Scouting the 2013 NFL Draft: Illinois vs Northwestern (2011)

Michael Buchanan Patriots Draft

Will Michael Buchanan be the next Illini prospect to rise up draft boards? (Photo: US Presswire)


NEPD Editor: James Christensen

I took in this game in the press box in Champaign, Illinois last year, not knowing that I would be watching two future Patriots – Tavon Wilson and Jeremy Ebert.

Although both made their impacts on the game – especially Ebert with three touchdowns – one Illini defender stole the show: Michael Buchanan.

Our 2013 NFL Draft Scouting Database has more game breakdowns for you to check out.


#99 DE Michael Buchanan
-Lined up at DE, standing up.
-Playing on kick block units as well.
-Switches to LDE, bulls over RT and flushes QB into sack. Powerful.
-Tries speed rush, can’t quite turn the corner.
-Active hands, keeping himself clean.
-Sets a hard edge, flashes outside, sheds block to make the play.
-Bends around edge and catches RB from behind – impressive athleticism.
-Nice jerk move, can’t get there in time.
-Exhibits plus change of direction skills, mirroring shifty QB – then delivers hit.
-Very active motor, never content to be blocked – using a wide array of counters.
-Keeps outside shoulder clean, strings out play and lays a hit for the TFL.
-Bends around edge, wraps up for another tackle for loss.
-Loses balance on club move, falls to the ground.
-Very strong tackler, wrapping up and delivering the hit each time.
-Shows good speed working down the line against option, makes another good hit.
-Club move sets up the rip, gets pressure on the quarterback.
-Sets edge, sheds block and lays out the RB for another TFL.
-Incredibly impressive quarter, can’t be blocked.
-Steps with OT on down block, finds ball quickly and shows off great COD skills again sacking Persa.
-Another big hit on QB, an absolute menace.
-Disciplined, locates ball and works down the line to make tackle.
-RT stays with him on spin move, keeps working and trips up QB later in the play.

Overview: One of the most impressive games that I’ve seen in a while from a college defensive end. Looked very balanced and versatile and was utterly unblockable for long stretches in the game. Look for Buchanan to be a riser in 2012.

#45 LB Jonathan Brown
-Lined up at ILB, OLB and some DE with hand up.
-Also seeing time on special teams – coverage and return.
-Comes on contain blitz, keeps QB Persa inside.
-Tracks ball well from the ILB position, can’t wrap up for the tackle.
-Completely fooled, runs out of the hole following a ghost.
-Tracks the ball much better, closes quickly and lays a big hit on the RB.
-Having trouble fighting through garbage.
-Takes on block, anchors, sheds and makes tackle for short gain.
-Huge hit on Persa, called for roughing.
-Shows power bull-rushing OT, but chip from OG stops him.
-Delayed blitz, runs through RB and able to make the sack.
-Loses contain, can’t shed block from RT.
-Called for unsportsmanlike conduct, ridiculous cheap shot after the play.
-Good push on bull rush against RT, can’t finish sack, QB gets away.
-Sheds block from LG, wraps up on RB.
-Drops into coverage from DE/OLB position, comes up to make open field tackle on QB.
-Great timing, shoots the gap and wraps up for TFL.

Overview: A bit undisciplined at times, but Brown showed that he is a dynamic talent that can be used all over the field. Showed some coverage skills as well as rushing the passer. Brown also showed off some good instincts against the run game.

#94 DT Akeem Spence
-Lined up at defensive tackle (3-tech) and nose tackle.
-Part of kick block units as well.
-Double team pushes him two yards off ball.
-Locates ball, fights off double team to tackle scrambling QB.
-On skates against double teams.
-Taken out by a cut block.
-Shows some power on a bull rush, flushes QB out of pocket.
-Again blown back by combo block, finished by LG.
-Losing some steam as Northwestern ups tempo.
-Can’t wrap up QB in the pocket, tried to grab him too high.
-Strong initial punch, knocks down RB via arm tackle.
-Slices through double team, can’t make the tackle.
-Being subbed out at times, looks a bit winded.

Overview: Showed some strength and quickness, but wasn’t effective at all against double teams. Rarely gave ground to a single blocker but didn’t make a ton of impact plays, despite assisting on seven tackles.

#76 OC Graham Pocic
-Strong shotgun snapper.
-Gets to the second level, perfect position to wall of linebacker.
-Slow coming off combo block to help.
-Down blocks on DT, takes him to the ground.
-Good hit on LB, takes perfect angle at 2nd level.
-Showing some great skills getting to the 2nd level and taking LB’s out of the play.
-Comes off double team to cut down blitzer, good awareness.
-Tough time sticking with blitzing LB trying to turn corner.
-Slightly low snap bobbled, should have been caught.
-Beat by jerk move, gives up sack – left flailing against air.

Overview: Pocic rarely made a mistake, but didn’t show anything too special. He certainly didn’t over-power anyone and was content to just get in the way or catch defenders.

#72 OG Hugh Thornton
-Lined up as weak-side guard majority of the day, playing both LG and RG.
-Has a violent initial punch, really stunned the DL.
-Chips DL and then bulldozes LB ten yards down the field.
-Turns DL at the line, very physical.
-Locks out in pass protection, no chance for DL.
-Mirrors DL easily, not affected by spin move and other counters.
-Pulls outside, takes LB out of the play.
-Used in motion in the backfield.

Overview: Physical lineman that looks like he enjoys hitting people. Moved well and showed versatility playing both sides of the line and moving in the backfield and on pulls. Certainly a draftable prospect.

The Northwestern 2013 NFL Draft prospects are broken down on page two.

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One Response to “Scouting the 2013 NFL Draft: Illinois vs Northwestern (2011)”

  1. Stephen S says:

    M. Buchanan doesnt seem like an elite player but a very good solid player(selected All Big-Ten Second Team 2011) that gets some production(6.5 sacks, 12.5 TFLs and 60 tackles) wondering how he will do now that Mercilius is gone. Was reading J. Brown came on late in the year which made me wonder did the light go off and he started putting it all together I guess time will tell.

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