Consensus No. 1 defensive end recruit in the nation coming out of California. Played all 13 games as a true freshman in 2010 (one start at strong-side linebacker) and tallied 26 tackles, three for loss and a sack with two pass breakups. Started 12 games at the Buck (hybrid defensive end/linebacker) in '11 and totaled 32-9-6 with a forced fumble. Suffered an upper-body injury against LSU and sat out against Auburn. Sat out the '12 season when he tore his left ACL twice. Started 8-of-11 games played in '13 -- six at the Buck, two at Sam -- and managed 26-7-4. Did not start against Tennessee, then sprained his ankle against LSU, which kept him out of the Missouri contest and kept him out of the starting lineup against Georgia and Vanderbilt. Strained his left hamstring running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and did not participate in drills or run shuttles and the 3-cone drill.
Looks the part -- well-proportioned, athletic, muscular build. Natural bender. Terrific agility. Can stunt and loop. Closes fast. Flashes strong hands and power potential. Loose hips to zone drop. Was deployed as a stand-up linebacker and hand-in-the-dirt rush end. Has untapped potential.
Inconsistent get-off. Average eyes and instincts -- has to see it before he triggers. Shoddy edge setter. Plays short-armed, gets locked up and allows linemen to capture his outside shoulder. Aimless, unrefined pass rusher. Intensity and urgency leave something to be desired. Has coasted on natural talent. Had his tires pumped since high school -- entitlement was an issue as a young player and his personality could rub some people the wrong way. Injury history.
Powell is a physically gifted, inconsistent, college Buck 'backer with crude strength and athleticism. Has developmental value as a stand-up rush linebacker, but must dedicate himself to the craft and realize he's no longer the big man on campus.