Photo of Kentwan Balmer
Grade
?
  • 6'5" Height
  • 298LBS. Weight

Overview

Regarded as the premier defensive lineman in his area coming out of high school, Kentwan Balmer finally lived up to his vast potential as a senior with the Tar Heels.

The former defensive end was shifted to defensive tackle as a junior, but it was not until the arrival of coach Butch Davis that Balmer excelled on the football field. Davis took the talented youngster under his wing and Balmer surpassed his cumulative statistical production from his first three seasons during his final year.

Balmer earned All-Area and All-Conference honors as a junior and senior at Weldon High School. The 2003 Area Defensive Player of the Year helped the team produce three shutouts in their first six games that year. He posted 113 tackles, 12 sacks, eight pass breakups and six fumble recoveries his final campaign. As a junior, he registered 103 tackles, 11 sacks and scored a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery. He was also a member of the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Team.

Balmer enrolled at North Carolina in 2004. The 250-pound right defensive end saw limited action in nine games, coming up with one assisted tackle. As a sophomore, he added more than 30 pounds to his frame and would appear in 11 games. He started the final three contests at right defensive end for an injured Tommy Davis, responding with 17 tackles (eight solo), a sack, five stops for losses and five quarterback pressures. He also deflected one pass.

In 2007, Balmer appeared in 10 games, starting the final eight contests at left defensive tackle. An early season right high ankle sprain forced him to miss the Virginia Tech and Furman clashes and he later re-injured his ankle in the second half vs. Wake Forest. He was in on 16 tackles (14 solo) with 2 1/2 sacks. He added one pressure, as he also blocked two extra point attempts and batted away a pair of passes.

As a senior, Balmer shifted to right defensive tackle. He earned second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference accolades and received the team's James Southerland Award (captain), as he ranked second on the team with 59 tackles (33 solo). He collected 3 1/2 sacks, 9 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage and four pressures.

In 42 games at North Carolina, Balmer started 23 times. He collected 93 tackles (55 solo) with seven sacks for minus-52 yards, 17 stops for losses of 79 total yards and 10 quarterback pressures. He also deflected three passes and blocked a pair of kicks.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has a tall, lean frame with long arms, thick thighs and calves and room to carry at least an additional 20 pounds of bulk without having the additional weight impact his foot speed...Plays with good body lean and, when he keeps his pads down, he is effective at shooting the gaps and generating pursuit in the backfield...Shows a quick initial burst off the snap and is developing counter moves to gain advantage...Is not consistently explosive off the snap, but now uses his upper-body power to contain blockers at the line of scrimmage...Has a much better concept for taking angles now than he did in the past and has the motor (inconsistent, though) to make plays in pursuit working down the line...Has also shown better vision as a senior, doing a nice job of tracking the ball through trash...Shows good functional power in his arms and hands to create separation, shed and maintain balance through the pile...Flashes adequate lower-body power when anchoring to neutralize the combo blocks (needs to continue his lower body development to compete at the next level)...No longer overextends with his hands, keeping them close to his frame and the result has been more efficient ability to wrap and secure ballcarriers on initial contact...Displays good effort in his lateral pursuit, generating a strong jolt behind his hits. Hand punch has become one of his better assets, using it well to push and collapse the pocket...More efficient when he drops his weight and stays low in his stance, as he is much better in his attempts to redirect vs. in-line plays, showing enough acceleration and surge to close on the quarterback (nimble moving his feet when flashing from the backside)...Fires low off the snap and maintains balance well while stacking up the inside running game (good on stunts)...Has a much better understanding of blocking schemes as a senior and showed little hesitation diagnosing the plays to string the action wide...Times his jumps to disrupt the pocket...Has developed strong rip moves to penetrate, locate and flush out the quarterback...Generates a forceful bull rush when he drives with his legs and executes hand swipes to create a surge off the snap...His change-of-direction agility has improved to the point that he can come back fast from the low blocks to jump up and make the tackle...Hits through the blocks, wraps and secures the ballcarrier when tackling, as he displays a good short-area closing burst and also has functional quickness for some long pursuit...When he anchors and plays flat-footed, he is effective at getting into position to make the tackle...Has adequate range and lateral quickness to close on the ball...Seems more comfortable when utilized in a slant stance, showing enough vertical quickness to make plays to his side. Negatives: Has to continue to develop his lower-body strength, as he was efficient vs. isolated blockers as a senior, but struggled to hold his ground vs. double teams...Had a solid senior campaign, but his lack of overall consistency and urgency in his play earlier in his career (looked lethargic late in games) makes one wonder if 2007 was his "coming out party" or a fluke...Has some versatility to get a few snaps at defensive end, but he lacks the ideal explosion and flow to the ball to come off the edge and generate long pursuit (much better taking angles and penetrating in-line)...Has worked hard to keep his pads down, but when he is stood up at the line, he leaves his chest exposed and lacks the leg drive to slip off blocks when the offensive linemen generate movement...When blockers get into his chest, they can drive him off the ball and away from the rush lanes with good success...Much more conscious of keeping his hands within his frame as a senior, but when he swings wildly, he is incapable of playing off blocks...Best when shooting the gaps vs. a free lane, as he does not have the lower-body power to push the pocket consistently (lacks steady explosion when facing blockers and is somewhat slow trying to disengage vs. the double team, as he needs to anchor better to prevent from getting uprooted out of the holes vs. running plays directed right at him)...Must also work on refining his leverage vs. angle and down blocks...Concentration tends to drift and this can result in him being late coming off the snap...Consistency has been lacking from his game, but it is sometimes hidden by his raw talent...When he plays high off the snap in pass-rushing situations, blockers have good success locking on low to ride him out...Has good lateral agility, but will not use it all the time, as he tends to not pursue the ball for distance...Gives up the battle early with the blocker if his initial move does not work...Has developed better work habits, but must be monitored, as he needs to be prodded to do the little extras in the training room and practices...Improved in these areas as a senior, but is still a work in progress. Compares To: FRED ROBBINS-New York Giants...Like Robbins, it took several years before Balmer was able to become a steady contributor. For three seasons at North Carolina, Balmer showed marginal work ethic and there was too much inconsistency in his play. The new UNC coaching staff ignited a passion in his play, but you have to wonder if it is the start of good things to come or just a one-year wonder driven by the prospect of going to the NFL. He needs to develop better lower-body strength, as he struggles vs. double teams, but when he keeps his pads down, he is effective at shooting the gaps and generating pursuit in the backfield. He has a strong hand punch to shock and jolt blockers, evident by his solid play in containing the run in 2007.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
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