JD Bertrand 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report
- Logged 22.5 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss (TFL) during high school career
- Redshirted true freshman season after playing four games on special teams
- Scheme tendencies: Aggressive even front defense (expected under Al Golden)
- 2022 projected role: Starting MIKE linebacker
Pros: I really appreciate the play in the box for JD Bertrand. He’s not the biggest, longest, or most physically-imposing presence in traffic, but he has shown an effective nose for attacking and deconstructing blocks to help himself uncover in the hole and challenge ball carriers. He’s a stout tackler in short spaces. He squares ball carriers up well when filling a crease and showcases effective pop through his pads. The Irish got creative with alignments for Bertrand in zone coverage drops, helping him start closer to his landmarks. In these instances, you saw an effective ability to drop to a zone and shade to account for routes that cross through his responsible area. Close-quarters zone coverage appears to be an area when a team could live with Bertrand on the field as he’s currently constructed. I appreciate his diagnose ability against the run. He was not without some overanxious reads, but he keys OL and backfield motion well to react suddenly. And while I don’t think he’s a particularly dynamic athlete, he builds speed well from depth as a pressure player and has the physicality to challenge skill players in protection—which Notre Dame put on his plate intermittently as well.
Cons: The passing-down skill set appears to have some useful reps but I generally am not sold this is a three-down linebacker as JD Bertrand currently presents himself. Teams found separation using both tight ends and running backs out of the backfield when drawing Bertrand in man coverage and one would think NFL teams would quickly gravitate to attacking that matchup at the next level without improvement. He can improve from a fundamentals and anticipation standpoint in this regard, but I’m not sure I see the dynamic skill set that has high levels of play or potential available to unlock and allow him to evolve as a player. His tackle radius was tested when he needed to play outside of close quarters—his horizontal scrapes didn’t necessarily carry him with the pace needed to confidently squeeze ball carriers into the sideline and finish those plays. This appears to be due to an initial lack of high-end burst and some tightness through his frame.
JD Bertrand NFL Draft Scouting Report by Kyle Crabbs