Ja'Whaun Bentley NFL Draft 2018: Scouting Report for New England Patriots' Pick

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 28, 2018

Purdue linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley (4) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Michigan defeated Purdue. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

POSITIVES

—Thick-bodied and can defend the inside run with ease.

—Not a player who linemen will want to meet in the hole consistently, as he comes with nasty power downhill.

—Heavyweight boxer who punches with force and muscular upper body.

—He'll drop all of his weight into his hips for tackles and doesn't miss much.

        

NEGATIVES

—ACL tear in 2015 and limited playing time in 2016.

—Underwhelming athlete who will be exposed as a coverage player in both man and zone.

—Speed is a real concern; he's almost unplayable against zone schemes that work him laterally.

—Will struggle to reach backside runs and is almost entirely a Mike at the next level.

—Needs to work flexibility into his training to gain the necessary mobility.

        

OVERALL

Ja'Waughn Bentley looks like a linebacker from the early 90's with a thick frame and ability to handle power inside better than most. The NFL is transitioning away from that need, however, and Bentley's skill set is becoming irrelevant. He'll struggle to compete against NFL-caliber athletes in space, limiting what a team can ask him to do.

     

GRADE: 5.30 (Priority Free Agent)

PRO PLAYER COMPARISON:
Hardy Nickerson Jr., Cincinnati Bengals

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