NFL Draft Profile: Illinois DE Michael Buchanan

USA TODAY Sports

A look at Illinois defensive end Michael Buchanan who is projected to go in the middle rounds of this week's NFL Draft.

Basics

Position: Defensive End
Height: 6'5
Weight: 255 pounds
40 time: 4.78
Combine bench press: 22 reps

Stats

2009: 1 pass defended, 1 QB hurry
2010: 40 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 QB hurries
2011: 64 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 4 QB hurries, 1 fumble forced
2012: 57 tackles, 7 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 6 passes defended, 5 QB hurries, 1 fumble forced, 1 interception

Strengths

Has great size and length for the position, and shows all the skills to be a valuable pass-rusher on the next level. Is agile enough that he can drop back into coverage as well, and could possible fit in as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Has good hands to ward off offensive tackles and an effective spin move. Good technique on his bullrush, though needs to add strength to be more effective at NFL level.

Weaknesses

While he has the body for the NFL, does not have ideal strength. Needs to add upper-body strength and show better form getting off the ball. While he has a quick first step he stands up too much and gives up leverage against stronger lineman. Also needs work on tackling technique, tries to tackle with arms too much.

Anything Else?

Coming off huge junior season there were high expectations that Buchanan did not live up to in 2012. A lot of this was because he suffered a broken jaw in an "altercation" during the summer before the season and lost 20 pounds after having it wired shut. The goal for the offseason had been to get stronger not lose weight. It showed in his performance in 2012. He also seemed to become less interested as the season wore on and the losses mounted.

Summary

Some thought Buchanan would be another first rounder for the Illini before the 2012 season and that potential scouts saw in 2011 is still there. He needs to get stronger, but he has the build to do so and has an explosive quick step. Put him in a weight program and give him some solid coaching on his technique and Buchanan could turn out to be a mid-to-late round steal.

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