Kawann Short Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Purdue DT

Ryan Lownes@@ryanlownesFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2013

November 24, 2012;  West Lafayette, IN, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers defensive tackle Kawann Short (93) during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ross Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Kawann Short

Carolina Panthers

Second Round, 44th Pick

Following a prolific college career and dominant week at the Senior Bowl, Kawann Short has not received as much publicity as one might expect leading up to the draft.

Winning battles at the line of scrimmage with an impressive first step and undeniable power, he became a stud early on at Purdue. He leaves the Boilermakers after four years as a productive starter.

Will his success as a disruptive penetrator carry over to the next level? Or will Short be defined by his inconsistency?

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Excellent snap anticipation, impressive first step - Inconsistent with a motor that runs hot and cold
+ Demonstrates natural power, upper body strength - Questionable recognition skills, fooled by misdirection
+ Very disruptive, a penetrator with good quickness - Struggles to make an impact when unable to win with quickness
+ Outstanding college production - A bit heavy-footed, lacking agility and range


Weighing in at 6’3”, 315 pounds, Short is a bit soft in his upper body, but has thick thighs and long arms. He is fairly strong, as evidenced by 29 reps of 225 on the bench press.

A hamstring injury kept him from working out at the NFL Scouting Combine or his school’s pro day in early March, but Short was able to work out for scouts later in the month. During his individual workout, he ran a 5.08 40-yard dash. Other results include a 27” vertical jump, 8’4” broad jump, 7.55 three-cone drill and 4.65 short shuttle.

While he impresses with quickness and power on tape, Short is not the type that would excel in that setting. He is an average athlete, slightly heavy-footed and without the fluidity to change direction well.



While at Purdue, Short was voted team captain as a junior and senior.  He has generally been durable throughout his college career but has battled injuries lately. In 2012, he played through a minor ankle injury. As I mentioned, he also struggled with a nagging hamstring issue during the pre-draft process.



Purdue mixed it up defensively with three and four-man fronts. Short lined up at several spots along the interior, playing 3-tech, 1-tech and nose tackle during his time with the Boilermakers.

Pass Rush

Short is one of the most productive interior pass rushers in this draft, with 19.5 sacks during the last three seasons. A disruptive force, he has the quickness and raw power to penetrate the backfield almost at will.

He fires out of his stance, displaying excellent snap anticipation and an impressive first step. Violent hands also allow him to win the leverage battle at the point of attack.

While he was productive in college, he lacks variety to an extent.

Run Defense

While his penetrating ability helps him to shine as a pass rusher, Short is a much more inconsistent run defender. He is disruptive, often overpowering interior blocker at the point of attack. At times, however, he appears to focus more on winning the battle at the line of scrimmage and less on where the ball is going.

He does not offer much after the runner crosses the line of scrimmage and will not typically exert effort trying to catch them. Though quickness makes him dangerous against delayed hand-offs, he is often fooled by misdirection. He has shown the ability to anchor, but is too frequently washed out in the run game.



Though he is quick to penetrate the backfield, Short has struggled at times when he must break down and make the tackle. He shows the ability to lower his pads and explode through ball-carriers, but he is inconsistent in this area.

He does not appear natural in space, relying on his momentum to bring runners to the ground rather than wrapping up.

Hand Use

Possessing impressive upper body strength, Short shows pop in his hands, converting quickness to power. He flashes violence, ripping blockers at the line of scrimmage.

Utilizing long (34.75”) arms, he demonstrates the ability to fend off blocks as he fights to enter the backfield. Hand use along with quickness and natural power allow him to occasionally split double teams.

While he typically shows active hands, he often appears to give up when he is unable to win with his initial quickness.


Future Role/Versatility

Due to his experience in a variety of roles and schemes, Short might appeal to teams operating a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. His best fit, however, appears to be in a four-man front where he could best utilize his talents as a penetrator. His quickness and snap anticipation could make him an ideal fit for the three-technique spot.

Also worth noting, he appears to have a knack for blocking kicks, which will surely land him a spot early on special teams.

Draft Projection: Late First-Early Third Round


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