2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jonathan Bullard
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: One of 2015's best defenses was what the Gators fielded, and Bullard was their best defensive lineman. All year long, he was a disruptive presence as he was very tough against the run and got pressure on the quarterback.
Bullard totaled 66 tackles with 17.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks and two passes batted in 2015. He was one of the SEC's best run defenders on the defensive line and demonstrated the ability to rush well from the inside. In 2014, Bullard totaled 52 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and two passes batted, coming on strong late in the season. He showed nice versatility to line up as an end and tackle over his time at Florida.
As a run defender, Bullard doesn't have a lot of weight to stop runs coming downhill at him, and quality lineman can push him back sometimes. However, he is strong for his size and is skilled at shedding blocks to make tackles near the line of scrimmage. Bullard has a nice burst to close on the ball-carrier and make stops outside of his gap. He also is dangerous to fire upfield and disrupt runs in the backfield. Bullard really improved his run defense as a senior. He has an excellent motor and made some plays based off a second effort.
In the pass rush, Bullard has the ability to fire his gap. He has the strength to shed blocks and is able to close quickly on the quarterback. He can line up over the outside shoulder of the guard and is good at getting penetration into the pocket. Bullard also can beat right tackles with speed around the edge. He has a nice lean and ability to sink his hips toward the quarterback. Bullard could be a nice asset to line up over a variety of offensive lineman and go after the quarterback. He may never produce huge sack numbers in the NFL, but he should be a quality pass-rusher who contributes as a three-down defender.
Teams really like Bullard as a player, but scheme fit and size concerns could push him into the second round. At 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, sources from 3-4 teams say he lacks the length they like in 3-4 defensive ends. They think they could get away with Bullard there, but it isn't an ideal fit. Teams that run a 4-3 feel Bullard would be an end on run downs and move inside in passing situations. From a variety of teams, scouts say that being a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 could be Bullard's best fit. With those scheme issues, it leads sources to label Bullard as a bit of a tweener. Even contacts on the Gators coaching staff said it was a challenge for a time for them to figure out how best to utilize Bullard. Still, sources said he has very good tape and often makes a play that gets them to say, "Wow!"
Off the field, sources say that Bullard is a good kid. He's confident, but not cocky, and is a hard worker.
One thing working in Bullard's favor is teams don't see 32 first-rounders in this draft. Thus, some players with second-round grades are going to be selected on Thursday night. Bullard could be one of those players, but in surveying five teams, they all had a second-round grade on Bullard. In the 2016 NFL Draft, Bullard should be a late first- or second-round pick.
Player Comparison: Michael Bennett. Bullard's game and skill set remind me of Bennett. Both are able to play end on run downs and move inside in passing situations. Bennett (6-4, 274) is a good pass-rusher with quickness, functional strength, and effort. He is very good at taking on right tackles and guards. I think Bullard could be similar in the NFL.
NFL Matches: Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, New Orleans, Buffalo, Washington, Cincinnati, Arizona, Seattle and Denver
Seattle could use an interior disruptor, and Bullard has graded out high in the organization's SPARQ system. Brandon Mebane left in free agency, and the Seahawks already had problems with a lack of interior pass rush once injuries would hit their defense. Bullard looks like a perfect fit for what the team targets.
The Ravens cut Chris Canty and lost Haloti Ngata last offseason. Bullard could be a fit as a five-technique at the top of the second round if Baltimore misses out, or passes, on DeForest Buckner in Round 1.
The Saints have to upgrade their defense, especially against the pass. Bullard would give them an interior pass-rusher to pair with Nick Fairley.
The Lions need to upgrade their defensive tackles. Bullard would give them an interior defender to pressure the quarterback and could be a nice defender to pair with Ziggy Ansah.
Kyle Williams is aging for Buffalo, and the Bills could easily address their front seven this offseason. Bullard could form a nice tandem with Marcel Dareus.
Cincinnati could be a fit and could use another tackle to complement Geno Atkins. Brandon Thompson and Devon Still didn't turn into starters, while Domata Peko is aging and declining. Bullard would be a nice fit for the Bengals as an end on run downs and an interior rusher next to Atkins in passing situations. Bullard also would give Cincinnati a backup three-technique.
Bullard could also be in play for the Cardinals. They have to replace Darnell Dockett. Arizona wants to improve its pass rush this offseason, and Bullard would help that.
The Redskins want to get younger and more athletic up front. Bullard could be a five technique in their 3-4, and be a three-technique in their 4-3. He would provide nice flexibility for Joe Barry.
Denver locked up Derek Wolfe, but lost Malik Jackson. Sources say the Broncos will be looking hard at defensive line talent in the first round. Bullard could be a fit for the Super Bowl champs.
2016 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie's | Walt's
2016 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings
2016 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
2023 NFL Mock Draft - March 24
2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 19
NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 17
NFL Picks - Feb. 14
Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 7
© 1999-2023 Walter Cherepinsky : all rights reserved
2 5 9
2 5 9