Jeremiah Attaochu Evaluation
During the 2012 season, Georgia Tech ran a 3-4 defensive scheme which featured Jeremiah Attaochu at one of the OLB spots. Attaochu, who is listed at 6’3 and 240 pounds, recorded 69 tackles and 10 sacks in his Junior season. Attaochu’s weight leaves something to be desired, but his intensity does not. Attaochu throws his body around with reckless abandon, and is stouter at the point of attack in the run game than one would expect. While he still needs to improve in this area, when you combine his physicality with his tremendous range and closing speed, he’s a net positive in the run game. Below is a clip that adequately shows the impact Attaochu can have in the run game. While he’s not blocked by design, the failure to account for Attaochu results in him making the tackle.
Beyond the initial explosive get off, what stood out to me occurred at the :43 second mark, and is pictured below:
I’ve denoted the line of scrimmage and the distance from the ball carrier to illuminate the angle that Attaochu takes in order to make the tackle. Attaochu’s right foot is circled because this is the point in which ankle flexion comes into play. Attaochu plants on his right foot, and obtains the flexion that not only allows him to alter his path, but creates the “springboard” for him to explode from. As opposed to charging at the ball carrier, you can see the path that Attaochu takes is nearly parallel with the LOS, and forms a right angle with the line to the ball carrier. This ensures Attaochu’s integrity; the path he chose avoids him either not being able to take down the runningback from behind, or freeing up his vacated space as a cut back lane. Now that the technical aspect has been covered, let the play run through, and watch Attaochu’s closing speed and his explosion on contact.
As I move on to Attaochu’s play as a pass rusher, recall the “explosion on contact” that I just mentioned in regards to the tackle, and his physicality at the point of attack as a run defender. Initially, I was disappointed with the fact that Attaochu’s hip flexibility doesn’t match his ankle flexion. While Attaochu possesses a very strong get off, stiffness in the hips is potentially crippling for any pass rusher, especially one that is listed in the 240 pound range. However, Attaochu has shown the ability to combine his ankle flexion and his physicality to beat blockers around the edge, and the sequence pictured below is an example of this:
Here’s the clip of the play in real-time (up close replay at the :29 second mark):
While all of the above was enough to have me intrigued, the following the plays serve to further aid my thought of him as a potential first round caliber player:
Hand usage. While I’ve already mentioned Attaochu’s lack of size, he does not appear to be lacking in arm length. Attaochu is far from consistent with this aspect of the game, but as the season progressed, he began to showcase the ability to use his hands and take advantage of his length more and more.
First, in the clip against RT Menelik Watson (Oakland Raiders 2nd Round Pick in 2013), you can see Attaochu use his hands in order to keep Watson’s from ever getting a firm grasp on him. In the second clip against Clemson, Attaochu makes use out of his arm length:
Attaochu hits the LT square in the middle of his chest plate with his left arm. This does two things for him. First, it shifts the balance equilibrium. The force generated by contact will throw the tackle out of his natural kick-slide rhythm, while providing Attaochu with stability as he turns the corner. Secondly, it creates space for Attaochu. While I’ve already outlined Attaochu’s ability to explode through contact, a relatively unobstructed path is a much faster one to the quarterback.
In the upcoming season, Georgia Tech will be moving from a base 3-4 defense to a base 4-3 defense. Attaochu is slated to play DE, and I’m interested to see how this aids in his development, and whether or not he will try and add weight, which would help his game tremendously. However, there is always the risk of losing explosiveness with added weight, but I do think Attaochu has room to add weight to his frame while still maintain his speed and explosiveness. At the very least, it will give us as evaluators this ability to see his game in full spectrum, ala Damontre Moore.
All videos and images courtesy of draftbreakdown.com