Pass rushers are in high demand as the NFL has shifted to a pass-happy league. With illegal contact and pass interference rules heavily favoring the offense, having a strong pass rush capable of causing disruption at the line of scrimmage is crucial for sustained success.
Vic Beasley is the best pass rusher in the 2015 draft class. He has a keen ability to set up offensive tackles and executes rush moves with ruthless efficiency. Beasley and other top-tier edge rushers understand that pass rushing is more than just a skill.
It’s an art.
The best pass rushers in the NFL rush the edge with a plan. Before the ball is snapped, they know what move they’re going to try and perform and a countermove in mind, just in case the original move doesn’t work out.
Beasley is the “planned pass rusher” in this class and I’m going to take you through a few plays that demonstrate the platoon of pass rushing moves that Beasley will bring into the NFL.
1. Speed Rush to Rip
Beasley has a lightning quick first step that allows him to get past Florida State offensive tackle Cameron Erving — who’s no slouch, Erving is a projected top 50 selection. To me, the most impressive part of this play isn’t the initial jump off the snap. Beasley’s ability to “run the hoop” once he reaches quarterback level is astounding.
He uses the rip move to keep Erving’s hands off of him, keeps his feet moving around the imaginary hoop, and attempts a strip sack as he reaches the quarterback. That’s textbook technique.
2. Spin Move
The spin was made famous by Dwight Freeney, but Beasley has a pretty devastating spin move of his own. A lot of times you’ll see pass rushers rush their way to the same depth the quarterback is before hitting the spin.
On this play, the offensive tackle was anticipating a speed rush. You can tell by how hard he commits to his kickslide to the outside trying to cut Beasley off before he can get upfield. Beasley immediately notices the inside rush lane and uses the spin move to leave the offensive lineman in the dusts.
It’s impressive to watch offensive linemen respect Beasley’s speed off the edge. His speed rush is so lethal that it sets up his entire pass rushing repertoire.
3. Speed to Inside Move
This is another great example of Beasley’s speed rush setting up his stable of rush moves. The offensive tackle sells out so hard to stop the speed rush that it sets up a massive lane for Beasley to hit the inside move.
This play is also a great example of Beasley’s elite athleticism. He’s rushing upfield at full speed, but is able to stop on a dime and cut inside to make the sack. The change of direction ability that Beasley possesses is so rare, and part of what makes him such a dynamic pass rusher.
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One more skill that Beasley shows on tape is his awareness to rush the “half man”. With his limited size, power rushing is never going to be his bread and butter. Instead of rushing straight down the middle, he works angles to make sure he doesn’t take a full blow from the offensive tackle. He takes the outside edge and takes on half the offensive lineman. Not only does this protect Beasley from taking devastating punches, but it keeps the offensive lineman off balance as he works his way around the edge.
Beasley is extremely developed in both the mental and physical aspects in the art of rushing the passer, and it should lead him to becoming a top-10 pick in April’s draft.