Kawann Short (DT, Purdue) vs Iowa

December 6th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

In yesterday’s updated mock draft I had the Seahawks taking this guy in round two. The teams greatest need, in my opinion, is to identify a pass-rushing three-technique that can feature in the base defense. There’s a lot of defensive tackle depth among the 2013 draft class, so it’s not a position you’ll necessarily need to target in round one. It’s also worth noting the relatively unsuccessful history of the position in recent years.

In the three drafts between 2009-10, seven players were drafted within the top-40 picks that could be classified as a potential ‘three-technique’ candidates. Of the group, only Ndamukong Suh has really gone on to have much impact in the league.

Nick Fairley – 5.5 sacks in nearly two seasons
Corey Liuget – 5 sacks in two seasons
Gerald McCoy – 7 sacks in three seasons
Tyson Alualu – 8 sacks in three seasons
Brian Price – 3 sacks in three seasons
Peria Jerry – 2 sacks in four seasons

Sacks aren’t everything of course, in fact they’re one of the most overrated statistics in the sport. Pressure and splash plays are what it’s all about – and exactly what the Seahawks need on their defensive line. However, the group above has either been plagued with injury, underwhelmed or in Brian Price’s case – is out of the league altogether. Corey Liuget – despite looking like a prototype three technique – has ended up at the five-tech in a 3-4 scheme.

Overall it’s not a position where teams have found a lot of success drafting in the first round. That might change in 2013 with the likes of Sheldon Richardson, Star Lotulelei and Sylvester Williams expected to be early picks. It’s worth noting that the best pure three technique in the NFL right now is a former fourth round pick from 2010 in Geno Atkins. It’s also likely no coincidence that the Seahawks drafted Jaye Howard in a similar range last off-season, perhaps believing it to be a position with a high-bust potential in the early rounds. Howard hasn’t featured much to date and there might be several more swings at trying to find an answer to this problem without spending the high pick.

Short has some potential as a penetrative pass rusher but just like Johnathan Hankins, he blows hot and cold for effort. The Seahawks might be prepared to chance their arm on guys like this having created a dynamic dressing room with several vocal leaders. His bad level needs serious improvement. He tends to wear down quickly and is probably only a two-down player, plus conditioning has been a major issue for Short at Purdue.┬áHe does play with a nice burst and as you can see, he’ll shoot a gap and finish the play. He has the size (320lbs) to hold up well against the run but he still shows enough athletic quality to be a pass rusher. Take a look at his tape against Iowa (see video above) and let me know what you think.

22 Responses to “Kawann Short (DT, Purdue) vs Iowa”

  1. Justin M says:

    He looks like he would be a good pass rusher. I like how he uses his long hands to move the o line around, he does get himself in bad positions during run plays though. He looks like he could be a good pro and a good pick up.

  2. Phil says:

    Like you say, Short has a good, quick burst and it looks like he stuffs the run pretty impressively. Lots of tackles for losses on running plays. It also looks like he’s asked to drop into coverage once in awhile. I’m not sure how effective that is, but it’s a wrinkle you don’t see very often from a DT.

    The million $$ question is will he improve the pressure enough to justify a 2nd round pick? I’m not convinced that the answer is more pressure from the DT spot, no matter what the round we pick one in. I just think that a pass-rushing DT is a real rarity these days. I know that PC wants to continue to play Red at one of the DE positions and I think that as long as he insists on that, we are playing with one had tied behind our back as far as our pass rush goes. One of these days, I’m going back to my recording of the Green Bay game and see what we were doing in the first half that led to so many sacks. I suspect that I’ll see Rodgers holding the ball too long, making him a sitting duck. But, I think I’ll also see most of our pressure coming when we have both Clemons and Irvin on the field. Having said that, I would like to see some signs that Irvin is learning some new moves or that he can play against the run before I’d ask him to play one of the DE positions in our base D.

  3. Kenny Sloth says:

    Now, there’s seemed to have been a lot of confusion about this, but I believe Jaye Howard was brought in to back up Mebane, being mainly a 1/0 tech. Scruggs is the 3-tech. And he’s shown some ability to get after the QB, not enough to warrant complacency, but he has potential.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Scruggs was a DE in college, while Howard predominantly played the three-tech. I’m not sure they planned the way those two have been used, rather this is just how it played out. But Howard would be a pretty light one technique at a shade over 300lbs. Mebane is 10-12lbs heavier.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        But Mebane started out the same way. Howard reminds me a lot of Mebane. Has an exceptional first step. We don’t really ask much of our 1 tech and he’s already bulked up from 230. He could just eat his way up another 70 lbs. and we’ll be set.

    • Howard is one of the most extreme pass/run split DTs Seattle has had in a while. He’s similar to Craig Terrill or Howard Green in that he’s a great pass rusher but is a liability vs. the run. Based on his Florida tape and how he did in the preseason, I’d even say that Jaye Howard right now is an even worse run defender than Terrill and Green were, and that’s saying something. Against the run he is an abject liability, and he’s definitely not depth for Mebane.

      • That said, he’s just as good at rushing the QB as he is bad at getting blocked out of his gaps. Seattle should find a way to get him on the field on 3rd and long.

        • Rugby Lock says:

          Nice to see you commenting Kip. Any articles on the way?

        • Attyla the Hawk says:

          Seconded. Good to see you back.

          I know Howard was initially injured early in the season (week 3 I believe). He’s been inactive virtually every week. The fact is, we carry a lot of defensive linemen. I think the most of any position. So when it comes time to list inactives, it’s probably a given that a DT is going to be on that list amongst others.

  4. MattH says:

    The thing that seems important to me with a 3 tech is a guy who is huge, but doesn’t move like it. Think about Suh and how he practically runs like a linebacker when he’s pursuing the quarterback. This is what Scruggs does, just with less weight. That’s really what any guy needs in order to be able to chase down a guy who’s probably going to weigh in the low 200’s. Short, well, he waddles. He might have the burst, the muscle strengths to push off the line, but he looks like he’ll never have the right body proportions to run like a really big fast guy. Which in all honesty I think is what we’re looking for here in a 3 tech. That’s what all the good pass rushers can do though. They can close in the open field, not just in a dirty pocket.

  5. I was a huge fan of Brian Price, though I will say that Tampa did not use Price as I would have. Price was pretty much Mebane 2.0. Mebane was drafted as a 3-tech 1-tech hybrid, and as we’ve seen he’s much better as a 1-tech than as a pure pass rusher. From what I’ve heard Tampa used Price as a 3 tech and didn’t get great results.

    Tampa traded Price around the same time that they traded Winslow, and both trades resulted in last minute cuts from the buying teams. The trade was probably motivated by changes in a new regime. I am a little surprised that Price is still available though after being released by the Bears in September.

    It’s also weird to see that Nick Fairley hasn’t produced. We all knew he was a character risk, but his final college season was Suh-like.

    McCoy always struck me as hugely over-rated, but even still I’m kind of surprised he’s been so quiet. Liuget and Alaalu were two of the most over-rated DTs I’ve seen in recent memory and I’m not surprised they’ve failed to make an impact. Jerry was never a 1st round talent and isn’t really a surprise since he was a late 1st round reach.

    This list drives home a strong message though- pass rush DTs are one of the rarest and most difficult players to acquire. Even DTs I’ve really liked have failed in the NFL. Although I will say that I was a HUGE fan of Cameron Jordan and was PISSED when he went one pick in front of Seattle in 2011. That was the real cost of the 2011 playoff game (he was drafted by the Saints). Jordan was a fantastic pure pass rushing prospect, and he’s already got 7 sacks this season on an otherwise terrible Saints defense.

    • Phil says:

      Brian Price (UCLA) grew up in Southern California and played against PC’s USC teams, so PC must be very familiar with his game.

      Rob – are you familiar with Natone Jones, UCLA, who has played both DT and DE for the Bruins this year? 6’4″, 275#. Some folks are saying that he’s the #5 DE in this year’s draft. In the games I’ve watched, he’s made a few big plays, but then he disappears. 5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 2nd team All Pac-12. Senior. From Compton CA, so PC must be familiar with him.

    • Michael says:

      What was your opinion of Muhammad Wilkerson? I don’t remember if he was available for the hawks when they took Carp, but I remember thinking he would be a good fit going into that draft. Thoughts?

      • Rob Staton says:

        I felt he was a very solid 5-technique candidate. Prior to that 2011 draft, I wondered if Seattle would draft him to act as a more natural 5-tech… but we’ve since learnt more about this defense and about Pete’s way of doing things. They like the size at the 5-tech that Bryant provides and that is here to stay. Wilkerson was a good fit for New York and that was a situation that suited both player and team.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      McCoy had some injury issues out of the gate. As is the case with injuries, especially long ones, is that the injured player tends to fall into the ‘whatever became of ???’ zone where they become anonymous. Which to the outside observer = bust.

      Liuget I still believe is playing out of position. It’s a classic case of a guy who is a 4-3 prospect being misdrafted for a 3-4. The roles and skills at the DL really are pretty dissimilar.

      It doesn’t help that the Chargers are generally just a collection of players, and not really a team built toward specific function. Their talent level greatly exceeds their production. They just don’t know fundamentally what kinds of talents and skills they need for their defense. It’s been that way for years.

      The Brian Price story is just tragic. Like McCoy, he was injured for much of his rookie season in Tampa. He then in the span of a year lost both his brothers to gang shootings and his sister in a car accident. Subsequent to his sister’s passing, he adopted her children and has been caring for them with his wife. He was part of Greg Schiano’s purge of players to show the team who’s boss and was not in the mental or physical shape to really continue football.

      From what I’ve gathered, football isn’t the #1 thing in his life anymore. And it’s hard to build a career when a game is so far down the list in terms of priorities. I’m not sure I could find it in myself to call him a bust.

  6. As far as Kawann Short:

    He’s needs to play 1-tech in the NFL. He’s good at slipping through gaps and I really like how he finishes TFLs, but he’s not a pass rusher, and he’s not much of an athlete. Whenever you hear “he’s fast for his size,” that should worry you if you are looking for a DT pass rusher. I’d take him in the 3rd or 4th round as a backup 1-tech. I think any team drafting him early to rush the passer would be making a mistake.

    • I forgot to mention that his recognition is pretty bad- he’s easily fooled and often loses sight of the ball. If all he needs to do is win one gap and tackle the runner- that won’t matter. But in any other role, that lack of recognition skill is going to be a problem for him.

      So far the only DT I’ve seen so far that I like as a pass rusher “early” in the draft is Ezekiel Ansah. I don’t think he’s worth a 1st round pick though and most likely he won’t be much better or much worse than Jason Jones (they are very similar players).

      • Alex says:

        I’m curious what you think of Sheldon Richardson.

        When I see him, I see a high motor, high effort, DT. I think he’s OK against the run, but not ideal. He does get penetration and when he does, he pressures the QB and stuffs the run. When he does not get penetration, he’s not physically strong enough at 290-300 to bull rush into the QB. To me, he could be anywhere between an average DT to a Pro Bowl DT.

        To me, the best DT prospect I’ve seen is still Ndamkung Suh. High motor, high effort, VERY strong, and while he isn’t as quick, he has the best dis-engaging skills I’v ever seen. His game as the Texas OLs were a clinic of dis-engagement and brute force. The biggest difference between Suh and Richardson would seem to be 1. Strength and 2. Dis-engagement skills or hand use.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      I agree. I’d invite anyone to compare Kawaan with Sharrif Floyd. Both are guys rated in the same pick range. Watching some Floyd should put Short’s ‘athleticism’ into perspective.

      I’m not really a big fan of Short’s. He does make some good plays. But is inconsistent. He could be a depth player and if he magically developed consistency and a motor in the NFL, he could be a starter quality guy. But right now he isn’t that at least from what can be seen.

      I tend to think that first and second round picks should be considered day 1, or at least year 1 starter material. I don’t see that with Short.

  7. Jim Q says:

    Here is a possible mid- round draft pick from a small school that looks pretty good. Have you seen any tape or looked at him? Could be a sleeper at DT?

    Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State, rSr 6-2 328 projected round-4. (says he can play 0, 3 or 5 tech?), nice stats even for a small school.

    http://www.newerascouting.com/2012/11/28/2013-nfl-draft-missouri-southern-defensive-tackle-brandon-williams/