Kevin Givens A Potential Late-Round Pick In NFL Draft
Kevin Givens plays on the defensive line the same way he played he as a fullback in high school.
His lower body strength, agility, and ability to keep a low center of gravity made him a mainstay on Penn State’s defensive line for three years. Although he was an unsung hero of sorts on defense, Givens was a reliable presence racking up 82 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks in 23 starts.
Those same qualities could be what helps him hear his name called at this year’s NFL Draft.
By consistently playing with good knee bend, Givens excelled when he was able to gain leverage on offensive linemen and fight through blocks. That can translate well to the NFL, where form is especially important in the trenches.
That said, Givens’ biggest drawback will be his lack of size. Givens weighed in at 285 pounds at the Combine back in February. With most NFL defensive tackles weighing 300 pounds or more, Givens is considerably undersized for his position.
In order to make it at the next level, Givens will need to add on some weight without sacrificing his agility or speed, which allowed him to overcome his size disadvantage in college.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zeirlein believes that Givens’ “inability to defeat man-on-man engagement against Wisconsin may be an indicator of the issues he would have as a pro.”
Against the large Wisconsin offensive line, Givens was consistently blown off the ball and was “a non-factor against Wisconsin’s interior power.” As a result, he finished with only one tackle. These struggles are cause for concern, considering NFL offensive linemen are going to be at least as big as the Wisconsin unit, if not bigger.
If Givens can effectively add weight, he has a strong chance of being a useful part of a defensive line rotation somewhere in the NFL down the road. He’ll likely spend most of his rookie season on the sidelines as he adjusts to the pro level.
Givens figures to be one of a handful of former Nittany Lions who will hear their names called during day three of the NFL Draft or shortly after as an undrafted free agent.
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