Surveying the Draft Prospects: DT Kawann Short

Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE

We've spent a good bit of time on some of the potential Panthers targets at #14 but now I turn to the Panthers second pick at #44.

If the Panthers decide to go with a skill position like WR in the 1st round then they will certainly be keen on a DT in the second round. Purdue's Kawann Short is projected by many to be a late first round pick yet it is not hard to see a scenario where the 6'3" 315 Lb big man with 35" arms slides to #44. So in that case is he a valid Panther prospect? Given he has already had a private work out with the Panthers should be enough to convince everyone he is on their radar.

I've selected a few draft profile excerpts to get a feel for how the Panthers might have evaluated Short, who did not work out at the combine but instead held a private work out on March 25th. We start with comments from that work out, which put to bed some injury concerns:

Monday pro day recap: Kawann Short workout overshadows Iowa, Duke - SBNation.com
Short's workout was the most revealing of the day, as teams were hoping to see how he's recovering from his hamstring injury. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.08 and 5.09 seconds, and put up 29 repetitions on the bench press at 225 pounds, according to Gil Brandt. In a deep defensive tackle draft, Short isn't as highly regarded as some of his classmates at the position. While he flashed top-15 potential at times during his senior season, Short has been questioned because of his motor and consistency.

I find it interesting that there are motor and consistency issues being cited though he was voted team captain two years running at Purdue. While not mutually exclusive those two usually don't go together.

If you prefer results over measureables then you will like his season Big Ten stat rankings:

Kawann Short | Purdue, DT : 2013 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile
DT - Kawann Short, senior, Purdue...Short, who will be playing in his final game as a Boilermaker on Jan. 1, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, wrapped up his final regular season at Purdue with 42 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four PBUs, four blocked kicks, two fumbles recovered and one forced.

He finished the 2012 regular season tied for fourth in the Big Ten in tackles for loss per game and tied for fifth in sacks. Short is eighth all-time at Purdue in both career tackles for loss (48.0) and sacks (18.5) and has blocked more career field goals (six) than any other player in school history. - Purdue football

Players who usually rank in the top 10 of their conference for TFL and sacks usually play DE or LB. Add in the kick blocking ability and Short is quite the opposite of his surname.

More strengths and Weanesses:

Kawann Short Draft Profile – NFL.com
STRENGTHS Potential starter with NFL size and length who can be as good as he wants to be. Plays every position on the interior line for the Boilermakers. Very crafty and slippery through double teams. Good upper body strength to rip off his man and make plays in the run game, as well as arm-over leaning linemen to pressure the passer. Good hand-eye coordination to swipe at blockers’ hands and keep them off his body. Experience two-gaping, moving his man or spinning off to either side to stop ball carriers getting past the line. Shows a good burst to the ball when he sees it directly in front of the backfield. Tough for ball carriers to shed because of his long arms and strong hands. Capable of pushing his man into the backfield with his thick arms and strong lower body. Feels a feigned block on screen plays. Drops into short coverage in the middle of the field on fire zones and holds his own in short areas.

WEAKNESSES Frame is out of proportion, as he has thin legs and holds extra weight in the middle of his body. Needs to find the ball consistently, regularly gets fooled by misdirection. Gets upright out of his stance. Does not have closing speed to chase plays away from the trenches. Play-to-play effort is questionable; stands around to watch the play too often, especially when tired or playing against better talent. Struggles when he can’t win with quickness, and is inconsistent anchoring vs base blocks and double teams. Doesn't have an array of moves to disengage.

The stats backup the 'good burst' and ability to shed blocks. Seems the comment about his 'frame being out of proportion' is really picking a nit. I mean, the kid can squat 600 lbs. So what if he legs seem a little skinny?

Short apparently considered leaving school early but had a change of heart and he seems to have benefited from it:

Kawann Short, DT, Purdue, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com
He considered leaving school a year early, but was given a third-round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board. "I felt like if I had another year, I could develop and become a power player," he told ESPN. "Get my body right, get in better shape and learn the game more. That's just motivation to make me strive even harder this year." Short squats more than 600 pounds and bench presses in the 400s. "He's playing harder on a more consistent basis right now than he was this time last year," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "He runs to the ball better, pushes himself more and dominates the line of scrimmage more consistently. He's always been able to dominate some; on any given play, Kawann would show up and make a big play. "But now he's showing up more in practice. If he continues at the pace he's going and gets himself in great shape, he can be a dominant player at his position in our league and on a national level."

So his coach is echoing the consistency thing, which honestly is a comment you could make in some fashion about every prospect. Yet I imagine there is something to that, hence he's a second round pick.

So there is a lot to like about Kawann Short playing for Carolina. He has been very productive in college at a need position, DT. He might be able to play special teams as a FG blocker as well. What might slide him to the 2nd round is some issues about his speed at the line and in pursuit, his motor level throughout a game and his lack of consistency in applying pressure at the point of attack.

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