: 67th Pick
Playing on college football’s most prospect-laden defense last season and playing the most loaded position at the top of the 2013 NFL draft are two factors working against LSU defensive tackle Bennie Logan’s draft stock, but nonetheless, he is a prospect who has not gotten the attention or credit he deserves.
Defensive tackle is a position that is likely to produce five to seven first-round picks in this year’s draft, while LSU’s defense is full of likely draft selections, including potential top-20 draft choices in defensive end Barkevious Mingo and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.
But even with all that competition, there are still aspects of Logan’s game that stand out, or at least should.
Logan has great movement skills for a defensive tackle. He is quick off the snap, both because of snap anticipation and great acceleration, but he is also a fluid runner who can chase down plays in the backfield and run around the field to make plays in space with rare grace for an interior defensive lineman.
The strongest suit of Logan’s game is his interior pass-rushing skill, as he is good at getting off the snap and penetrating up the middle to bring pressure against opposing quarterbacks. He is also effective at jumping up to knock down passes or block kicks.
Logan has subpar power for a defensive tackle. He is not very effective as straight-on bull-rusher, and will not push the pocket by driving offensive linemen back often.
Pad level also contributes to his struggles when taking on an offensive linemen straight ahead. He tends to play too high, and gets poor leverage as a result.
As mentioned, Logan’s athleticism is a big positive for his upside as a defensive tackle. He moves naturally, as he is nimble and light on his feet. He accelerates well, has good speed and can jump up to affect passes, although he did have a surprisingly disappointing mark of only 25 inches in the vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to NFL.com.
Logan is slightly short for a defensive tackle at 6’2”, but has solid size (309 pounds at the combine) and very good length with 34-inch arms. Though his power is subpar on tape, his combination of 30 bench press reps and 34-inch arms as measured at the combine indicate upside in that area.
On the field, Logan is a high-motor player who consistently plays through the whistle. He makes many plays on secondary effort after being stoned initially by a blocker, an indicator of a high motor and effort.
Off the field, Logan has no documented off-field trouble. LSU showed that they viewed Logan as a leader last season by anointing him with the No. 18 jersey number, a prestigious number at LSU which is bestowed upon a player “who best represents what it means to be a Tiger both on and off the field,” according to ESPN.com.
LSU took advantage of Logan’s quickness and size by using him as their starting 3-technique defensive tackle each of the last two seasons.
Although LSU rotated their defensive linemen heavily thanks to a wealth of depth on the line in each of those seasons, Logan played a significant majority of snaps against both the run and pass last season.
Although Logan only had five sacks in two seasons at LSU, he is one of the best pass-rushing tackles in the 2013 draft class.
Logan does not have a great first step as a rusher, but he has good quickness and acceleration. He combines with athleticism with active hands to beat blockers inside and penetrate with pressure into the pocket.
Logan does not quite have the hips or edge-rushing moves to do much damage around the edge, but he is good at sliding to the outside in efforts to stunt around the edge.
He has a limited arsenal of pass-rush moves, and he is not a very effective bull-rusher. He can, however, occasionally shake down a blocker with a swim move over the top, and on rushes where he is initially stoned, he can get often second-effort rushes through his hand-fighting and athleticism if the quarterback makes an effort to extend the play.
Against the Run
Logan is not a dominant run-stopper. He does not overpower opposing offensive linemen, and at times gets driven back off of the line of scrimmage.
He is not a liability, however, in run defense. He does a good job of controlling his gap, picking up blockers to free up his teammates and has good gap discipline when a play is in the backfield. He can shoot gaps to make stops in the backfield with his quickness off the snap, and he can also make plays back off the line of scrimmage with his ability to run and make plays in space.
Logan is a solid if unspectacular tackler. While he occasionally lets runners slip through his grasp, he typically wraps runners up well to take them down quickly both in the backfield and downfield. He tackles soundly but does not explode through ball-carriers with hits. He does a good job of using his length to reach out and grab ball-carriers to get in on tackles.
Use of Hands
Logan does not consistently shed blockers with pass-rush moves, but he is active with his hands. He shows the ability to disengage from blockers with his hand usage, and does a good job sliding off blockers to make run stops when a runner tries to go by him.
He tends to play with his hands too high, and could be more effective as a bull-rusher with lower pad level and better leverage. He needs to become better at using his length to beat blockers initially, because he often loses initial battles and wins on second effort.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Given his athleticism, length, interior pass-rushing ability and gap control against the run, Logan is well-suited to play the 3-technique, under tackle position in a 4-3 defense. He can add quickness to the inside of a defense, and can be a three-down playmaker.
With his movement skills, quickness and rush ability, Logan could also be viewed as a 5-technique defensive end candidate for teams who run 3-4 schemes. Given his lack of ability around the edge and somewhat stiff hips, however, Logan is best suited for a 4-3 interior line position.
One strong suit of Logan’s game is his ability to block kicks, so he will likely have a role on an NFL team’s kick-blocking unit.
Logan could be an early mid-round selection in most draft classes, but will likely be pushed to the late second or early mid-third round due to the depth and talent at the top of this year’s defensive tackle class. He is a good fit for teams who are looking to upgrade and add athleticism at the 3-technique defensive tackle position.