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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Marist Liufau (LB – Notre Dame)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Marist Liufau (LB – Notre Dame)

As the college football season inches toward its finish, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Marist Liufau.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Marist Liufau

Marist Liufau (LB – Notre Dame)

6’2″ – 239 lbs.

Background:

Three-star recruit who redshirted in 2019, then started three of 10 appearances in 2020, recording 22 tackles. Missed the 2021 season due to an ankle injury, then took over a starting role in 2022, finishing with 51-4.5-0.5. Has had a pretty similar senior season, and will probably end up slightly exceeding his production last year.

Positives:

Two-year starter with a favorable trajectory; looks more comfortable in his second season back from injury. Able to line up as a traditional off-ball linebacker or as an edge rusher. Plays with physicality and urgency. Big, well-built linebacker with the functional strength to match. Shows patience and discipline when diagnosing and doesn’t take many false steps. Has some explosive power in his hands to play off of blocks, shedding well with active hands. Looks fast in pursuit and shows a high motor to chase opponents to the sidelines. Generates pop-on contact and can help set the tone defensively.

Intensity allows him to generate some push as a bull-rusher off the edge. Has impressive lateral quickness to find lanes to the passer. Shows some ability to anticipate snap counts as an A-gap blitzer. Closes quickly when he finds a lane. Diagnoses well from zone and can transition quickly to planting and driving on a spot. Has some explosive movement skills to carry backs and tight ends into the flats. Uses his hands to stay connected when pattern-matching.

Negatives:

Has spent five years in school, and his 2021 ankle injury will require further investigation. Aggressive style of play means he doesn’t always have the most stable base underneath him, negating some of his strength. Gets his shoulders turned at times when flowing. Doesn’t always wrap up as a tackler, leading to some misses; generally pretty reliable, but week-to-week consistency has been an issue. Could develop a deeper repertoire of rush moves and counters; a lot of his success comes from open lanes or occasionally from his bull rush, but tends to get stuck if that doesn’t work.

Summary:

May not have the eye-popping statistical production of some of his peers, but makes a big impact on games with his energy, anticipation, explosiveness, and power. Able to diagnose and work through traffic effectively in the run game, and shows some exciting traits as an edge rusher. Looks like a scheme-versatile chess piece that could play behind either an even or odd defensive line and would work best playing downhill on an aggressive blitzing team.

Projection: Round 3-4

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