Auburn's Owen Pappoe (6'1/209), who calls himself 'the Freak' is a five-star talent who has been compared to Alabama LB Dylan Moses. ESPN's Tom Luginbill said the two have "physical traits you can't coach" and that was on display at a recruiting event in 2018 when Pappoe put up a 40-inch vertical and ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash he is reportedly even quicker now. Pappoe may not be the biggest or strongest linebacker prospect in the SEC, but he does flash the kind of elite playmaking ability and range that NFL teams love. He had a team-high four sacks last season and ranked second in tackles with 93 (six for loss). If he continues on his current course, Pappoe should emerge as a solid first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Closes quickly on relatively immobile quarterbacks. A consistently heavy hitter who flashes explosiveness and the ability to separate the ball.
- Keeps feet moving after initial contact. Jumps inside as a counter to typical rush, but needs to show a larger variety of moves.
- Pappoe reads the offensive line well and attacks blocking schemes - has a natural feel for the game.
- Twitchy athlete who translates the testing explosion onto the field. Uses his outstanding closing speed to disrupt opposing offenses both as a blitzer and striker in space.
- Shows toughness to get under the pads of tackles to bull them, club them upfield to get the inside lane, or fight through blocks for the secondary rush when the passer steps up.
- Shows a burst to close. Flashes explosive hitting ability and good lateral and downfield pursuit.
- Can attack the edge with speed and has the flexibility to dip low and under the tackle's reach.
- Quick hands prevent blockers from getting their hands into his frame.
- Greet feel in coverage. Often arrives at the receiver at the same time as the ball, giving up few yards after the catch. Possesses straight-line speed to stay with or chase down receivers in man.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Lacks the strength to blow up fullbacks and bulk/length to prevent getting engulfed by better linemen at the second level.
- Lacks pop and strength to anchor, though. Most effective when uncovered inside and chasing stretch plays to the sideline.
- Pappoe can struggle to get off blocks, and he doesn’t have the raw strength to move bigger tackles.
- Often bites on play-action fakes. Must improve this area of the game in the NFL
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