Brandon Dorlus, DT, Oregon | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Brandon Dorlus, DT, Oregon | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Versatility is the name of the game in the modern NFL, and Oregon DT brings Brandon Dorlus more than most with his 2023 NFL Draft Scouting report. What is the book about Dorlus and where does he settle in this cycle?

Brandon Dorlus NFL draft profile

  • Position: Defensive lineman
  • School: Oregon
  • Present year: Senior
  • Height Weight: 6’3″, 290 pounds

There’s a reason for the recruitment ranking system and there’s a reason for each player’s star label. But like all human processes, this one is imperfect. If you need more proof, check out Dorlus in the Class of 2019.

Dorlus was just a three-star recruit from Deerfield Beach High School, despite amassing 11 sacks and 27 tackles from losses in his senior season. He first signed with the Virginia Tech Hokies in August 2018, but stepped away later that year when Oregon showed interest.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

Dorlus eventually signed with the Ducks and immediately began topping his recruiting rankings. He was a permanent rotation member for his first two seasons and broke out in 2021 with seven losses and 2.5 sacks as a top-ranked defensive play.

In 2022, Dorlus matched and exceeded the previous year’s production with nine tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He received All-Pac-12 honors in both years and effectively established himself on the 2023 NFL draft stage.

Brandon Dorlus scouting report

Dorlus has been one of the Pac-12’s most prolific defenders for two straight seasons. Now he will try to take this production to the professional level.

Dorlus’ strengths

Standing approximately 6ft 3in tall, Dorlus weighs 290lbs and has a dense, compact frame with excellent proportional length. He’s lighter than the average centre-back, but his unique physique allows him exciting alignment versatility. He can play as a stand-up rusher or with his hand in the dirt from 2i-tech to 5-tech.

Within this form, Dorlus is an explosive athlete who arms up with little effort outside of tackles. He can accelerate quickly and bring momentum into contact, and he brings flashes of almost elite linear closing into the backfield. The Oregon DT can overwhelm QBs with sudden long strider explosiveness and open up its stride to add to the acceleration in the pursuit.

Along with its linear explosiveness, Dorlus brings excellent lateral maneuverability. His lateral breakout of the line can be very difficult to match, as he can quickly dodge blockers off the snap and gain angular advantage. He also has the lateral freedom to pretend to work outwards across the face and back backwards, closing reps with ribs and ankle flexion.

Dorlus’ overall directional change profile isn’t exactly elite, but he displays great foot speed and has the lateral twitches to shake through gaps while maintaining top field acceleration. With more control in his game, there’s reason to believe Dorlus can unleash more potential.

Dorlus’ combination of high-end explosiveness, proportionate length and density results in exceptional raw power capacity. He flashes rare knockback power upon first contact with his hands. Even when improperly loaded, the Oregon DT can crowd out tackles with brute power and aggression. He’s also flashed the ability to maximize power with full extensions and back-to-back hip rotations, and top-stack strength lifts.

Despite his lighter physique, Dorlus has enough power to squeeze through gaps on the move and make his way into the backcourt. The Oregon DT quickly snaps anchors and splices past edge blockers and has the power to quickly stack tight ends and drop outside. On the inside, too, he’s shown to violently release the snap and use his strength and lower-body strength to push back side blockers.

On his best reps, Dorlus’ natural acquisition of leverage allows him to fully channel his strength and power. Dorlus can gain leverage and align mid-reps to stop the shift and anchor with his length. Especially on run defense, he’s adept at lowering his pads, getting under his opponents, and gaining superior leverage.

Dorlus works as a run defender, but as you’d expect from one of the Pac-12’s most prolific pressure generators, his pass rushing on the upside is just as exciting. We found Dorlus to be explosive, powerful and agile. He’s also a consistently combative rusher, able to manipulate blockers and stack moves in quick succession.

Brandon Dorlus
09/10/2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks defensive end Brandon Dorlus (3) charges into Eastern Washington Eagles quarterback Gunner Talkington (2) in the second half at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Most notably, Dorlus has shown that he can reach into the torso and attack the outside shoulder with outside power. He can then stack rip moves and smash his way into the bag.

In addition, he can use his violent hands to quickly lift outside swimmers against tackles and carve his way into space. When performing stunts, Dorlus uses his length to keep clean and back into pursuit lanes, where he can then activate his final thrust.

Additionally, Dorlus can use a stutter double swipe combo inside to oust guards, as well as a cross chop club. He can also perform an outward cross-chop rip and a counter to the B-gap. To that end, Dorlus effectively plows blockers out of place with powerful long arms, then deflects course – unleashing rushes with his near-elite power capacity.

All of this speaks to Dorlus’ destructive potential and the breadth of his arsenal to pass, but he’s not just a cop in a china shop. Dorlus flashes his hands and lures blockers into extending early, then swipes and deconstructs. He can also get skinny and swim vehemently through gaps. Dorlus can also offset blockers with his initial rushing angles, using his lateral mobility as a boon.

Dorlus is a high-motor rusher who consistently fights through contact and churning his legs, proactively using his length to make QBs uncomfortable. But his bend also allows him to finish reps.

The Oregon DT shows impressive ankle flexion when reaching the apex from the edge. This flex allows Dorlus to pivot tightly around blocks and engage in pursuit, as well as opening up his stride and increasing his acceleration around the apex while reducing his surface area.

It tracks that when chasing, Dorlus is an energetic defender who constantly struggles to hinder the ball carrier. Even when he’s down, he’ll reach his length and use it to redirect players. When hunting, its length, burst, and wingspan make it difficult to avoid its reach in the backfield, and it displays great anti-flight instincts.

The Oregon DT holds its position and bats through jams to swallow runners.

Areas of improvement for Dorlus

While Dorlus has exceptional explosiveness and lateral maneuverability for a centre-back, each trait can mean a step down from the elite. The Oregon DT doesn’t have an elite first step and often benefits from having room to open up their steps and load power.

In addition, with its relatively high-cut frame, Dorlus experiences slight delays when changing direction in open space. Not always able to drop his hips and pinch tight angles, he sometimes plays stiff and erect.

Dorlus’ high-cut frame also sometimes causes flexibility and leverage issues. He sometimes has trouble rotating his hips quickly when patrolling gaps in running defense and can’t always roll his hips up past blockers after edging away with initial pass rushing moves.

Sometimes Dorlus will rear up too far on contact, negating his base and limiting his ability to drive power through blocks. Similarly, he could sometimes benefit from better alignment to fully utilize his base behind power efforts and maximize performance.

Overall, Dorlus has a hard time managing leverage and alignment through back-to-back pass rushing moves, and is much more natural at gaining leverage as a pass rusher from inside three- and four-point stances.

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While Dorlus brings violent and combative hands, he can hone his skills even further in this phase. His hand placement could be more precise and targeted on side charges. The Oregon DT isn’t always able to line up properly through contact work on sloping trails.

Similarly, Dorlus doesn’t always grab his hands when working to the side of NASCAR packages, allowing blockers to block him by pounding on his frame. He will occasionally appear uncoordinated as a rusher and may seek a more consistent synergy between his upper and lower body.

On running defense, Dorlus doesn’t have the mass to hold his ground consistently against doubles teams and can easily be pushed off if overwhelmed from a standing start. Also, he sometimes loses balance when entering gaps from the snap, giving attacking blockers too much surface area.

In space, Dorlus visibly lacks elite pursuit speed and is a bit sluggish in movement. When tasked with reads off the edge, he sometimes misdiagnoses tackling angles and plays out of position. In addition, he recognizes moves too late and is flushed by misdirections more often than desired.

Current projection draft for Oregon DT Brandon Dorlus

On my board, Dorlus ranks well in the day 2 range and could apply for early to mid day 2 draft accounting based on the schema. He brings a unique brand of versatility to the prospects on the 2023 NFL Draft defensive line. And in a modern NFL where versatility on the offense is coveted, Dorlus may be in high demand.

Dorlus can play anywhere from 2i to 7-tech off tackle, and in a right role that versatility is spoiled to the next level. Its mix of explosiveness, length, agility and flexibility allows it to move across the entire front line and this ability leads to exciting situational flexibility.

That being said, Dorlus can get even more accurate as a pass rusher, and especially as a standup EDGE, he struggles to maintain his leverage and efficiency through reps. For this reason, Dorlus is perhaps best suited right now to play between 3- and 5-tech, with his hand in the dirt so he can more easily gain leverage and get under his opponent’s pads.

However, all this is not meant to mean that Dorlus is a complete project. He already has a working arsenal of hand movements and his physical profile – coupled with his hot engine and urgency as a defender – makes for a very exciting projection. Dorlus can work 1-on-1, exploding downhill from NASCAR looks or stunting across the face and creating riots within blocking schemes.

While Dorlus creates more pressure than sacks, his ability to be the “nail” to his teammate’s “hammer” could be invaluable in the NFL. It can be a schema, alignment and package versatile starter with impact potential and triple benefit.

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