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Raiders Draft 2023: Edge Robert Beal Jr.

An athletic, but under-developed pass rusher who can be a jolt on special teams as he grows

NCAA Football: SEC Football Championship-Louisiana State vs Georgia
Georgia’s Robert Beal Jr. (33) is an under-developed edge rusher with requisite size and blazing speed. He can immediately compete for special teams snaps while growing as a pass rusher.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Based on his chiseled frame and size, the term “looks good getting off the bus” would most definitely apply to Georgia’s Robert Beal Jr. The 6-4, 247 pound edge rusher looks every bit the defensive end/3-4 outside rush linebacker.

Beal’s testing numbers at the NFL Combine was superb, as well, which will draw attention from all 32 teams — especially his 4.44 40-yard dash.

But in terms of collegiate production, there’s plenty to be desired. Beal couldn’t fight up a stacked Georgia defensive depth chart, despite having ideal size and speed. And when he earned snaps, his play was a rollercoaster of splash plays and red-flag miscues.

However, there’s potential for Beal to be a much better player at the NFL-level than he was in college and for a Las Vegas Raiders team needing more explosion off the edge, Beal fits the bill.

Tale of the Tape: Robert Beal Jr.

  • School: Georgia
  • Position: Edge Rusher
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 247
  • 2022 Stats: 25 total tackles (16 solo), 2.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
  • Career Stats: 72 total tackles (36 solo), 10 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recover, 2 pass deflections
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets v Georgia Bulldogs
Robert Beal Jr. (33), seen here celebrating his fumble recovery with his teammates, couldn’t fight up a stacked Georgia depth chart during his collegiate career.
Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Beal’s first-step is one to behold. He generates explosive momentum at the onset and his acceleration is on full display when he sprints towards the quarterback. Combine that speed and twitch with his massive wingspan and it’s easy to see why Beal can leave offensive linemen and other blockers off balance with his strong punches and hand fighting.

Beal is also a stout run defender who maintains his edge assignment and has the speed to get to the ball carrier in a hurry or chase down the ballcarrier, too. His size, wingspan, and frame give him the requisite skillset to absorb blocks but not get washed out of the play.

His most productive season at Georgia — where he put out solid game tape — was in 2021 where he made a living in the backfield with 6.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.

Beal’s 2022 season, however, highlighted the areas of opportunity.

While he comes with ideal physical traits his pass rush toolkit is very much barebones. This is a byproduct of not being able to fight up the Bulldogs’ stupendous depth chart and not being able to refine his game as his Georgia career went on. His timing is very much off and his lateness leads to getting re-routed and out of the play.

That also affects his ability to diagnose and read plays. The tardiness leads to hesitation and not even his speed can make up for the lost time. And while he displays more than adequate strength, his ability to shed blocks needs to be improved — especially against stronger and athletic offensive linemen in the pros.

But his ability to scream off the edge and become a stalwart on special teams coverage units are very hard to ignore. If a team can add to his pass rush repertoire, he’d make for a Lance Johnston-type rusher who gets around the edge and beats linemen with ease.

Projection-wise, the consensus on Beal is a Day 3 prospect that is a fifth- or sixth-round developmental pick. His size and speed alone will get him drafted and it’s difficult to see teams not taking Beal during the draft. He offers immediate special teams traits with the upside to develop and refine his pass rush toolkit and skills to contribute on defense.

Beal will also be a 24-year-old rookie this coming season.

For a Raiders team needing quality depth at the edge spot, Beal is a good option as he can be a pure-speed type screaming off the edges to pressure offenses in both base defense and situational sub packages. And Las Vegas’ special teams unit could use a prospect of Beal’s size and speed on coverage units.