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Prospect Profiles: Christian Ballard


Triangle Numbers: 6-5, 297, 4.85

Scouting Reports:

Draft Countdown:

• Ideal height and bulk with long arms and big hands
• Athletic with excellent speed, quickness and agility
• Explosive with a burst and able to close in a hurry
• Powerful bull rusher who can re-establish the line
• Naturally strong and is stout at the point of attack
• Active and aggressive with an above average motor
• A hard worker who is committed to improving his game
• Offers plenty of positional / schematic versatility
• Still developing and has not yet maxed out potential
• Durable with lots of experience versus top competition

• Overall instincts and awareness seem to be lacking
• Not a polished technician and doesn’t use hands well
• Must develop additional pass rush moves and counters
• Will often struggle to shed and get off of blocks
• High pad level and must play with better leverage
• Isn’t a reliable tackler and won’t always wrap up
• Wasn’t overly productive or much of a sack artist

Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Versatile, rotates between DE and DT during games… Good height… Athletic… Good speed… Solid pass rusher… Fires off the ball… Explosive… Reasonably good length… Active hands… Very good burst… Holds up reasonably well at the POA… Plays with very solid leverage… Generally stays low and can get under opponent’s pads… Good arsenal of moves… Solid swim and spin moves… Adequate bull rush… Very good bulk… Solid lower body strength… Shoots gaps… Fights through double teams… Good balance… Plays the run well… Very good lateral movement… Can pursue the ball… Makes plays up and down the LOS… Chases the ball to the sidelines well… Makes plays all over the field… Good tackler… Hard hitter… Good effort… Reasonably competitive… Good motor… Well conditioned… Very disciplined… Durable, has not missed a game since the start of the 2008 season… 3-4 DE or 4-3 UT, compares to Tyson Alualu.

Negatives: Inconsistent… Only flashes his ability to dominate… Can be controlled by bigger OGs at POA… Players too upright at times… Can be pushed out of plays… Average anchor… Will miss some arm tackles in traffic.

FF Toolbox:

Although his teammate — defensive end Adrian Clayborn — gets a lot of credit, Ballard is a very special player in his own right. Ballard can play anywhere along the line and is excellent against the run. He uses his strength to blow up running lanes, penetrate into the backfield and get his hands on the ball-carrier. As the draft approaches, some may argue he is the more NFL-ready prospect between he and Clayborn. Ballard’s strength is simply understanding the game. He sticks to his assignment, very quickly reads plays and sniffs out misdirection very easily. He lacks brute strength and instead relies on quickness and good pass-rushing fundamentals. He deploys a well-balanced arsenal of pass-rushing techniques and uses his hands well in space. Though he struggles making tackles in traffic, he does have great tackling technique in wrapping his man.

Ballard gets off the line very quickly and attacks his blocker, always pushing to move upfield. Although he is physically imposing, he relies too heavily on athleticism and will need to strengthen his upper and lower body in order to beat out bigger NFL offensive linemen (especially in the run game). This lack of strength could be trouble for him if employed as a DE in a 3-4 defense.

Ballard projects as a late 2nd to 3rd round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.


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GiantsGab Thoughts:

Christian Ballard seems like the prototypical 4-3 defensive tackle. Quick, athletic, good burst. Has all the physical tools, including great height. A little raw, and will need some seasoning. Can rush the passer pretty well. Still developing, and I don’t think he’s reached his potential. He’s a second round pick. The Giants spent a 2nd round pick on a DT, Linval Joseph, last year. Would they do it again? With Barry Cofield probably leaving to free agency, they should. Ballard can rotate in as a situational pass rusher at first, and then blossom into a nice starter for the rest of his career.


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