Georgia Tech pass rusher Jeremiah Attaochu had some buzz surrounding him heading into his senior year with the Yellow Jackets after an impressive 45 tackle, 16 tackle for loss, 12.5 sack 2012 campaign. He made the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end this year and still managed to fill up the stat sheet, recording 10 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss.
When looking at sheer potential, Attaochu is definitely an attractive prospect from a physical standpoint, as he has a rocked-up 6’3” 252 pound frame, he shows great closing speed and improvement in his hand usage over the course of the past two seasons.
However, Attaochu is far from a finished product. While many draft analysts are hyping him as a top-15 pick, he’s more likely to be taken in in the mid-second to third round range.
Jeremiah Attaochu is a pure speed rusher that gets a good burst off the snap, while showing the ability to get low and bend around the edge to get into the backfield. Right now, Attaohu’s game is based on speed and he often has a tough time converting that speed to power, especially when an offensive lineman gets his hands into his pads.
Due to his lack of power, Attaochu isn’t going to offer much in terms of run support. As you can see in the following clip, he struggles to get low and once Georgia’s right tackle gets hands on him, he’s moved easily.
In addition to Attaochu’s lack of lower body strength, he needs to really work on using his hands when shedding blocks. In the following play, he’s matched up with a tight end, a player that should be an even matchup based on size, but Attaochu’s inability to work with his hands, he’s pushed out of the play and the running back goes right by him.
Early in his pro career, coaches are going to have to scheme for Attaochu’s quickness and change-of-direction ability in order for him to succeed. Georgia Tech realized his explosiveness when asking him to stunt, and most of his production came when he went inside.
In this play, Attaochu’s whole skill set is put on display in a matter of three seconds. He shows a great burst off the snap, beats the offensive tackle inside with ease, throws 230-pound running back Todd Gurley back just as easily, before driving into the quarterback for a sack.
While Attaochu’s game needs quite a bit of work at this point, his improvement in various aspects of his technique is clearly evident, and his hustle on the field will make coaches love him.
In the earlier clip, you saw how he was washed out against the run, but here, in a 2013 contest against Ole Miss, Attaochu looks like a totally different player.
Attaochu shows his consistent burst off the snap, but he gets low, bends his knees and uses his lower body to drive through the offensive lineman. While he doesn’t shed the block, the improvement in his leverage allows him to adequately set the edge and allow his teammates to make the tackle for no gain.
Overall, Jeremiah Attaochu is a work in progress. His best fit is as a weakside rush linebacker in a 3-4 defense, where he won’t have to deal with tight end chips. He’s an athletic player that moves well in space, but he just doesn’t have the power you look for in a premier pass rusher. He definitely has the frame you look for, which will surely make front office executives believe they have a nice canvas to work with. However, as of now, there just isn’t enough that he offers to warrant taking him in the first round.