After transferring to TCU from Louisiana Monroe, Ben Banogu made an immediate impact for the Horned Frogs with 8.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. After flirting with declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft, Banogu returned to TCU for his final year of eligibility and enters the 2018 season as one of the top senior pass rushers. Here is a look at what Banogu does well, what his concerns are and overall outlook transitioning to the NFL.
What Ben Banogu Does Well
— NFL Draft Geek (@NFLDraftGeek) August 15, 2018
Playing the left defensive end position for TCU’s 4-3 defense, Banogu uses his smooth athletic ability to thwart offensive tackles. Because Banogu can change direction smoothly and shows good burst/quickness he’s at his best attacking downhill trying to disrupt the play by creating penetration. Against the run he stays active bouncing back and forth utilizing his lateral quickness before reading the ball and making a move. As a pass rusher Banogu utilizes that same change of direction and burst to get around offensive tackles in route to the quarterback. Bangou does look to beat the right tackle to the edge with speed and then use his ankle flexibility to turn the corner around the tackle. Against Oklahoma he got pressure by using an inside/out lateral cut to leave the tackle in the dust forcing the quarterback out of the pocket.
Concerns about Ben Banogu
The biggest concern about Banogu is he can get pushed around too much. Against the run he has to stay active and avoid offensive lineman getting their hands on him because when they do he can get pushed off his spot a couple of yards. As a pass rusher while he’s able to get to the edge of offensive tackles he can get pushed past the pocket preventing him from getting hits or sacks that he should. Improving his strength will help, but Banogu needs to improve his hand usage if he wants to reach is full potential.
Combining both athletic ability and sack production and it’s no surprise that he has gotten some first round buzz. Banogu is best suited to play in space where he can run free and use his ability to change direction to his advantage. Whether that is as a 3-4 outside linebacker or even as a stacked linebacker he can run and attack at the ball. While I could see him playing an Anthony Barr style role in a 4-3, the best situation for him is as a 3-4 outside linebacker because it will fully utilize his ability to rush the passer and help stop the run on the edge. Far too many prospects have failed in the NFL because they were drafted on potential and lacked pass rushing skills. For Banogu to reach his full potential he has to improve his hand usage and pass rushing moves.