Stephon Tuitt DT Notre Dame #7
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Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a three-tech interior lineman or a 3-4 end. Long arms allow him to keep physical linemen out of his pads and help him shed blocks. Modest overall athleticism, but fairly impressive for his size. Shows quickness in short bursts.
Run Defense: Can be a dominant anchor. Tough to move off his spot. Keeps his eye on the backfield a quickly sheds blocks to make plays in pursuit.
Pass Rush: Does a great job converting speed to power, especially when lined up on the edge. Has tools to collapse the pocket in a variety of ways. Quick enough to split gaps. Also strong enough and plays with the leverage necessary to bull-rush his way through the line. Long arms and does a nice job getting them up into passing lanes. Quickness and speed are an asset when lined up inside, but he lacks the elite burst to be a consistently effective edge-rusher in a 4-3 scheme.
Intangibles: Questionable and inconsistent work ethic. Dedication and work ethic were praised in high school and early in college, but dropped off prior to 2013 season which led to weight gain and sub-par performance. Weight ballooned up to 328 pounds by end of senior year, but dropped to 304 during NFL Combine. Comes across as a little immature during interviews, in a very innocent and impressionable way. Will need to be surrounded by leaders to ensure he stays focused.
Durability: Doctors discovered a fractured foot at the combine. Suffered a sports hernia in 2012 which required surgery.
Comments: Tuitt has the tools be elite, but how motivated is he? It was impossible not to notice his weight gain and overall decline in 2013. However, he also had a strong track record of working hard prior to the 2013 season. He may not have been surrounded by the type of leadership he needs at Notre Dame, with fellow lineman Louis Nix also suffering from a questionable work ethic and weight issues. His potential is elite, and if surrounded by the right teammates and coaching staff he could be a dominant lineman in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme.