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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Austin Booker (DE – Kansas)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Austin Booker (DE – Kansas)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Kansas defensive end Austin Booker.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Austin Booker

Austin Booker (DE – Kansas)

6’6″ – 245 lbs.

Background:

Originally attended Minnesota, spending 2021 as a redshirt and then playing sparingly the following year before transferring to Kansas. Played nearly 500 snaps this season, ending up with an impressive line of 56-12.0-8.0 before sitting out the team’s bowl game and declaring.

Positives:

Stepped right into a major role upon arriving at Kansas and put together a strong season. Huge, long-limbed stand-up rusher who often lined up from wide alignments in the team’s odd defensive front, but will sometimes get his hand in the dirt and play inside the opposing tackle on even fronts. Active, sudden player with his hands. Uses his length effectively to get good extension from opposing blockers. Flashes the ability to scrape, locate the football, and make tackles while engaged, with a wide tackling radius. Shows a good motor in pursuit out to the sidelines. Covers a good amount of ground with his first step. Able to dip his shoulder and get low to work around the edge. Manages to mix up his rush approach relatively often, with different moves and some good inside moves to threaten gaps. Looks athletic enough to make spot drops into coverage from a two-point stance.

Negatives:

Has a very thin frame and will likely be asked to gain anywhere from ten to twenty pounds at the next level. Doesn’t really have a power element to his game, which can compromise his run defense; tends to take some circuitous routes to the ball rather than holding the point of attack. Struggles to disengage when opponents get into his pads, and can be put on skates at times. Contact balance is iffy. Some occasional issues with balance also crop up when he’s trying to turn the edge as a speed rusher; doesn’t seem to have the most ankle flexibility. Repertoire of counters is still limited at this stage. Has the length to bat down passes at the line, but only did so once over his college career. Usage in coverage was limited to only about a snap or two per game.

Summary:

A very tall, lanky defensive end with pretty good flexibility for his size and a more diverse pass-rushing approach than anticipated from a first-year starter, he was able to step right into a major role at Kansas. At the same time, has the look of a developmental prospect, as he’s probably a year or two in a strength program away from being able to handle bigger, stronger pro offensive linemen. A patient team with a good strength program could ultimately develop him into a rotational pass-rushing type, likely as a weakside rush linebacker off the edge of an odd defensive front.

Projection: Round 4-5

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