Photo of Michael Buchanan
Drafted By: Patriots

Combine Results

Grade
69.5 ?
  • 4.78 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 22 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 33.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 113.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6.91 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.44 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"Buchanan had a strong 2011 season, but then former teammate Whitney Mercilus left for the NFL last year, and Buchanan took a bit of a step back. He's got the size, speed and athletic ability to rush the passer." -- Gil Brandt

  • 6'5" Height
  • 34" Arm Length
  • 255LBS. Weight
  • 9 7/8" Hands

Overview

Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus climbed up NCAA statistical charts in 2011, eventually leading the nation with 16 sacks and ending up a first-round pick for the Houston Texans in April. But while watching Mercilus, scouts couldn't help but notice Buchanan, the "other" athletic defensive end making life difficult for opposing offenses.


Big Ten coaches named the lanky Illinois native second-team all-conference in his break-out 2011 season (64 tackles, 13.5 for loss, 7.5 sacks), and he finished the year with four tackles and a sack against UCLA in the team's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl win. It was the second consecutive year Buchanan played well in a bowl victory, as he assisted on three tackles for loss (one a sack) against Baylor in the 2010 Texas Bowl. He started eight games and totaled 40 tackles, 4.5 for loss and two sacks that season, one year after playing a limited role in 10 games as a true freshman.


After his fantastic junior campaign (where he often looked better than Mercilus), Buchanan was projected as a player who could work himself into the top half of the first round with some refinement, added bulk, and a good senior season. Over the summer Buchanan was involved in an altercation that left him with a broken jaw that was wired shut for a week. The all-liquid diet he was on caused him to lose around twenty pounds before the season started -- unfortunate because gaining weight and strength was a high priority for him. The result led to a disappointing year in which he looked lethargic and struggled to disengage from offensive tackles. His statistical production dropped (57 tackles, seven for loss, 4.5 sacks), but he still received honorable mention All-Conference honors. While Buchanan didn't look like the same player that terrorized the Big Ten in 2011, he still showed flashes of being an excellent pass rusher, and a strong postseason could see his stock rebounding.

Analysis

Strengths

Nice height and length for the position. Excellent first step, covers a lot of ground with his long strides off the edge. Can run the arc and flashes the flexibility to turn the corner. Swats offensive tackles' hands off his body to get separation after his first step. Times his spin move up well. Has showed good motor to get secondary rushes and chase ballcarriers downfield. Flashes the ability to lock onto his man's chest and use his long arms and churning feet to bull him back. Effective at linebacker, locks up tight ends off the line and shows some the hip-fluidity and agility to play in coverage. Works inside on twists and as a stand-up blitzer, fights through gaps to harass the quarterback.

Weaknesses

Very lean build and lost twenty pounds before the season due to having his jaw wired shut after a fight in June. Lacks upper-body strength to get off NFL-caliber blockers and push aside defenders in close quarters. Lunging tackler, ballcarriers can run through his diving arm tackle attempts. Very upright playing style. Has major leverage issues due to getting tall right out of his stance. Struggles to anchor against better tackles in the run game, gives good effort but gets pushed off the line. Height makes him susceptible to cut blocks, does not recover quickly. Does not have pass rush moves and struggles to disengage once blockers get their hands on him. Needs to do a better job finding the ball against the run. Misses a lot of close sacks and gets run upfield too often.

NFL Comparison

Kamerion Wimbley

Bottom Line

This extremely lean edge defender needs to get bigger and stronger, but he flashes violent hands on the edge, covers a lot of ground off the edge, has one of the better first steps in the class and has shown good motor as a pass-rushing defensive end (7.5 sacks in 2011). Not to mention, he can handle short-area coverage responsibilities when asked to stand up as a linebacker. That sort of scheme versatility will be valued by NFL teams, but they need to get to find the cause of his poor senior season. His 2012 film suggests he’d be nothing more than a mid-round project, but his lethargic play and struggles disengaging could have been due to losing so much weight before the season started. A strong season could see his stock rebounding back into the second round.
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Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.

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