Scouting report: Vic Beasley next DeMarcus Ware or one-trick pony?

FLOWERY BRANCH --   Before the draft, we talked to former Falcons great Chuck Smith, one of the NFL’s top rushers of the 1990s, about the pass rushers in the draft.

Over the past few years, he’s been hired as a personal trainer to help some of the top NFL candidates get ready for the combine and for their pre-draft workouts.

Smith trained Missouri’s Shane Ray, who went 23rd to Denver, and Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, who went undrafted on the first day of the draft, this year. Smith studied all of the prospects. Here's what "Big Chuck" had to say about Beasley.

“Vic is a really hybrid (defensive/outside linebacker),” Smith said. “His movement is more built to blitz, rush and get up field. He’s quick, but he’s still developing. He has to develop some signature pass rushing technique.”

Smith had an interesting comparison when discussing Beasley.

“I would play him like a DeMarcus Ware,” Smith said. “He’s a rusher. I don’t ever need to put him coverage. He’s like a missile when he gets going.

Just because of the kind of person that he is, I think he’s going to be a top notch guy.”

The question about Beasley is how strong can he play against the run.

“Everything was about size this year, when last year, some of the guys that were hybrids like (Khalil) Mack and (Anthony) Barr, there were so many of them in there, they didn’t have that issue,” Smith said. “You really just play Vic Beasley like the Raiders are going to play Khalil Mack. You put him on that line and he’s coming. He’s your primary rusher.”

Some view Beasley as soley a pass-rusher.

One NFL Scout had this to say about Beasley in Nolan Nawrocki’s NFL Draft Preview: “I think he is a one trick pony who played better as a junior than he did as a senior. He’s going to be drafted more highly than where I would take him. I think he’s so one-dimensional and that one dimension is not as elite as I thought it was. . . .He is not as strong or physical as (Seattle 2012 15th overall pick) Bruce Irvin, who I thought was a reach.”

Bob McGinn of The Milwaukee Journal-Journal Sentinel polled 21 personnel people around the league and Beasley was considered the second-best pass rusher in the draft behind Gregory, who failed a drug test at the scouting combine.

This month, the Journal Sentinel asked 21 personnel people for their choice as the best pass rusher in the draft regardless of position.

Gregory, who had 17½ sacks in two seasons for the Cornhuskers, easily finished first with 10 votes compared to five for Vic Beasley, 2½ for Dante Fowler, two for Leonard Williams and 1½ for Shane Ray.

At the same time, 20 of the scouts (one declined the request) were asked to identify which player among the top defensive linemen and rush linebackers would have the best chance to bust.

Gregory was the runaway choice, drawing 11½ votes to 2½ for Ray, two for Beasley and one each for Arik Armstead, Carl Davis, Mario Edwards and Jordan Phillips.

Some don’t see Beasley as a scheme-fit for the Falcons 4-3 under defense.

"He's pretty much what you are looking for if you are a 3-4 team. I think he can play inside or outside because he moves so well. Out of the top-rated outside 'backers, he's the best, in my opinion." -- AFC defensive coordinator told


First round: 8th overall selection -- Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson

Second round: 42nd overall selection

Third round: 73rd overall selection

Fourth round: 107th overall selection

Fifth round: 146th overall selection

Sixth round: 185th overall selection

Seventh round: 225th overall selection

Seventh round: 249th overall selection*

*Pick is from New England through St. Louis


Wednesday: Top 5 Inside Linebackers

Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman ,

Thursday: Top 5 defensive tackles

(Leonard Williams' Rugby skill will become handy in the NFL)

Friday: Top 5 defensive backs

Alabama's Landon Collins is the top safety prospect

Saturday: Top 5 special teamers

Dorsett, Alford could be top returners

Sunday: Top 5 edge rushers (defensive ends/outside linebackers).

Big Chuck Smith breaks down the top pass-rush prospects

Monday: Top 5 Offensive line

Georgia Tech's Shaquille Mason trying to convert to center for NFL 

Tuesday: Top 5 Wide receivers

Georgia's Chris Conley now projects as a fourth-rounder

Wednesday, April 22: Top 5 Running backs

With clean bill of health, Gurley top running back in the draft

Thursday, April 23: Top 5 Quarterbacks

NFL must handle Winston, Mariota with care. Both need seasoning

Friday, April 24: Top 5 Tight ends

South Carolina's Rory "Buster" Anderson hopes to get his NFL shot

ICYMI: Here's a link to last year's Position-by-Position series.

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.