2019 #49 Indianapolis Colts - Ben Banogu, OLB, Texas Christian
NFL Draft Scout
OUTLOOK: NFL scouts like to say that if a player is good enough, they'll find him almost regardless of the competition. That may have been the case for Banogu - who began his college career at Louisiana-Monroe, as he was named to the Sun Belt All-Newcomer Team in 2015 by registering 44 tackles, including 10.5 for loss and three sacks. That success (as well as a request to move back to his native state) led to Banogu requesting a transfer from the Warhawks. He sat out the 2016 season per NCAA guidelines before exploding for 55 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles for the Horned Frogs, earning the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year Award. Despite conference opponents dedicating multiple blockers to slow him a year later, Banogu put up similar numbers in 2018 (57-18-8.5-two), earning an invitation to the prestigious Senior Bowl. He looks the part of an NFL edge rusher with broad shoulders, a tapered middle and a well-defined musculature overall. Smooth accelerator off the corner with intriguing core flexibility and lateral agility to get skinny and dip under the reach of tackles or elude would-be blockers. Slithers through holes to find the ball-carrier, showing vision, balance and the length to lasso opponents, as well as good hand-eye coordination to knock the ball free. Just average twitch for an edge defender, lacking the initial explosiveness to consistently threaten the corner as a traditional speed rusher. Poor pad level and a lack of core strength too often leave him overwhelmed at the point of attack in the running game, getting pushed downfield. Needs to incorporate more technique in his pass rush arsenal, showing limited coordination between his hands and feet. Lacks experience in coverage, looking unsure of himself in space. Needs to do a better job of affecting the quarterback when not able to rush, registering just three passes broken up (zero in 2018), showing limited awareness of throwing lanes. Banogu comes with an intriguing blend of length and agility which can make him effective on twists as a looping rusher. He is a bit of a one-trick pony in this regard, however, lacking ideal explosiveness to threaten the edge consistently on his own, as well as the strength to hold up in the run game.