Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Is Clemson DT Bryan Bresee the first-round prospect he was promised to be? As his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report details, he certainly is.

The 2023 NFL Draft might have the blue-chip defensive tackle prospect that the 2022 NFL Draft lacked. The question is, is Clemson DT Bryan Bresee’s NFL draft scouting report strong enough to vault him into that range? Bresee has the pedigree, and the talent is visible. But where does his composite grade settle in the 2023 class?

Bryan Bresee NFL draft profile

Droves of players on the recruiting trail circle the NFL as the ultimate end destination. But for Bresee, it’s hardly been an aspiration. Rather, it’s been a certainty. At some point, Bresee will reach the NFL. He’ll play and make an impact on Sundays, and more likely than not, a team will pick him very early in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Bresee was a consensus five-star recruit in the 2020 class. Not only that, but he was also a consensus top-five prospect and the No. 1 overall recruit on several boards. As a junior in high school, Bresee had 12 sacks and 36 tackles for loss. As a senior, he added on 14 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss for good measure.

Unsurprisingly, Bresee earned the eye of Clemson — one of the most respected defensive programs in the country. That’s where he ultimately signed, and that’s where he hit the ground running on the CFB stage. In 2020, as a true freshman, Bresee put up four sacks and 6 1/2 tackles for loss. In 2021, playing for his sister battling cancer, he came out at a torrid pace, logging 1 1/2 sacks and three tackles for loss in four games.

Unfortunately for Bresee, a torn ACL would cut his 2021 season short. But now he’s back and on a mission to make up for lost time and missed opportunities.

  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • School: Clemson
  • Current Year: Junior
  • Height/Weight: 6’5″, 300 pounds

Bryan Bresee scouting report

Bresee is a revered talent on the college football stage, but does he have what it takes to live up to his promise and break into Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft? It’s all a projection at this point, but Bresee’s traits lend him a world of potential.

Bresee’s positives

Standing around 6’5″, 300 pounds, Bresee is an incredibly explosive athlete with easy mobility out of his stance. He generates instant acceleration off the snap and has the elite explosiveness to surge past pulling blockers. Bresee uses his elite first-step quickness to instantly get inside the torso of his opponents and drive power forward. Moreover, the Clemson DT showcases frightening closing burst when he has a free lane to the ball carrier.

Bresee doesn’t just possess elite vertical burst but also has elite lateral athleticism. The Clemson DT can cover massive amounts of ground with his lateral explosiveness. He can easily sidestep moving blocks off the snap and stay clean. Additionally, Bresee possesses exceptional lateral twitch, which he can use to work blockers off-balance, then capitalize on displacement. He’s an energetic mover in congested areas, and he can also levy size-defying spins and finesse moves to send blockers lurching.

Bresee’s burst and power, in conjunction, can obliterate run plays. The Clemson DT has elite power capacity and can leverage his explosiveness and superb length into brutal knock-back power. He’s able to violently extend and plow blockers back at the point of attack, and he fully extends to exert maximum power.

Going further, Bresee possesses impressive upper-body torque and can generate immense amounts of force on clubs and swims. He also has the upper-body torque to throw down blockers in sudden, brutal bursts of energy. With his power generation, he can wrench blockers aside and clear contact early in reps. But beyond that, he can create displacement when latched with active leg drive.

While Bresee still has room to get stronger, the Clemson DT has shown he can rip down opposing anchors after acquiring leverage. He can use strong hands to latch and tug blockers off-balance. Moreover, he’s shown he can widen his base, square up blockers, and rip down extended arms with force.

Bryan Bresee
Sep 4, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive lineman Bryan Bresee (11) and defensive end K.J. Henry (5) celebrate after a play during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at Bank of America Stadium. Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

Operationally, in terms of hand usage and leverage acquisition, Bresee shows promise as well. The Clemson DT has demonstrated he has the capacity to properly sink his pads and channel his traits with positive leverage. He can also compound brisk lateral movements with violent swipes and arm-overs. He’s able to knock linemen off-balance with violent clubs, and he has a brutal forklift move with his burst and length.

With his length, Bresee can establish anchors and leverage points, then rip free from blockers. Beyond that, he can use his length to keep himself clean and maintain space. He can then surge forward to overtake runners in pursuit. On the attack, Bresee has shown he can stack counters, at times initiating bull rushes and then using his arms to rip outside. Bresee has a visible understanding of angles and leverage in close quarters. Even in run defense, he can effectively place his hands and feet to negate reach blocks.

Expanding on Bresee’s strengths, the Clemson DT is a high-motor defender who plays with near-constant energy. He keeps his hands active through reps and can earn second-effort sacks with his constant drive. Additionally, Bresee has enough ankle flexion to stunt outside and pry around blocks, reducing his surface area to a degree. And with his finesse, he sustains acceleration well through moves.

In pursuit, Bresee shines. With his twitchy corrective athleticism, length, and closing burst, he can be a menace in the backfield. He has the high-level lateral athleticism to quickly adjust tackling angles and surge into opponents. Furthermore, he has the pursuit speed and short-area acceleration to run down players from behind. He can use his length to wrap up runners and halt forward progress.

Among other things, Bresee has good alignment versatility. He’s proven he can play as far inside as 0-tech and 1-tech, but some of his best reps come at 3-tech and 4i.

Bresee’s areas for improvement

Most notably, Bresee’s leverage acquisition can be inconsistent. The Clemson DT’s frame is tall and slightly high-hipped. As a result, he can come off the snap too upright at times. His tendency to pop up too high out of his stance can stall rushes quickly. At this point, he struggles to manage his height and acquire leverage consistently. In a similar vein, his high pad level detracts from his power generation at times. Bresee sometimes bends at the waist when trying to drive power forward, stifling leg drive.

Going further, Bresee has room to get stronger in his lower body, where he’s currently relatively lean. He doesn’t quite have the strength to take up space and encumber double-teams, and he also occasionally has trouble breaking anchors. It doesn’t help that Bresee isn’t the most flexible player in his upper body. He’s not always able to squirm free when locked up, and as a pass rusher, his rushes sometimes die out when stunting outside.

Bresee can be more efficient and targeted with his hand usage. The Clemson DT sometimes lacks direction and can cut down on wasted motion every now and then. Additionally, Bresee has room to keep expanding his hand usage arsenal and add more counters to his game.

Lastly, Bresee’s motor, while strong, inexplicably fades on occasion. And while he has good pursuit speed for his size, he’s not quantifiably elite in that category.

Current draft projection for Clemson DT Bryan Bresee

The book has been the same on Bresee since his high school days. He was seen as a future first-round pick then. And he’s seen as a very viable first-round candidate now, with top-10 pick upside. Provided that he’s fully healthy, he can take his game to the next level and reach a new tier of dominance on the college football stage.

Bresee’s rare physical upside is what makes him so enticing as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect. The Clemson DT has quantifiably elite explosiveness and lateral agility to pair with impressive length, high-level power capacity, violent hands, and a daunting motor. His explosiveness and length combine to generate devastating artificial power at times, but he’s also shown he has the upper-body torque to displace blockers with raw ability.

Bresee isn’t yet a perfect prospect. His leverage is a definite concern, and he also has room to get stronger and improve his hand usage. But already, the underclassman has a strong age-adjusted hand usage arsenal, and he has enough strength to hold up in run defense and wrench open lanes. And as a pass rusher, his elite burst, power, and agility culminate in truly uncommon potential.

At 6’5″, 300 pounds, Bresee has some flexibility with his projection. He’d bring coveted alignment versatility to odd- and hybrid-front schemes, with absurd disruptive capacity at 3-tech. But he also has enough strength and size to maintain more gap responsibility as an even-front defensive tackle. Whatever the case, Bresee is a surefire first-round talent, a DT1 candidate, and a potential blue-chip player at the next level.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.

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