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Isaiah Buggs Proves Athletic Tests Don’t Always Matter; Could Redskins Add More Alabama Talent?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Buggs, DL
School: Alabama | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age:
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 306 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd or 4th Round
NFL Comparison: Willie Henry

College Statistics

Player Overview

Isaiah Buggs started his college football career in JUCO. He attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for the the first two years of his college career. His coaches there referred to him as a “special” player and he had no problem dominating competition there. He could have left after his freshman season there. Arkansas, Florida, and LSU were just a few of the power 5 teams showing interest in him as a transfer. Buggs returned for his sophomore season and continued his recruitment. He said it was a goal of his to stay in the SEC and play at the top level of competition. Buggs was ranked the #4 JUCO prospect in the nation and finally caught the eye of the Alabama staff as a 4-star recruit. He committed to the Crimson Tide at the end of 2016. Buggs got starting experience right away and played next to Daron Payne on the Bama defensive line. This year playing next to Raekwon Davis and Quinnen Williams, Buggs had a breakout year as both a pass rusher and a run stopper. Buggs may be one of those rare exceptions to the rule when predicting NFL success based on athletic traits. He tested HORRIBLY at the combine yet when he is on the field he is often praised for what he is able to do against his opposition and he has been effective at the highest level just as he set out to do. If he can translate his success to the NFL he should be one of the better borderline day 2/day 3 draft picks in this class.

Strengths

  • Good size, power, strength, and technique.
  • Buggs may have tested horribly but when you watch him its evident he knows how to use his leverage, power, and strength to his advantage. He attacks wit heavy hands and is particularly effective and working the inside shoulder of offensive linemen to get of blocks and cause disruption. Knows how to work underneath blocks and swat linemen’s hands off him to create separation as well. Shows good closing burst in the backfield and finishes well.
  • Shows good leverage and power as a edge setter and as a interior player while defending the run. He is not easily moved from him position on the line. Also shows good instincts when picking his gaps to rush as well as good awareness.
  • In the QB is in or around the pocket he keeps working to the whistle and has made a fair amount plays based on pure effort.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of overall athleticism obvious particularly when he is working the outside shoulder of linemen. His get off quickness is not consistent enough for him to win with initial quickness and he can get stalled and caught up fighting when he takes choppy steps working outside. Also don’t expect him to make his way 20 yards down field if the QB breaks contain and works upfield you won’t see Buggs chase him down.
  • Needs to develop more counters and attacking moves. You seem him win using great technique with his hands in general now its time to add a few more tricks under his belt.
  • At times is too hesitant to start his attack is preoccupied by starting into the backfield to locate the ball. Should learn to work his opposition while still keeping track of things in the backfield more consistently.
  • With only one year of outstanding production he may face the “Alabama” question about talent surrounding him and how it affected his success and if it can translate to the NFL.

Let’s see his work:

More Isaiah Buggs videos

To highlight the player's measurements, use:

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

One thing is clear. Nick Saban and the coaches at Alabama know how to teach technique to their defensive line players. It is insane that a player who tested as poorly as Buggs did is so effective at being disruptive on defense. What’s the reason? Technique. Buggs was simply more proficient in this area than a lot of the competition he faced and it showed. He was savvy in how he took on offensive lineman and used what athletic tools he had to make plays and it’s worked well for him up to his point. I think his test numbers have a few false positives particularly the bench press as Buggs looks plenty strong and powerful to me on tape. He would make another valuable addition to the Alabama defensive line errr I mean the Redskins defensive line and he should be in a position to get some playing time as a rookie due to his proficiency with his technique and strength. I think Buggs is a DE in the Redskins base scheme who moves inside to rush the passer on passing downs. The Redskins would be spoiled for choice for the two interior lineman they put in these sub packages between Allen, Payne, Ioannidis, and Buggs. Buggs could be good insurance in the event the Redskins find themselves in a position where they would be unable to sign Ioannidis to a contract extension. The big question for Buggs is how will his skills translate to the NFL against more experienced and talented offensive lineman who may be able to match his technique? I think he has some drop off (I doubt he’ll be an 8-9 sack guy in the NFL) but I think what he’s shown on the field carries over well. He may not be able to improve his athletic limitations but if he continues to improve his strength and technique he has the potential to start on the defensive line.