Trait #1: Active Run Defender
The first thing that stands out about Biegel’s game is that he’s very active against the run. He shows good awareness and play recognition and constantly puts himself in position to make stops.
He’s particularly effective on the edge and near the line of scrimmage, which is promising for his potential as a next-level defender.
While at times college linebackers or edge defenders can make a living making stops a few yards off the line of scrimmage, Biegel does a nice job holding the point of attack and even getting into the backfield to disrupt the offense.
Take this first clip, for instance. This is the opening play in Wisconsin’s game against Nebraska from Biegel’s junior season. Biegel is in a two-point stance as an outside linebacker in the Badgers’ 3-4 over front, and once the ball is snapped, he instantly recognizes the motioning receiver, anticipates the outside run, and fires out of his stance to take on the tight end as he pulls to the outside.
Biegel shows good knee bend, arm extension, and pad level to win leverage, hold his ground, and then shed the block at the right moment to make the stop. It’s an impressive play that really showcases Biegel’s awareness and ability to hold the point of attack against the run.
Although he’s not the biggest edge defender at 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds, Biegel is a tenacious player in the trenches. He even played with his hand in the dirt in a three-point stance at times in college.
In this next example, Biegel is lined up as a 4i defensive end. This is an inside run play, but watch as the tackle steps toward Biegel to wash him out of the play how well Biegel stands his ground, wins with leverage, and sheds the block to make the stop at the line of scrimmage.
Biegel breaks free and clogs the rushing lane, but when the halfback tries to bounce the run to the outside, Biegel quickly reacts and wraps him up before the back can break free.
The former Wisconsin linebacker is a tough run defender, but his best attribute in this part of the game may be his ability to chase down ball carriers in backside pursuit.
This following play is from Biegel’s game against Northwestern. He’s lined up over the right tackle, but as the Wildcats pull to the left, Biegel does a nice job firing off the line to track down the ball carrier from behind.
Biegel shows excellent hustle to make the tackle for loss, but the play also shows his straight-line speed and ability to make plays in pursuit.
Plays like this one are common for Biegel’s film, and between the burst out of his stance and his ability to run down ball carriers off the edge Biegel’s game reminds me at times of a young Clay Matthews.
Their aggressive playing styles and athletic profiles are certainly similar.