For those who were sad to hear that Shawn Oakman has decided to go back to school for another year, all hope is not lost. Small school standout Lyden Trail is very similar to Oakman in physical stature, but how does his game translate to the NFL? Let’s take a look.
Name: Lyden Trail
School: Norfolk State (Sr.)
Weight: 266 Lbs.
At 6’7″ Trail possesses the tall frame and long arms that the NFL covets. He is a fluid athlete who shows good flexibility and bend when running the arc. He uses his long arms and strong hands to his advantage to separate from the offensive lineman and has decent strength, which allows him to set the edge in the running game. Trail has a good first step and quickness, allowing him to get after the QB. He is athletically gifted as evidenced by his ability to play DT and DE with his hand in the ground as well as OLB and some CB. He was also the gunner on punt coverage. On the first play below, Trail does a nice job setting the edge, then shedding the block to make the tackle in the backfield. On the second play, Trail shows his quickness from the DT position to get around the interior lineman and again make the tackle in the backfield.
Coming from Norfolk State, the big question is whether Trail can handle the jump in competition. He has a long, lanky frame and will need to get stronger to hold up in the NFL. Technique wise he is inconsistent and leans on his athleticism rather than technique and pass rush moves to get to the QB. He also plays high, allowing less talented offensive linemen to move him out of plays, as highlighted in the video below.
Trail is a raw athlete with unique physical abilities that can’t be taught. He will need time in an NFL camp to develop both his strength and technique so he will not be a significant contributor in year one. Although he played quite a bit as a 3-4 OLB, I think his best position will be to bulk up and play a 4-3 edge rusher. Even though he plays at a small school, he was heavily recruited and played at Florida before transferring after Coach Meyer left. He has great potential and will probably get drafted higher than expected as a result. I give Trail a mid day 3 pick.