The Ravens Draft: Dan Giordano
There are a lot of "highlight" tapes out there of Giordano, but I am using his performance against Pitt and USF. The reason being because Pitt runs a pro-style offense with a drop-back passing attack in Tino Sunseri and USF runs a lot of spread with zone-read elements.
Frankly, I'm surprised not many are talking about Giordano as a mid-round prospect.
Overall, I think he has some upside, although not a tremendous amount. When I watch him I see a good all-around defensive end in a 4-3 with enough athleticism to be a "Sam" backer in a 3-4, which is what Kruger was supposed to do and what Jarret Johnson did. However, I will say that Giordano has significantly more explosion and quickness than JJ did.
For the purpose of the Ravens, I think Giordano could be intriguing as a mid-to-late round prospect that could compete with Adrian Hamilton and Michael McAdoo for depth positions behind Suggs, Upshaw, and Dumervil. He has a motor that just doesn't quit and I really like that about him. He's strong, he uses leverage really well, and he can dip his shoulder. Purely from a pass rushing perspective, the thing I notice the most about him is that he generates a lot of pressure and forces the QB to get rid of the ball early and/or move up and away from the pocket. He doesn't ever seem to consistently GET to the QB though and I think a lot of that has to do with his closing speed. He just doesn't have that top-end closing speed that elite pass rushers have, so in that regard I don't think he'd ever be an elite pass rusher.
Surprisingly, he's not terrible in space. However he's going to need a lot of coaching regarding pass coverage because at the moment he is very limited in that he is a "north/south" defensive player. Cincinnati had a few zone-blitz plays where Giordano would drop into coverage, but it was more to confuse the QB rather than actually cover anyone effectively. So, dropping into zones may be difficult for him at first. However, I think he'd be fine working his way out to zones in the flat area to cover TE screens and swing passes to the RB.
This, IMO, is where Giordano's bread-n-butter lies. In the Ravens defense I think he'd be an outstanding depth player behind Suggs and Upshaw as the "Sam" linebacker. However, I do think that Giordano possesses better straight-line explosion than Upshaw. So, he could be more of a pass rusher than Upshaw, but I think Upshaw just does an outstanding job diagnosing the play and getting to the ball. Giordano stands up OL'men, he rarely gets pushed off the LOS, and he sheds blocks really well to make plays on ball carrier at the LOS or behind the LOS. He does a nice job diagnosing plays and even against Ray Graham (Pitt RB...very quick scat back player) he was able to run him down for minimal gains by setting the edge and forcing Graham outside without a cutback lane.
NFL Player he reminds me of: At best, maybe a Ahmad Brooks type of player mixed with some Chandler Jones. Jones has more closing speed though.