Austin Booker’s Draft Profile | Kansas, EDGE Scouting Report

Kansas EDGE Austin Booker is one of the most exciting prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. Where does he project with his scouting report?

The Kansas Jayhawks have a strong 2024 NFL Draft class, and Austin Booker is at the top of the team’s board. Where does Booker’s scouting report place him in the 2024 EDGE group, and can he be a starter-level talent at the NFL level?

Austin Booker’s Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’4 1/2″
  • Weight: 240 pounds
  • Length: 34″
  • Wingspan: 81 1/2″
  • Hand: 9 1/4″
  • Position: EDGE
  • School: Kansas
  • Current Year: Redshirt Sophomore

A former top-10 player in the state of Indiana, Booker was a three-star defensive end recruit who also played basketball in high school. You can see the basketball background in the cross-overs Booker uses against tackles — but he ultimately chose football as his future.

Upon exiting high school, Booker committed to play for the Minnesota Golden Gophers in 2021, redshirting his first season while eventual second-round pick Boye Mafe ascended. The next year brought a select few snaps for Booker, but he ultimately chose to transfer ahead of the 2023 campaign.

Landing in Kansas, Booker immediately made his presence felt for the Jayhawks. In just his second game, he notched two sacks against an Illinois team with multiple NFL prospects on the line.

From that point on, Booker was a force to be reckoned with. He finished the year with eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and 38 QB pressures — which led the Big 12.

Booker strengthened his 2024 NFL Draft impression at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., using that stage to showcase his talents against some of the nation’s top prospects.

His NFL Combine numbers — a 4.79-second 40-yard dash, a 32″ vertical, and a 10′ broad jump — weren’t quite as good as expected, but Booker still presents plenty of upside as an EDGE prospect who’s just starting to blossom.

Booker’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Has impressive length and could build out a power arsenal with more mass.
  • Explosive, twitched-up long strider who can sequentially off-set blockers and pursue.
  • Shows off exciting ankle flexion and bend and can pinch the corner at sharp angles.
  • Has surprising pass-rush nuance for his experience level and has a solid arsenal.
  • Has shown he can sequence pass-rush moves in rapid succession and keep synergy.
  • When he’s able to properly align his base, power capacity can overwhelm blockers.
  • Possesses the twitch and agility to levy sudden spin moves after baiting OTs upfield.
  • Actively uses his stride freedom to throttle up to the apex and supplement swipes.
  • Can flash his hands to bait OTs into extending, then explode into devastating long-arms.
  • Knows how to displace OTs with initial rushing angles and capitalize with counters.
  • Motor never fades out, which allows him to generate second- and third-effort pressure.
  • Plays with great energy in run defense and can use his agility to keep himself clean.
  • Has flashed the ability to stack and shed blockers with his length and explosive output.
  • Shows glimpses of impressive processing, discipline, and recovery on option plays.
  • Length, explosiveness, and motor amount to impressive playmaking range in pursuit.

Weaknesses

  • Explosiveness and speed, while exceptional, may be a notch below the elite mark.
  • Is very light for an edge defender and needs more bulk to reach NFL-level strength.
  • Middling mass and play strength can make him easier to control and displace.
  • Doesn’t have the strength to break opposing anchors when initial power rushes fail.
  • Sometimes diverts too far upright when stunting across gaps, exposing his frame.
  • Can be uncontrolled with base alignment and pad level when levying lateral counters.
  • High-cut frame occasionally yields slight hip stiffness and delays in direction changes.
  • Despite age-relative rush proficiency, can still work on expanding his pass-rush arsenal.
  • Visibly lacks the hand strength to routinely finish moves and nullify opposing extensions.
  • Can be more consistent at employing counters with rapid reaction after initial moves.
  • Too often experiences delays in his pass-rush counter work when he needs to adapt.
  • High-cut frame doesn’t always translate well when tasked with coverage of the flats.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Booker grades out as a fringe top-100 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. He could field consideration in the mid-to-late Day 2 range, but he’d be an even better value acquisition early on Day 3.

At over 6’4″, 240 pounds, with 34″ arms, Booker has all of the physical tools to supplement a high ceiling. He’s long, explosive, agile, and bendy, and his unyielding motor lays a strong foundation for his disruptive footprint both as a pass-rusher and a run defender.

Going further, Booker has more pass-rush nuance than you’d expect for a redshirt sophomore. He’s shown he can bait tackles with upper-lower synergy, capitalize with power, and stack quick counters in succession while using his speed to threaten the apex.

Unfortunately, Booker’s lighter frame complicates his projection. He’s flashed the ability to properly leverage his frame and stack run blocks. But overall, he can be easier to move with his lighter base and core, and he struggles to break anchors once blockers latch on.

On the surface, Booker has all of the athleticism and all of the intangible traits to supersede his lighter frame to a degree — but the NFL is a different game, and one Booker will need more mass to survive in.

KEEP READING: Top EDGEs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Booker’s frame likely confines him to a 3-4 rush linebacker projection, where he’ll be able to play with more space from 7-tech and wide-9. If he can add more mass to his frame and keep following his upward developmental curve, he can be a quality starter — with pass-rush specialization and soundness as an option and as an exterior gap patrolman.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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