AUBURN, ALABAMA - NOVEMBER 25:  Chris Braswell #41 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates their 27-24 win over the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
AUBURN, ALABAMA - NOVEMBER 25: Chris Braswell #41 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates their 27-24 win over the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Chris Braswell Struggled Against Blockers

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TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – NOVEMBER 18: Chris Braswell #41 of the Alabama Crimson Tide lays a hit on Luke Schomburg #17 of the Chattanooga Mocs during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 18, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images)

Last season, Alabama Edge Rusher Chris Braswell grew on me and I had high hopes when I turned on his 2023 game film.

Alas, he’d be great if it weren’t for offensive linemen.

This dude has enough pure brute strength to put Georgia’s right tackle on skates one-handed.

GROWN MAN STRENGTH

But, that’s where the story ended one too many times…

Darn it anyway.

Eventually, he stalls out too soon and it doesn’t translate to serious enough pressure or sack production. I made extra sure by evaluating seven games this past season.

I wanted it more for him than he seemed to want it for himself.

Lingering questions

Heading into 2023, I had a third-round grade on Braswell and walked away with four questions in my mind.

1. Any pass rush moves shown? (Braswell specializes in bull rushes ⎯that’s his thing). Yes, he flashed various pass-rush moves, but he looked like a kid with new toys he didn’t know how to use. Braswell flashed a rip and go, spin, and caveman moves. When I say ‘flashed,’ I saw them each once. So, the meter didn’t move on this one.

2. Number of sacks and pressures? In 2022, Braswell put up 3 sacks and 21 hurries (per Pro Football Focus). This past season, he finished with 8 sacks and 33 hurries. I’ll put a ✓ next to that box.

3. Strong effort consistently? I’ll say ‘most’ of the time. Plus, could take or leave run defense. He loves rushing the passer.

4. How does he look against the run? (See No. 3).

  • 1.5/4 of my questions were answered.

Can’t seem to put it all together

The most frustrating part of evaluating Braswell is he has this natural brute power, good straight-line speed, and even a short-area burst (darts in), but getting him past blockers is like trying to crack a code.

I can’t even count how many times he stalled out on the perimeter both in passing and run situations. Braswell seems raw. He likes to do this thing where he starts a little slower and then deceptively turns on the speed. That caught offensive tackles somewhat off guard.

The tools are there, but the technique is not what it needs to be even at college-level competition, which scares me, because offensive tackles are only bigger, stronger, and faster in the NFL.

Where oh where will he fit in?

Braswell will settle in as a ‘situational’ pass rusher in the NFL who plays special teams. The dude can run to the point he even somehow ended up matching up against the slot receiver against Tennessee on a deep pass thrown into the endzone. He didn’t cover it all that well, but he got there. That was the impressive part.

Braswell is a press leverage speed rusher with vanilla pass-rush moves. He looks a little undersized too. I do not see him as an effective three-down edge. He was a rotational player even at Alabama.

He’s worth a shot as a 3rd down pass rusher.

#41 Chris Braswell 6-foot-3, 255 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s 2024 NFL Draft Grade: Third-Round (I would select him)

Projected by 12.7% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of February 22, 2024 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

Chris Braswell: Talented but Raw (5 games evaluated)

2023 game film reviewed: LSU, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Michigan, and Georgia (click to view games watched to form this evaluation).

2023 stats: 42 tackles, 16 solo (26 assists), 8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 1 interception

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Underdeveloped opportunistic pesky pass-rush specialist with power and speed. Wavering effort. Long arms. Lines up standing up and with his hand down in the dirt. Tests both sides. Often gets a running start into offensive tackles at the point of attack in an upright position (gets more power from the up position). Arching lower back lined up in down position. Uses his hands and tends to get serious movement bull rushing, but not enough. Authoritative. Active. Lacks bend. Some tightness in movements. Not naturally explosive at the point. Good close once freed up. Not that motivated in the run game. Can come in too high on tackles and blow it. Struggles to win in the trenches.

Final words

Traits didn’t equate.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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