The big questionmark Part 3: Scouting Carlos Dunlap DE; Florida
By Zoltan Paksa
[Editor Note: Zoltan continues his analysis of Defensive Ends available in the coming draft. To date we have ruled out Jason Pierre-Paul and Derrick Morgan. Today he looks at Carlos Dunlap. Maybe Carlos is the answer the Jaguars seek? Let’s find out]
Junior defensive end coming out from Florida. Sounds familiar? No; I’m not talking about Derrick Harvey, I’m talking about another pass rusher with huge question marks. In fact Carlos Dunlap is the ultimate enigma here. He can be the best pass rusher of this draft class, or he can be the next Jarvis Moss/Vernon Gholtson not to mention our own Derrick Harvey. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
He is 6ft 6 and 240lbs. As a junior he has a bit more growing to do. Carlos is a defensive end with size. He had a very good high school resume: He was ranked 15th in ESPN’s prospect list; and was 2ndamong defensive ends. In high school in his junior year recorded 103 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and scored four defensive touchdowns. In his senior year he made an outstanding 105 tackles, 35 tackles for loss and 24 sacks. Not bad start…When he played for the Gators as a freshman he saw action in all the 13 games, mostly as a pass rusher but also on special teams (in high school he returned kicks). He had 7 tackles; 2 TFLs; 1 sack; forced a fumble and block a kick! Dunlap delivered his most memorable play of the season when he blocked a punt against Troy that led to a Florida touchdown. Not a bad start at such an elite team like Florida! In his sophomore year he was even better (of course). He played all 14 games and recorded 39 tackles, including 21 solo and 18 assisted, while racking up a team-leading 13.5 tackles for a loss and 9.5 quarterback sacks. Also he had 3 blocked punts in one season. Not bad at all! He played extremely well on the BCS national title game against Oklahoma: blocked an Oklahoma field goal in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game was named the Defensive MVP of the National Championship Game. He recorded four tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss of four yards and half a sack to compliment his blocked field goal. He was ranked first in the SEC in sacks and fifth in tackles for loss; and received AP second-team All-SEC selection.
And in his junior year he got even better! He started 12 of the 13 games; and played in all Florida games. He had 38 tackles; 10.5 TFLs; 9 sacks. He was the best Gator at getting to the quarterback and 2ndin TFLs. A 2009 first-team All-SEC selection by the AP, Sporting News and league’s head coaches and he was semifinalist for the Lombardi Award and on the Watch Lists for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Award in 2009. Overall he played 40 games; with 14 starts; recorded 84 tackles; 26 TFLs; and 19.5 sacks. He deflected eight passes, forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles and blocked four kicks during his career at UF. Impressive statistics at one of the best college team and in the toughest college division of the US in the last years!
We saw the stats and the numbers; let see his strengths and weaknesses. He can get to the quarterback from every angle, best used as an interior rusher on passing downs. Uses a nice spin move to the inside gap while maintaining balance and power. When his leverage is right, Dunlap can use a variety of moves to get past a blocker and in to the passer’s face very quickly. He is strong in bull rush; and he can collapse the pocket. He has good agility and solid closing speed. He makes a lot of tackles and sacks from the behind. He can be very good against the run his 26 tackles for loss speaks for itself. Well his size of body is almost prototypical for a left defensive end: Has a strong 290 pound frame with minimal loose weight. He has very long arms that create a lot of separation between him and the blocker when his technique is on point. He can play everywhere in the D-line: Dunlap saw plenty of time inside and outside, left and right. Was moved all over the place at Florida, creates mismatches and absorbed double teams across the line. His best performances have come from the inside as a pass rushing defensive tackle.
Now what flags to we see about him? He is slow and usually has a late reaction. He is often the last defensive lineman to move post-snap. Does not shoot out of a cannon, instead gets out of his stance too high which slows him down even more at the point of attack. He is extremely inconsistent (perfect match for the Jaguars…) sometimes shows flashes that suggest he is an elite pass rusher; but often he is just the guy. There are motivational issues with him as his level of effort given on each play is up and down. Often you get the feeling when you watch him during games; that he doesn’t love football so much; and has a terrible body language(serious red flag; and also it reminds me a bit of ex-Jaguars player –M. Jones-. Maybe a current as well) He struggles to get off a block when rushing the edge. If he doesn’t get the initial position advantage against a blocker, he takes way too long to get off a block.
And he had a recent legal trouble as well: On December 1, 2009, Dunlap was arrested on drunken driving charges. On January 29, 2010 he pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to one year probation and fines of about $1,000, along with community service. Of course that is not a big thing. But under current Jaguars GM Gene Smith; there are new standards: Be a role model in and OUT of the field! Of course everyone deserves a second chance (we saw last year the huge red flags on Percy Harvin- another ex-Gator; who became “Offensive rookie of the year” in 2009; so not so fast with the judging. But I think that is another flag in Gene Smith’s eyes!
Again another player who cause me head scratching. He can push the passer. He can perform at the high level. But the consistency issues; legal troubles; and lack of other things (starting speed; countermoves; body language etc.) are all warning flags in my opinion. To be honest; he reminds me of Derrick Harvey. Maybe with 2 “Derrick Harvey’s” the Jaguars might rush the passer better; but maybe the Jaguars could get another dose of the same again. I think he is the best NFL ready pass rusher of the Morgan; Pierre-Paul, Dunlap trio but I am not sold on him either…We need a combine on him. I think with trading back a few spots he has more chance to be selected; but I think he is still a risky pick at this time!
Terry’s take: We may regret passing on any of the three defensive ends in this draft or we may end up being glad we did. All of them are juniors. All of them are questionable top ten picks. All of them may take the money and run. Of the three, I trust Carlos Dunlap is the most ready having played the position successfully the longest and at the highest level. Derrick Morgan got buried in the ACC, Jason Pierre-Paul showed up in South Florida one year, but Carlos has been on the big stage for three years. I would love to recommend him, but as Zoltan said, the combine is critical and the motivational aspect must be assessed. He is right on target once again.