Training Camp thoughts: Bronson Kaufusi to Outside Linebacker?
The Ravens could be looking at putting Bronson Kaufusi in the mix at outside linebacker, but would a position change behoove him and the team?
Bronson Kaufusi was a third round pick in 2016 and he still hasn’t produced much at all for the Baltimore Ravens. Kaufusi got a bad break (literally and figuratively) and a broken leg kept him off the field in his rookie campaign. 2017 wasn’t a great season for the former BYU Cougar. He was in on five tackles, which is nothing to write home about.
Kaufusi has the physical traits that would make any scout drool. He’s a 6’6″ 285 pound man with long arms, and long strides. The Ravens drafting him in the third round made sense on paper. In his senior season, he had 63 tackles and 19.5 of them were in the backfield. Kaufusi racked up 25 sacks in his collegiate career.
Kaufusi was thought to be a very versatile player coming into the league. In addition to his success on the football field, he also played a little basketball at BYU. He seemed like a well rounded player and a natural athlete. The Ravens may not be willing to give up on Kaufusi because of these traits. What if he gets it together and lives up to his potential.
Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweeted from Ravens training camp, that Bronson Kaufusi was taking snaps at outside linebacker.
It’s unclear if the Ravens are moving Kaufusi to outside linebacker or they’re just trying it out. The Ravens outside linebacker room is starting to look like a small elevator with little to no breathing space. Terrell Suggs, Matt Judon, Za’Darius Smith, Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams and even Kamalei Correa are outside linebackers.
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Suggs and Judon are the leaders of the pack. Bowser was a second round pick last year, and the Ravens are going to be invested in his success. Smith is a veteran who has proven to be an effective pass rusher when he’s healthy. Who knows what you’re going to get from Williams and Correa, but they’re part of the bunch too.
As mentioned before, Kaufusi has the traits that make things possible for him. His length as an outside linebacker would do him a lot of favors. The key here is getting him used to the mechanics of the position. The one good thing for Kaufusi is like Correa was at Boise State, Kaufusi was more of a hybrid edge player at BYU. He was sort of a linebacker and sort of a defensive end.
One problem Kaufusi has had as a defensive lineman is pad level. He tends to play too high, which may be a function of the way he is built. When he has a hand on the ground, he has to explode off the snap of the football without springing completely upright. Standing up, he may be able to control his pad level better and he could have a more explosive first step.
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Kaufusi is a player to keep an eye on. He hasn’t been healthy, and that has hindered his career. If he can stay available to the Ravens, he could develop into a decent player. He has to find his way to contribute. Outside linebacker may actually make the most sense for him, especially because he’s got a leaner frame than most 3-4 defensive ends. The challenge for Kaufusi is the heavy stack of players the Ravens have at the outside linebacker positions. Kaufusi has to make a strong impression in training camp regardless of the position he plays.