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PFF scouting report: Woody Baron, Edge, Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 26: Defensive tackle Woody Baron #60 of the Virginia Tech Hokies is introduced during the senior ceremony prior to the game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Lane Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech defeated Virginia 52-10. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

Name: Woody Baron

School: Virginia Tech

Position fit: 3-technique, flexible usage at VT included at 5, 0 and stand up 7 technique. Size makes his fit unclear at the next level.

Stats to know: Generated 10 sacks, two hits and 35 pressures in his final two years at Virginia Tech.

What he does best:

  • Exceptional burst off the snap, impressive timing and explosion.
  • Has both the range and change of direction skills to generate TFLs deep in the backfield.
  • Has the second gear required to close ground in the backfield.
  • Capable of bending the edge to run the arc, impressive athletic traits.
  • Lateral jump step is freaky.
  • Flashed rip/arm over/spin/bull/club and pin-pull moves, full pass-rush repertoire.
  • Quickness off the snap renders attempted reach blocks pointless.
  • Capacity to instantly penetrate makes down blocks difficult to execute.
  • Instinctive player, proceeds to read and track screens effectively.
  • Able to recognize and fallback over down blocks.
  • Tracks quarterback movement well in the pocket.
  • Shows an understanding of how to setup lineman with counter moves.
  • Versatile, “move” rusher, enjoyed success at 0 and roving 7 techniques in the nickel.

Biggest concern:

  • Size limitations show up on tape. Gets engulfed at the point of attack when he doesn’t win with initial penetration.
  • Regularly lined up at 1-technique in base, but might be lightweight for the position.
  • Turns hips vs double teams, frequently losing leverage against multiple blockers.
  • Can be widened at the point of attack by more powerful guards.
  • Somewhat overly aggressive, occasionally cedes ground attempting to shed blocks laterally.
  • Plays high at times, exposing himself to drive blocks.
  • Unsurprisingly struggled to compete on the front side against Georgia Tech’s triple option.
  • Fails to always maintain gap discipline, focuses on making flash plays.
  • Not a great finisher, missed nine of 85 attempted tackles.

Bottom line: Baron did not even receive an All-Star invitation this offseason, despite recording first-team ACC honors in 2016. Undersized defensive tackles rarely flourish in the NFL, and franchises always appear more willing to gamble on freakish size than any other trait. Baron is both short and light for a player in his position, yet possesses the athletic skills to expose some of the heavier interior offensive lineman in the pros. His pass-rushing skillset fits the requirements of the modern NFL. The reward should outweigh the risk sometime on Day 3.

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