2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Clemson DL Bryan Bresee

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling Clemson DL Bryan Bresee

#11 Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson (R-Sophomore) – 6050, 305lb

Measurements

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Bryan Bresee 6’5, 305lb N/A N/A N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttles 3-Cone
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
N/A N/A

The Good

— Freak athlete in terms of size, speed, and explosiveness for the position
— Has played up-and-down the LOS, lining up from the NT to an outside edge rusher
— Impressive play strength to chuck blockers off his frame and shed blocks
— Aggressive tackler that looks to punish the ball carrier
— Shows good pursuit of the football both as a run defender as well as a pass rusher
— Effective on stunts/twists upfront, working laterally to get into gaps and make plays in the backfield
— Disruptive penetrator that can shoot gaps and work across face of blockers upfront
— Explosive defender that covers a lot of ground quickly
— Can convert speed to power as a rusher
— Young player that still has plenty of room to grow

The Bad

— Athletic specimen, yet is extremely raw when it comes to technique
— Needs to be more consistent with hand usage to stack and shed blocks
— Tends to panic as a pass rusher when first initial move fails
— Can be disruptive as a pass rusher, but needs to be more productive in terms of finishing the play and getting home to the QB
— Needs to work on taking better angles as a rusher and setting up blockers with moves rather than a straight bull rush
— Pad level gets too high often after the ball is snapped
— Will cede ground versus the run when he pops up, leading to getting washed
— Can stand to improve his balance on the move and engaged
— Has an extensive injury history after dealing with a kidney infection this season, a torn ACL in 2021 and a shoulder injury in 2021
— Appears to get winded quickly, playing 2-3 snaps before coming off the field for large chucks of time

Bio

— Redshirt Sophomore prospect from Damascus, MD
— Born Oct. 6, 2001 (age 21)
—Sociology Major
— Listed as the No. 1 overall player in the nation by 247Sports and Rivals in 2020 class
— Concluded HS career with 134 career tackles, including 80.5 for loss, with 35 sacks
— Played basketball as a junior and averaged 13.7 points and 11.9 rebounds
— Selected to US Army All-American Bowl
— Played in 12 games (ten starts) as a true freshman and was credited with 33 tackles (6.5 for loss), 4.0 sacks, two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a safety in 432 snaps
— Started only four games as a sophomore in 2021 due to a torn ACL/shoulder injury and posted with 15 tackles (3.0 for loss), 1.5 sacks and an interception over 154 snaps
— Played in ten games as a redshirt sophomore in 2022, missing time due to a kidney infection, strep throat, and losing his younger sister to brain cancer
— Recorded 15 total tackles (nine solo), 5.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, and two PBUs on the season
—Second-team All-ACC (2022), Third-team All-ACC (2021), Freshman All-American (2020), ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year (2020), first-team All-ACC (2020)

Tape Breakdown

Bryan Bresee has been heavily touted since his high school days, being considered the top prospect of his recruiting class by several recruiting services. He ended up taking his talents to Clemson to follow a long line of recent defensive linemen who starred in college and move onto the pros, hoping to be the next in-line to make such a transition. In just 2.5 seasons, it looks like Bresee is well on his way to accomplishing that goal, flashing that talent that made him such a coveted recruit.

When you pop in the tape on Bresee, you see a big, long, fast, and explosive defender that backs up the pedigree. He has the strength at the point of attack to throw defenders off his frame and make plays at the LOS. On this play against the Tar Heels, we see Bresee line up on the edge and rip through the RT’s outside shoulder, finishing at the QB where he can impact the pass as it is thrown downfield, allowing his teammate to almost come away with the pick .

Bresee is a good athlete for his size, having movement skills and explosiveness of a defender in a smaller man’s body. We see that athleticism flash at times throughout his tape like on this rep where Bresee whips the RT with an inside spin move from the edge, quickly getting into the backfield and forcing QB Drake Maye to throw the pass away.

Here is another example from the same game where Bresee wins on the LT with an inside swim move, forcing the ball out of Maye’s hands early, but the pass still manages to be completed to his intended target.

When he’s blocked, Bresee has the strength and effort in pursuit to fight through the block and make plays on the football. Here is an example of Bresee working across the face of the RG of the Tar Heels who shoots his hands, drops his head, and stops his feet and he attempts to make the block. Bresee quickly clears the block and gets into Maye’s face pressing him to throw hot, resulting in a low pass to his intended target.

Still, plenty of Bresee’s “highlight” plays come on plays where he wins with pure effort and pursuit rather than execution. His size, strength, and athleticism relative to his position lead to him making plays in the backfield or cleaning up a sack on a broken pocket rather than cleanly winning a one-on-one rep. Here are two examples where Bresee gets in on the sack against Syracuse as the pocket collapses in-front of him with the QB stepping up right into his grasp. The following play shows Bresee coming off the LOS completely unblocked, engulfing the QB who is faking the give to the running back, thus getting the sack on the blown protection.

When it comes to negatives on Bresee, he needs to improve greatly as a technician to truly excel on a down-to-down basis. He needs to improve his hand usage as a pass rusher as well as to shed blocks against the run as Bresee will go large portions of games relatively quiet due to his inability to consistently get off blocks. Watch this play Bresee attempts to rip inside with his rush on a club to the blocker’s midsection. The move fails and Bresee gets neutralized by the RG as the blocker gets hands-on Bresee’s chest, mirroring him laterally as he tries to get off the block. The QB connects with his receiver downfield for an explosive play of nearly 20 yards.

Here is another example of Bresee struggling to get off the block as a run defender against Florida State as the OL makes first contact with his chest. Bresee is unable to fight off the block attempt, stopping his feet as he attempts to reach out and grab the runner who explodes up the middle for the first down.

Bresee is inconsistent in terms of his get off on the snap as well as playing with good pad level. He often pops straight up, limiting his ability to anchor in against the run. This, along with inconsistent hand usage, leads to plenty of missed opportunities as a pass rusher as well as ceding ground as a run defender. On this play, we watch Bresee miss with his punch at the snap, dropping his head prior to contact with the RG as the lineman climbs to the linebacker. Bresee ends up getting picked up by the RT as the runner gets five yards on the first down carry.

As mentioned just above, Bryan Bresee is often plays way too high regarding his pad level, standing straight up, thus loosening leverage. That is exactly what happens on this rep where Bresee tries to sneak through the right-side B gap but stands up upon contact from the guard. He gets redirected and is slow to round back to the ball in upright pursuit, failing to break down as he loses his balance amongst the fray of bodies and falls to the ground.

Conclusions

Overall, Bryan Bresee is still a young, raw defensive lineman that needs refinement in his technical development of the game as well as improve hand usage as a pass rusher but has a high ceiling. His athletic ability of him at his size of him is impressive, having the mindset to play pursuit of the football as well as the QB. He can move all over the defensive front, having the strength to play inside as well as the athleticism to rush over the tackle. Still, Bresee’s poor pad level, lack of hand usage, and fast depleting motor result in plenty of frustration when watching his tape di lui as a player that is a projected first round pick that is expected to play all three downs.

While many in the draft industry have gone as far as to compare Bresee to JJ Watt coming out of Wisconsin, I’m not willing to go that far as Watt was more technically refined and carried more bulk on his frame. Instead, a safer comparison for Bresee as this point in-time would be former Notre Dame DL and current Charger Jerry Tillery. Tillery has nearly identical size, height, and length as Bresee (6’6, 295lb) and is an athletic defensive lineman that can play multiple spots. He has flashed at times as a pass rusher and was a disruptive presence on the DL for the Irish but has struggled to be a consistent run defender due to the same issues Bresee has shown on tape.

Given the fact that Cam Heyward will be one year older come 2023 and the likes of Chris Wormley, Larry Ogunjobi, and Tyson Alualu aren’t under contract past this season, Pittsburgh could prioritize DL early in the 2023 NFL Draft depending on who they bring back and how the development of DeMarvin Leal and Isaiahh Loudermilk goes this season. Given Bresee’s pedigree, athletic ability, and prototypical measurables Pittsburgh looks for in their base 3-4 DEs, he figures to be a good fit and a likely target early in the draft should the team prioritize addressing the DL after the 2022 season.

Projection: Mid-to-Late Day One

Depot Draft Grade: 8.0 – Future Quality Starter (2nd Round)

Games Watched: vs Syracuse (2022), vs North Carolina (2022), at Florida State (2022), vs Georgia (2021), vs Virginia (2021) vs Notre Dame (2020)

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