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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Vince Biegel, OLB, Wisconsin

NFL Draft Scouting Report: Vince Biegel, OLB, Wisconsin

Vince Biegel -- Wisconsin Badgers

Position: Outside Linebacker

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 246
Year: Senior
Hometown: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Experience: Sr. - 3 year starter

 

Measurables:

40yd dash: 4.67
Broad jump: 118”
Vertical: 33.5”
3-cone: 6.92
20yd. Shuttle: 4.30
Bench Press: 21

 

Career Notes:

The son of former BYU linebacker and two-time state wrestling champion, Rocky Biegel, Vince Biegel was an all-state athlete at Lincoln high school in Wisconsin Rapids, lettering in football, hockey, and track and field. He went to the University of Wisconsin in 2012 as a four-star recruit after turning down an offer from  BYU. However, he redshirted his freshman season at UW because of a foot injury he suffered in his second game of action.

Biegel returned to the field in 2013 as a redshirt freshman, playing primarily a reserve role in the Badgers defense. He did crack the starting lineup in two games near the end of the season and finished the year with 25 tackles and two sacks. The following season, Wisconsin shifted to a 3-4 defense and the change really helped out Biegel’s career. He emerged as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in 2014, garnering national attention with 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 13 starts and proving to be one of the better young defensive players in the Big Ten.

In 2015, Biegel formed an effective duo on the edge with Joe Schoebert, who now starts at linebacker for the Cleveland Browns. As a junior, Biegel recorded 14 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and eight quarterback hurries, helping pave the way for one of the top defenses in college football. Biegel started off the 2016 season where he left off as a junior, but an ankle injury a few weeks into the year hindered him throughout the rest of the season and minimized his production. Even though he only registered four sacks and seven hurries, he did finish with 51 pressures, according to PFF, which was the second highest among all college outside linebackers.

Biegel’s 21.5 career sacks rank seventh in Wisconsin school history and his 39.5 tackles for loss are the 10th most among any Badger defender. He also tied the school record for the most games played with 54, including 40 starts in that time. He also earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors in 2016 and 2014 and Third-Team honors in 2015, and was the defensive captain in 2016 for a Wisconsin defense that was one of the top units in the nation.

 

Injury Report:

Biegel had to redshirt his freshman season because of a foot injury. He also missed two games in 2016 after suffering a broken foot against Michigan State in October. This forced him to be sidelined against Michigan and Ohio State, marquee games that would have been crucial for his senior season. He returned to the field to play Iowa after undergoing surgery, helping Wisconsin beat the Hawkeyes 17-9 and preventing a three-game skid. However, he was limited for the remainder of the season. The Badgers finished 11-1 with Biegel in the lineup and were 0-2 without him.

 

Career Stats(click here):

 

Analysis:

Against the Run: 4.5/5.0

Biegel is a very active run defender, showing tremendous hustle and effort to work through the trash and get to the ball carrier. Whether he’s playing off-ball or on the edge, Biegel takes on blocks well and does a nice job holding the point of attack, showing decent functional strength and arm extension. He does play best flowing in space where he can use his tremendous read and reaction skills to run free over the top of the line of scrimmage or chase in pursuit. However, he has enough size and plays with good enough technique and pad level to keep from getting washed out of plays in the box. He may need to get a bit stronger and add more weight though if he’s going to play on the edge in the NFL. As an off-ball linebacker this shouldn’t be a concern. Overall, Biegel is a tough, physical downhill run defender who plays with a lot of passion and energy, which enables him to make stops.

Pass Rush: 4.0/5.0

Biegel is an underrated pass rusher. Even though he only recorded four sacks in 2016, he did generate consistent quarterback pressure. According to Pro Football Focus, Biegel finished second among all college outside linebackers last season in pressures with 51. This was even considerably more than Biegel’s high-profile teammate, T.J. Watt. Biegel often wins with a quick first step and then separates with speed around the edge. He has a tremendous burst out of his stance, which allows him to get an advantageous position and gain leverage against the offensive tackle. He frequently gets his inside hand on the tackle’s outside shoulder, turning the tackle off balance and allowing him to cut a tight corner to the quarterback. Biegel also plays with good bend and hip flexibility, keeping his pads low as he turns the corner and dips under the tackle’s shoulder pads. He also possesses an effective spin move he uses on occasion when a tackle over sets to the outside to anticipate his speed. Biegel’s non-stop motor also allows him to make second-chance plays, whether it’s a sack, quarterback hit, or tackle in pursuit. While on occasion Biegel has shown he can convert speed to power and drive a lineman back on his heels if he has enough of a running start, the former Wisconsin linebacker does need to get stronger in order to develop a more effective bull rush. NFL tackles will quickly learn to overplay Biegel’s speed until Biegel adds power moves to his game.

Coverage:  3.5/5.0

Biegel dropped in coverage more in 2016 than he did in any of his previous seasons at Wisconsin. Typically in Wisconsin’s 3-4 defense, one outside linebacker drops in coverage on passing downs more frequently than the other outside linebacker, who is designated to blitz off the edge. As a sophomore and junior, Biegel was often the designated pass rusher because Joe Schobert played the other outside linebacker spot and he was a more natural fit dropping in space. However, in 2016 Watt emerged as a rush backer but struggled when dropping in coverage, so Biegel became the outside linebacker to drop in space on third downs. While this did have an effect on Biegel’s sack numbers because he rushed fewer times in the season than in any other year he played as a starter, the more balanced role could help Biegel as a pro prospect. In 2016, as well at the Senior Bowl, Biegel showed he can drop back in coverage and hold his own out in space. He’s a natural athlete with good speed and change of direction ability. He can trail a tight end down the seam or pick up a halfback in the flat. He’s also good at dropping in a zone and reacting to what is in front of him. This could lead him to being more of an off-ball linebacker in the NFL than a traditional edge rusher.

Athletic Ability: 4.0/5.0

While his teammate Watt is more of an explosive downhill athlete, Biegel moves fluidly in space and shows quick lateral movement across the line of scrimmage. He also has flexible hips and plays with good bend off the edge. His loose hips help him when dropping in space and changing direction. He can backpedal and then turn and run with a tight end downfield, or he run outside the tackle box and quickly realign himself to square up the halfback to make the stop. He’s also a very quick athlete with good short-area burst. He tested similarly to Clay Matthews at the Combine. The two players were nearly identical in height, weight, 40 time, bench press, broad jump, vertical, and three-cone time.

Play Speed: 4.0/5.0

Biegel possesses good straight-line speed (4.67), which aids him in pursuit or when trailing in coverage. He also has good burst off the line and a quick initial move in pass rush. He possesses very good football instincts, quickly reading and reacting to plays on the field, which enables him to play fast. His high motor and constant hustle also allow him to maintain good play speed all four quarters of the game.

Impact Play Ability: 3.5/5.0

Biegel generates consistent pressure and is an active run defender. He recorded 19.5 sacks and 36.5 tackles for loss as a three-year starter at Wisconsin. However, his production did drop off a bit his senior year because of a nagging ankle injury. He didn’t finish as many plays as he had his previous two seasons. The emergence of Watt also cast a bit of a shadow over him, as Biegel was asked to take more of a supporting role on defense instead of being the team’s primary pass rusher. However, when watching the film it is clear Biegel was an integral part to the Badgers defense. His pressure off the edge set up several plays for his teammates as he flushed the quarterback out of the pocket. Early in the season, he also took on double teams because he was the Badgers premier player on defense.

Summary: Biegel is a selfless player who will do anything his coaches ask of him, whether it’s being his team’s primary pass rusher or playing in a more of an off-ball linebacker role and dropping in space. Biegel can also rush effectively from any linebacker spot on the field, making him an intriguing weapon for 3-4 defenses. Biegel should contribute immediately to an NFL roster as a rotational player on defense and core special teams guy  as he develops into a full-time starting linebacker at the next level. In the draft Biegel could go as early as the latter half of the second round or be a late-third round steal. Regardless, his value is on Day 2 of the draft.

Overall Grade: 3.92/5.0   

 

If Drafted by the Packers:

The Packers could use Biegel in any number of ways. Built in the mold of Clay Matthews, Biegel has the burst and relentlessness to be a pass rushing outside linebacker, or he could play off the ball as an inside linebacker in the Packers defense because he possesses great instincts, toughness, and quick lateral movement.

Biegel’s versatility would give the Packers another linebacker who they can play in multiple spots and keep opposing offenses guessing. He and Matthews could even swap positions or move around the field on any given down. Biegel would also give Green Bay a reliable outside linebacker in coverage, which is a rare asset for an edge rusher coming out of college.

Not to mention, despite all of the attributes he’d bring to the team as a player, it would be something special for a Wisconsin kid who grew up in Wisconsin Rapids to take the field in Green Bay as a rookie. For all of the narratives surrounding Watt going to Green Bay in round one this draft season because of the Wisconsin connection and 3-4 scheme fit, people tend to forget about Biegel. Would not Biegel to Green Bay be just as interesting of a story?

And while Watt was the Badgers emerging defensive star last season, Biegel had quietly been Wisconsin’s top defensive player (and captain for that matter) for three consecutive seasons. Biegel may not be a potential first-round prospect, but one could argue he’d be the better value because he could be selected in the third round and he shows very little dropoff from Watt as a next-level player.

 

 

Video:

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4zone's picture

I like him better than Watt. Was looking for him in the 4th but could see taking him in the third. Watt seems to be more one dimensional and we need better cover guys.

He would also leave the first two rounds for other positions. King in the first, Wormley in the second and Vince in the third would be awesome. Grab a RB; n the fourth and your OL guy(s) after that.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Totally agree on Biegel. He's a better value, and sets a much better edge than Watt.

Finwiz's picture

Yes - I was thinking the same thing in regard to the TJ comparison.
Biegel looks like to be more of a complete OLB because of his better ability to disengage from a tackle and cover in run support.
I wouldn't have thought that until I read this scouting report.
Goes to show you how much hype is associated with the Watt name.

Worztik's picture

I enjoyed watching him play last year. He seems to be relentless and can play the edge. I, however, have given up trying to predict what TT will do, consequently, making it impossible to create a draft scenario! The talk about more QB pressure would help the pass rush is valid. The thing is, better cover DBs (lockdown), can help a pass rusher in a reversed role. Cover the receivers tightly for a couple more ticks and the big boys up front will get to the QB! May not be the ideal but, it could be a viable option! I like what Ron did when drafting for us when he started his build of the team. Get some corners to be the nucleus of the D and build around them! It's the year of the CB and we should get 2 and further upgrade from there. Watt may be gone or he could fall... JUST WIN WITH CBs BABY!!!

slit's picture

Watt in Rd1, Biegel in Rd3, with a CB sandwiched in between, such as Adoree Jackson, would make me an extremely happy Packer fan after day 2 of the draft. Then focus on OL/RB early on day 3.

PackerfanAuggie15's picture

If Biegel is around in the 4th that would be steal. Both Watt in the 1st and Biegel later would be a luxury, why not have 3 Clay Matthews... Regardless hopefully TT targets at least one these 2.

dobber's picture

Don't get me wrong: I love my Badgers, but I'm just not as high on Biegel as this review is. In the third or fourth round, sure, but he's a third/fourth-round talent. Is he ever going to be more than what he is? Probably not. Great intangibles, great motor, tough, smart but he's got a chronic bad foot and has mostly reached his ceiling. Watt will go much higher based on his (albeit limited) production and his potential...and GMs will be perfectly willing to speculate on that. I'm no expert, but I think Biegel ends up an ILB in the 3-4 (and in GB) and only on the edge periodically.

Finwiz's picture

Good lord, I did not realize Biegel was as fast as Watt and just as strong. Interesting, for some reason I didn't have him rated as highly as TJ. He'll be gone by the end of round 3.

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