While the Las Vegas Raiders were big players in the defensive tackle market this offseason, they didn’t add any top-tier or game-changing players at the position, so there’s a good chance they’ll look to add one in the next NFL Draft. Clemson’s Bryan Bresee could be exactly what the Raiders are looking for as a potential first-round pick.
The 2020 No. 1 overall recruit didn’t put up many dazzling stats last season since a torn ACL limited him to just four games. However, he did post some impressive numbers during that time frame with 10 pressures and a PFF run-defense grade of 76.1. Those figures ranked tied for fourth and 11th among ACC defensive tackles between Weeks 0 and 4.
With such a small sample size, it doesn't do Bresee justice to judge him on paper and he’s shown some impressive traits on film over the past couple of seasons, even going back to his true freshman campaign.
Not a fan of the technique from Bryan Bresee (RT) but damn he’s a strong mf pic.twitter.com/GkulU5PnyS— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) July 7, 2022
I’m not going to lie, the technique here is pretty ugly but that’s somewhat expected from an 18/19-year-old freshman who is playing in his third college game. What we do see though is an example of why Bresee was the No. 1 overall recruit.
He lines up inside shade of the guard in a 2i-technique and will be responsible for plugging up the strong side A-gap. Normally, you’d like to see him take on this block with short choppy steps, hand placement on the guard’s chest and with his helmet under the offensive lineman’s, instead of a hop, wide hands and bad pad level. That would allow Bresee to sit in his gap and potentially work across the guard’s face to go get involved in the play if the running back bounces.
However, the Clemson product opts for the more difficult route which is using pure strength and closing the gap with the blocker. He does that and then some by putting the guard on the ground and effectively eliminating the strong side A-gap for the ball carrier while being in a position to make the play. Unfortunately, the offensive tackle got beat across his face by the defensive end and was in a perfect position to pick up Bresee.
Again, there’s plenty to clean up about this rep but seeing brute strength like this from a true freshman will excite any scout, especially if he can get his technique down in the coming years.
Bryan Bresee (DLT) with quickness and power to get a pressure pic.twitter.com/3VzU5tNVHZ— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) July 7, 2022
Here we’re going to see a good example of combining quickness and power.
Bresee is lined up as a three-technique or outside shade of the guard but is going to slant inside to the A-gap with the line game Clemson has called. He does an excellent job of getting off the ball and gaining ground both laterally and vertically with his first step to get to the spot and put pressure on the offensive line.
Because the defensive tackle was so quick and efficient with his footwork, the center ends up being late to pick him up and can only take on half a man. From there, it’s just about Bresee keeping his feet pumping and using a subtle rip move so that he can rack up a pressure, preventing the quarterback from being able to step into this throw.
That’s a rare combination of size, power and athletic ability from, again, a guy playing in just his third college game.
Bryan Bresee (NT) can move and has force as a rusher, check out the leg drive on this rep pic.twitter.com/EVBGYLfIMb— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) July 7, 2022
This next clip is another example of Bresee using that quickness and power combination.
Clemson has another flush stunt called where he’s lined up at nose tackle or in a zero-technique but works to get to outside shade of the right guard post-snap. Again, he fires off the ball and puts pressure on the offensive line both vertically and horizontally while getting to his spot.
One thing that stands out about the Tiger as a pass rusher is his legs never stop moving and barely slow down. That’s a sign of someone who has some impressive power and that prevents the guard from being able to re-anchor. So, the rusher can collapse the pocket and eventually make contact with the quarterback after getting some help from the standup outside linebacker.
Being able to execute stunts without having to tip them pre-snap — i.e. shading the center instead of lining up head up – is a very valuable asset for a defensive lineman, especially on the inside.
Bryan Bresee (DLT) closes the gap with his man and picks up a TFL pic.twitter.com/9nS3ONgVbL— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) July 7, 2022
Moving on to one of Bresee’s four games from last season, we’ll see some improvements with a year of experience.
Clemson is blitzing their strong side inside linebacker in the A-gap and it appears as if Bresee has a mental lapse as it doesn’t look like he should be slanting at all. He’s lined up in the B-gap, No. 3 has the C-gap and No. 22 is responsible for the D-gap or anything that goes outside of the tight end, so all the strong side gaps are accounted for. However, the defensive tackle makes up for his mistake with good technique and it actually ends up helping him make the play.
Compare his pad level and use of hands at the point of attack on this rep to the ones above. This time, his helmet is underneath the offensive lineman’s and his hands are inside on the lineman’s chest. That allows him to close the B-gap with the man and take on the block with outside leverage to help disengage and be in a perfect position to make a tackle for loss.
These are the types of plays that are a gamble and if it works, you’re the hero, but if it doesn’t, prepare to get chewed out in the meeting room on Monday.
3rd & short and Bryan Bresee (DLT) uses his athletic ability on the DT twist to get the stop pic.twitter.com/3GZBD3JMRK— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) July 7, 2022
Clemson liked to twist their two defensive tackles when using a four-man front in this game and part of the reason is Bresee is excellent at executing it.
His first step is angled so that he can take on the center and we see another example of his improved technique with his pad level and hands to avoid losing ground while engaging with the blocker and looping.
Once he sees his teammate start to work inside, he’s agile enough to loop around and get all the way to the outside of the opposite guard from his pre-snap alignment. That allows Bresee to break through the line of scrimmage unblocked and watch how tight he stays to the guard while working into the backfield to take an efficient path to the running back.
Since he’s taking the optimal route and the other defensive tackle does his job by standing up the center and guard, the sophomore can make the tackle short of the sticks on third and two.
Another great example of how his movement skills allow him to impact the game.