In the next month, Turn On The Jets will break down the film on every New York Jets draft pick and undrafted free agent. Bob Scarinci kicks it off today with a closer look look at 3rd round draft choice, Lorenzo Mauldin DE/OLB from Louisville. Make sure to give Bob a follow and let him know what you think of Mauldin in the comment section below!
Lorenzo Mauldin played both Defensive End and Outside Linebacker for the Louisville Cardinals. During his career he played in over 30 games from 2012 to 2014 and amassed 31.5 Tackles for Loss, and 20.5 sacks. Mauldin checked in at the combine at 6’4”, 259 pounds and went through pass rusher and linebacker drills. Lorenzo is frequently discussed as one of the hardest working players in this draft class, as well as having one of its most intense on-field attitudes.
Often times when a player is praised for his work ethic and aggression their talent is undersold, or fans are lead to think they got where they are based entirely off of effort. While I do agree Mauldin plays as hard as anyone in this class, I think this young man possesses a lot of talent and will soon find himself playing a large volume of snaps for the New York Jets.
Pass Rush Skills
Lorenzo Mauldin is going to be asked to learn and eventually fill the always coveted “Edge” position for the New York Jets defense where he will play opposite Quinton Coples. Mauldin’s best skills when rushing the passer is how well he uses his hands to disengage from offensive lineman, the versatility in his pass rush repertoire and his ability to explosively change directions.
Here Mauldin is lined up to the bottom of the screen in a 7 technique defensive end alignment (a full yard outside the tackle’s outside shoulder). His initial move is to set the tackle up to the outside by widening his angle as he comes off the line. When he tries to make his move to the QB you can see him plant and change direction in sync with some great hand work to knock the OT off balance and shed the block with his inside arm.
Mauldin is not the strongest edge player you will see but he can frequently be found using his hands to set up the opportunity to take advantage of the power he does possess. On this snap from his game with Virginia this season, he waits patiently for the OT to reach to engage him on the edge and quickly knocks the OT’s hands off of him, subsequently knocking him off balance. Once the OT is off balance, Mauldin sinks his hips and drives him backwards with a “long arm” move. This use of power and leverage is what allows Mauldin to disrupt the QB and knock the pass down.
Mauldin shows the ability to be an explosive run defender capable of getting into the opponent’s backfield and make big plays for the defense. Lorenzo Mauldin’s strength in the run game is shooting gaps and shedding blocks, as he does so.
In the below clip you can see Mauldin start the play lined up over the tackle’s outside shoulder. On the snap, the Cardinal defender shoots the “B” gap and makes the tackle for loss. He explodes through the gap and sheds the attempted down block by the tackle, and the guard’s attempt to reach into the “B” gap and stop him.
Mauldin’s aggressive style in the run game also happens to lead to what I consider his biggest weakness. While this gap shooting style produces some great plays for the defense, it also has had its hand in creating some big time plays for the offense. This is the weakness that I think leads to Mauldin starting his career, as a member of the Jets, learning from the sideline.
An example of what I just mentioned can be seen on the following play. Kentucky is running inside zone in Maudlin’s direction, and they get a good pop into him off the snap by the tackle and TE. The TE heads up to the second level to finish executing his combo block, and rather than anchoring down and setting an edge, Mauldin tries to shoot inside vs the OT creating a running lane for the RB to bounce to and gash the Cardinals defense.
As you may or may not know, I wrote about Lorenzo Mauldin prior to the 2015 NFL Draft as part of an “Under the Radar” series, which can be found here, and while doing my homework on him I gave him an early 2nd round grade. Fortunately, the Jets were able to grab Mauldin in the middle of the 3rd round which in my opinion represented great value for a player of his caliber.