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Steel City Underground Editor Eric Herrmann sat down with former TCU outdoors linebacker Ben Banogu in this exclusive interview.

Ben Banogu is an edge rusher from TCU who is drawing a lot of interest about the NFL. He has all the athleticism teams want and believes he has the highest ceiling amongst all defensive lineman in the draft.

Banogu loves becoming a pass rusher and has no lack of self-confidence in his skills. He has the mindset you want in a player who will be fighting in the trenches.

“It is the thrill of hunting a thing down. There’s absolutely nothing improved than realizing you have an objective, that is acquiring to the ball or acquiring to the quarterback, and just the thrill of somebody attempting to cease you from acquiring there. Like you are hunting down your prey, or in military terms, invading someone’s land and taking more than.

That is the greatest point, when somebody is attempting to cease you from acquiring to exactly where you require to go and you know you can kick their ass.”

At TCU, the players are taught additional scheme than strategy. This explains why some of the typical knocks once again Banogu involve polish and lack of strategy. He has all the tools and perform ethic teams want, he just requires the correct coaching employees to unlock his ideal game.

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Typically Banogu relied on watching film of his preferred pass rushers to find out moves.

“I grew up watching Von Miller, that is my guy I watched the most. I watch Khalil Mack as nicely, Dee Ford is a current guy that has my make so I watch him, Frank Clark from Seattle I watched him as well. So guys that kinda match my mold and my frame and I attempt to emulate the moves they do. The double swipe I got from Von and the spin move was basically a Dwight Freeny move, given that he’s the ideal spin move guy out there – he’s not my mold but it really is a thing I like and I attempt to incorporate into my game.”

His lack of polish does not imply that Banogu didn’t place the perform in to prepare for his opponents. He would often evaluate his upcoming opponents and prepare a method for his pass rushing.

“Based on who I was going against my approach was a small various. If it was a guy that was additional athletic that could seriously kick and use his athleticism to get back then I would use additional of my counter moves, spin moves, swiping inside. If he was a larger guy and relied additional on strength and his arms then I’d attempt and use my speed and get about him. A lot of guys are various so you just have to figure out their tendencies no matter whether that is watching film, or soon after a couple reps of going against him you figure him out. But you attempt and get to know them just before a game.”

When he has an array of moves he applied, Banogu does have a preferred move he likes to use against linemen.

“I’m a huge into the swipe, double swipe and my counters would go off that, like my spin move. These are the two moves I hang my hat on each of them are primarily based on speed.”

Banogu also touched about the nuances of TCU’s defense and the course of action of preparing his attack.

“We have been a study and react defense. on passing downs I’d currently have a set move that I was gonna use but based on what he gave me it would surely dictate what I would do. You kinda get a really feel for what move are gonna perform and are not gonna perform against a guy.”

In a study and react defense, the edge rushers duty is setting the edge based on what the offensive tackle does. So fundamentally, Banogu would study the offensive lineman and then react accordingly.

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Beyond pass rushing, modern day linebackers are also applied in coverage – in particular in a three-four program like the Steelers use. As we’ve observed with T.J. Watt, edge rushers are applied to drop into coverage and even play inside linebacker at occasions. With his athleticism, Banogu is confident in his coverage abilities.

“Teams have been functioning me out watching me drop into coverage. At TCU we have been asked to do coverage as well, not as substantially as an every single-down linebacker would but sufficient exactly where coaches to have film to appear at. And if they go appear they’d see that I was seriously excellent with all my drops. I can close in space, I was step for step with operating backs – for us we have been mainly dropping into flats. They asked us to do a lot at TCU and anytime my name got named upon to cover it was fairly fluid.

Teams are seeing that and they like what saw, that is why I’ve been acquiring additional perform at dropping so they can see ‘how substantially can you seriously do’ and ‘if he can do as substantially as we think’ and that was my greatest point going into the draft course of action, displaying teams I can play linebacker and I can rush the passer”

Banogu also had the chance to showcase his skills at this year’s senior bowl. The occasion gave him an chance for coaches to place him by way of the ringer and see what all he can do.

“My greatest point from the senior bowl was that I wanted to show them I could play about anyplace, I wanted to show I was prepared to attempt new points. They place me at off-ball linebacker in sub packages, so for me it was me becoming vulnerable and displaying them I am prepared to attempt something and I can make swift progress diagnosing ideas and facts at a higher price.

I feel teams and coaches saw that and came away seriously impressed. Each time I speak to a group they bring up the senior bowl and my willingness to attempt new point and capability to course of action facts quick, and they can see in my physique movements that linebacker, dropping into coverage, and rushing the passer, that even although I wasn’t taught the strategy stuff at TCU I can do them seriously nicely and have a lot of space to develop.”

The Steelers have clearly liked what they’ve observed of Banogu by way of his tape, his fantastic combine efficiency, and the senior bowl. So substantially that he was brought in for a pre-draft go to on April 8th, providing the group an chance to get to know him additional as a individual.

“I feel the go to went fairly nicely, they have been speaking to me about the position that TJ Watt plays and I met with the linebackers coach, specific teams coach, defensive line coach, met with Tomlin and the GM, and seriously just touched primarily based with every person. When it came to speaking about me as a individual I feel I knocked that out of the park and when speaking about schemes and every little thing they saw that I was an intelligent player.”

When he is not overly familiar with Pittsburgh, Banogu described how he could really feel the nicely-recognized blue-collar vibe of the city in the course of his go to.

“I worked out at the Cowboys facility as well, but with the Steelers it was various in the truth that their facility was additional industrial, it type of had a blue collar really feel to it. And the folks I met replicated that. Like you could so how every little thing was constructed and every person meshed nicely. You could see every person was type of blue collar and had a regular of winning and the guys I met you could seriously see that in the way they speak and speak about Steelers nation. I was seriously impressed speaking with them and when I was leaving I was like ‘man, I kinda wanna be a Steeler’ it was cool, I loved the atmosphere.”

One particular of the most essential elements of the pre-draft course of action is mastering about a person’s character. When it is naturally essential to evaluate their capability on the field, it is vital to assess their demeanor and if they are a match for the locker space and culture.

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Banogu is confident he meets these criteria and would elevate any group that drafts him.

“Teams are gonna get a guy that is 1st off a leader, a do-correct guy that when you place him on the field or in the film space he’s gonna make everyone else about him improved – I feel that is the greatest point that teams appear for. How can you make your organization improved, how can you make your group improved, and that is not just on the field but off the field.

I feel they are going to get a higher character guy that has relentless motor on the field and that in all probability has the highest ceiling in the draft – I really feel like I have the highest ceiling in the draft amongst all the d-lineman and edge guys. So I really feel like the group that drafts me is gonna get a guy that three-four years, even in two years perhaps, will be one particular of the improved pass rushers in the class, or even in the league”

Banogu undoubtedly is not quick on self-confidence. He’s a player that believes in himself and that belief is a thing he feels is what has brought him this far in his profession.

“Finest guidance I ever got was often bet on oneself. I really feel like a lot of occasions you get into a mindset that you are often comparing oneself to somebody. But the greatest point is taking care of oneself and becoming the ideal player you can be, possessing the self-confidence to go out there and do all the points you want to do. And if you are not confident in oneself, you never think in oneself, who else will?”

Banogu would be a best match for the Steelers. Beyond his athleticism and possible, he has the sort of character the group desires in their locker space. His alpha mentality is clear, and although he is oozing self-confidence, he is nevertheless a prepared student who is conscious of how substantially perform it will take to attain his possible.

The comparison created to T.J. Watt in the course of his go to tends to make sense taking into consideration Banogu’s versatility. He has the athleticism necessary to play that sort of part in this defense, all he requires is the correct coaching. Offered the Steelers lack of edge depths and Bud Dupree’s uncertain future, Banogu would be a best choice. He’s conscious that he requires time to create, and if drafted, he surely has the possible to be beginning in the future.

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