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2014 NFL Draft: Brent Urban Draft Profile

Once seen as barely a fringe NFL prospect, Urban has shot up draft boards over the past few months. It began with a strong senior season and a great Senior Bowl experience. He has an injury history, which will scare teams off, but most of the injuries have been freak things, not chronic. He's likely to be drafted on Day 2, in either the 2nd or 3rd round.

Urban's reach and ability to get into passing lanes could be his ticket to the NFL.
Urban's reach and ability to get into passing lanes could be his ticket to the NFL.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Urban
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 295
Age: 23

Urban didn't participate in the NFL Combine or, really, the UVA pro day. He had surgery on his ankle in February and wasn't fully recovered. He did play at the senior bowl before undergoing the surgery. This is where Urban's draft stock began to rise. Once seen as a fringe NFL prospect, Urban was being discussed as a potential 2nd or 3rd round pick. Scouts began to see his length and reach as a big strength. While Urban had seen almost all of his playing time as a 4-3 DT, he had some experience playing 3-4 DE, even if it was only in practice. That versatility helps his NFL stock.

Urban expects to be fully ready and 100% healthy going into the NFL season. He should even be ready for NFL rookie minicamps in July.

Urban was initially recruited as a 3-4 DE for Al Groh out of Ontario, Canada. He had great size, but was still raw. He redshirted a year and then Mike London came to UVA and the 3-4 was no more. Urban played sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2010, appearing in 3 games and just 13 plays. In 2011, Urban played in every game, seeing time at both DE and DT. He was still a part time player though. He compiled 15 tackles including 2.5 TFLs. Urban began coming into his own as a junior. He started all 12 games, had 20 tackles, including 2.5 TFLs and 2 sacks. He also had 2 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble and a fumble return TD against Virginia Tech. He saw most of his time at DT, but he was still in a rotation and was also seeing some time at DE.

Coming into his senior season, Urban turned a corner. He became a team leader on the defense. He sured up his spot as a starting DT, and he began dominating at the point of attack. Unfortunately, an injury forced him to miss 4 games. In the 8 games he played, he had 40 tackles, including 11.5 for loss. He had 1 sack and 9 passes defensed (yeah, 9!). He also blocked a kick.

Urban's height isn't always seen as a strength. NFL teams don't want their DTs to be so tall. Tall players have a higher center-of-gravity, which makes it easier for OLs to get leverage. A smaller, stouter DT is going to be able to hold his ground better against run blocking OLs. Urban's height, however, is a plus against passing teams. He can get into passing lanes and he can knock passes down. His long arms also prevent OLs from getting too close and locking on him. By keeping his blocker an arm's length away, he gives himself a better chance of disengaging from the block to make a play.

Brent is still a bit raw. He has a lot of potential, but is still putting things together. He's very quick off the snap, but can get too high too quickly. That quickness can also be used against him, especially on running plays. His height makes him susceptible to cut blocks, and he struggles to avoid those types of blocks. As a DT, Brent is a little bit undersized. This is why some scouts prefer him as a 3-4 DE in a "5-technique". A "5-technique" is a two-gap DE in a 3-4 system who lines up directly opposite the OT. This means the player is responsible for both the ‘B' gap (between the OG and OT) and the ‘C' gap, between the LT and a possible TE (if there is no TE, then the ‘C' gap is just the outside shoulder of the OT).

As a 4-3 DT, Urban would likely be lining up in a "3-technique", which means lining up on the outside shoulder of the OG. This is an easier position to play, because your responsibility is simply to beat the OG to a spot, getting quick penetration into the backfield. Urban did that very well this year. The problem with Urban in a "3-technique" is that he'll often be giving up 30+ pounds to interior OLs. Also, as previously mentioned, teams will use his quickness against him with delayed draws or trap plays, running into his vacated spot. As a "5-technique", he'll have to be more patient, which could play into his strengths. Urban's quickness means he could even slide inside as a 3-4 NT in passing situations. His ability to get penetration through the ‘A' gap (between the OC and OG) means that he could potentially disrupt a passing play very quickly by getting into the QBs face.

It will be interesting to see where he is drafted. It seems like most scouts see him as a better fit in a 3-4 defense. But, again, all it takes is one team to think he's a 4-3 DT. He's more likely to help a 4-3 team right away, because that is where his experience lies. However, a 3-4 team that has depth on their DL could ease him in, using him in certain situations while he gets up to speed on playing two gaps. Wherever he is drafted, he'll be used on kick block units, because his height and reach make him a threat to block kicks.

The further you get into the draft, the more unknowns there are. That makes predicting things much harder. There's a number of 3-4 teams in the latter part of the 2nd round (New England, San Francisco, and Indianapolis). All 3 of those teams have depth on their DLs and could ease Urban in. The top 2 picks in the 3rd round are also 3-4 teams (Houston and Washington). I think Urban will go to one of those teams either at the end of the 2nd round or the beginning of the 3rd round. But again, that is basically a stab-in-the-dark.