Breaking Down Edge Rusher Jeremiah Attaochu

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

You can never have enough pass rushers, so we look at how Attaochu fits as a Charger

During his Pro Day, Edge Rusher Jeremiah Attaochu, who stands in at 6'3 and weighs 252 pounds, ran a blistering 40 yard dash, timing at 4.58, and 4.63. His explosiveness is apparent on the tape, and showed with a 37.5 vertical jump. General Manager Tom Telesco made it clear he wants to add speed to the outside linebacker position. This is something Attaochu clearly adds.

Attaochu's agility drills were below average. His 3-cone drill was timed at 7.28 seconds(average being 7.13), and his 20 yard short shuttle was alarmingly slow, running a 4.64, when the average is 4.28. To put it into perspective nose tackle Ryan Carrethers weighs 337 pounds and ran a 4.60.

These are just numbers. Let's get into what really matters. What Attaochu can bring to a team on the field.

Traits That Stand Out

  • Explosive 1st step
  • Very high motor player
  • Shows good awareness
  • Has untapped Potential. Lots of "flashes"
Attaochu features a very explosive 1st step off the line of scrimmage. When he fires off low, that's when he shows the ability to dip underneath the tackle and get home for the sack.

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His explosiveness really helped him get to the quarterback.

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One thing that Telesco really preached last year that he wanted players with high energy and great motor. By selecting DJ Fluker, Manti Te'o, and Keenan Allen, he proved that this is something he truly wants. Attaochu is another guy that would bring that to the table. He's constantly hustling, running plays down from the backside, and playing to the whistle.

One thing I was surprised was his awareness. Attaochu would stop on a screen and go after the running back, as opposed to continuing to rush the passer. So his football awareness is there, and that's something that you like to see is there and don't have to develop.

When I say he "flashes" and has untapped potential, I mean he has tools that he's not even aware that he has. For instance, this next 2 GIFs.

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Attaochu fires off low, and gets into the offensive tackles pads and embarrasses him. With his first step, he should be able to convert speed to power like this with ease. The problem is, it just doesn't happen to where you can count on it consistently.

What He Needs to Work on

  • Playing with Consistent Pad Level
  • Developing Pass Rush Moves
  • Strength at the Point of Attack
  • Not getting So Involved with the Offensive Lineman
Attaochu plays himself right out of that explosive first step by popping straight up out of his stance. When he stays low, he wins. By popping straight up, he gives the offensive lineman too much area to work with, and that's when they get his hands on him and completely take him out of the play.

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When going against 3 future NFL offensive tackles, North Carolina's James Hurst, Morgan Moses, who I really like, as well as Brandon Thomas, another guy I'm high on, Attaochu's production took a steep drop. For being Georgia Tech's career sack leader, you'd expect to see more of an arsenal of pass rush moves from Attaochu. Aside from his signature dip around the edge move, there's really not a consistent go to move. That's troubling for me. The speed & motor are great, but you have to win with your hands at some point.

The issues are at the point of attack. Once the lineman gets a hand on Attaochu, it's a wrap. I've seen him blocked down the field, down the line, or down into the ground. This is what happens when you don't use your arm length and aren't stout at the point of attack.

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Attaochu gets way too involved with the rusher. There will be multiple plays, sometimes series in a a game, where he will just put his head down and rush, right into the lineman. Rushing without a purpose, something the opposite of what Dee Ford does. The better pass rushers see through any obstacle in their way. If Attaochu doesn't dip around the edge, he's not this type of rusher.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10 8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round 8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round 7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round 7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round 7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round 6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round 6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round 5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round 5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round 4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations 4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable < 4.0

Trait Weight Grade
Vs. The Run 4 3.2
Pass Rush Ability 4 3.8
Read & React 3 2.6
First Step 2 2
Pass Rush Moves 2 1.3
Tackling 2 1.5
Coverage 2 1.6
Motor 2 2
Stack & Shed/Strength at POA 2 1.4
Feet/COD 2 1.8
Attaochu grades out to a 7.6, or a late 2nd rounder. With his upside and athletic ability, I doubt he falls to the 57th pick. If he does, he just screams Telesco with his high energy and explosiveness of the edge that Telesco wants. I do think in order to be a consistent pass rusher, Attaochu will have to develop pass rush moves as well as get stronger at the point of attack. At this point, he has no idea how to disengage or use his hands consistently, and that's worrisome.

How He Fits as a Charger

Attaochu would play the "Jack Linebacker", or rush linebacker on the weak side. He would be an ideal pass rusher, lined up in space where he could use his speed to get around the edge. For now, he's more of a sub package player, until he develops better hand usage. Attaochu would make for a nice combination with his athleticism along with Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram. This would allow defensive coordinator John Pagano to play games up front, and have Attaochu stunt and twist, where he's shown he can be effective.
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