Towards the end of last season, the Jets added defensive lineman Brandin Bryant to their active roster. Bryant had been signed to the Jets' practice squad in October, having been with the Seattle Seahawks in preseason. Bryant hasn't received much attention this offseason, so we're taking a look at what he brings to the table.
The 23-year old Bryant is listed as 6'3" and 289 pounds and was an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic. He played in four preseason games with the Seahawks, recording three tackles and two pressures.
Bryant had a productive four-year career at Florida Atlantic, racking up 121 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He became a full-time starter in 2013 and won the comeback player of the year award in 2015 after bouncing back from a season-ending knee injury the previous year to rack up a career high five sacks.
Bryant started to garner some buzz during 2016 pre-draft preparation, but was eventually undrafted. Seattle signed him as an undrafted free agent and he played for them in preseason last year.
After he was cut by Seattle, Bryant was signed to the Jets' practice squad in October and added to the active roster with two games left in the season, although he was not active for either game.
Bryant put together some spectacular workout numbers at his pro day with a 4.88 40-yard dash, 38 bench press reps and tremendous agility numbers, which he later improved upon at another workout.
Bryant said he was told by one scout that he was the fastest and strongest defensive tackle in the entire draft.
You can see evidence of this in his college film.
Here's a couple of examples of that footspeed and quickness:
(Note: Bryant wore #2 in college and #92 with Seattle).
With Seattle, Bryant played exclusively as a 4-3 tackle, apart from two snaps on the edge. However, in college, he saw plenty of action all over the line, regularly lining up as a nose tackle or matched up with an offensive tackle.
Seattle listed him as a fullback for a short while, although there was no indication that he ever practiced at anywhere other than on the defensive line.
Bryant works hard and shows relentlessness in pursuit. There's a couple of plays on his highlight reel where he chased down a ball carrier 30-40 yards down the field.
He showed good hustle to recover this fumble in a preseason game:
The most snaps he played in preseason in any one game was 25.
With his quickness, Bryant blew up a lot of running plays in college simply by shooting a gap and getting into the backfield. However, his strength also enabled him to bottle up runs and create penetration.
This clip illustrates him doing an excellent job of moving laterally and keeping the ball in front of him and his head up so that he can disengage at the right moment to get in on the stop:
It wasn't quite the same against NFL competition as Bryant is somewhat undersized to play as an interior lineman and this showed in one preseason game in particular as he was doubled teamed on three straight running plays and driven five yards off the line. He perhaps needs to work on his pad level based on those plays.
He also struggled in short yardage situations. On one goal line play in preseason, he was driven off the line and to the ground and he was driven off the line easily by the left tackle (#72) on this short touchdown:
He wasn't completely dominated though. He got some good penetration by beating his block here, although the run still went for a big gain to the other side:
On another play, he got off his block after initially being driven back and got in on the tackle near the line of scrimmage.
Bryant created a lot of his pass rush production in college in a similar fashion to his run defense. He was able to shoot gaps to get into the backfield and use his quickness to get upfield on his man and strength to collapse the pocket. Perhaps his most impressive attribute is his closing speed.
His production was good in college, although the five sacks in his last season exceeded the other three years combined. However, in his junior year he had actually been leading the nation in quarterback hits when he got injured.
However, Bryant also uses a variety of pass rushing moves, including clubs, rips, jerks and swims. His spin move on this play was so effective that it injured his blocker's arm:
However, while he didn't get to the quarterback because it was a "now" pass, the speed and balance on this spin move was even more impressive:
In preseason action, he had a couple of pressures where he got upfield on the left guard with his initial quickness and then used his power to disrupt the passer.
Bryant can certainly hit hard, especially when bearing down on a quarterback, although he was credited with just one forced fumble in college.
He doesn't miss many tackles, but here was one play where the runner got away from him. However, his teammates were there to clean this up, after his penetration blew up the play and slowed up the runner:
Bryant generally does a good job of wrapping up when pursuing a runner in space.
Bryant had just two passes defensed in his college career, both in his freshman year. However, he did have one other pass that he batted up into the air and then made the tackle after the quarterback caught in on the ricochet.
When rushing the passer, Bryant will drop off and pursue into the flat if he's not going to get home.
Bryant saw action on the punt coverage and kick coverage units in preseason with Seattle, making a tackle on a punt and drawing a hold on a kick-off. That shows how well he can run and his size was useful in terms of taking out blockers. He also played on the field goal rush unit.
Bryant also had a couple of special teams tackles in his junior year of college.
Bryant is regarded as very smart and he is a wannabe novelist who had a 4.0 GPA in college and earned scholar-athlete honors.
On the field he shows some good instincts at times.
Here's a great play where he sniffs out the screen and drops into coverage to tackle the receiver:
However, there did seem to be some occasions where he was preoccupied with beating his block and didn't read what was going on in the backfield.
Bryant is regarded as hard-working and eager to learn, with a great personality. Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard praised how active he was in training camp.
On the field, he's fiery and aggressive and will from time to time get chippy with his opponents. He had just two penalties in his last two years of college, though, one of which was on special teams.
Just a couple of days ago, Bryant was volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club of America back home, so he apparently has good character off the field too.
Bryant has suffered two ACL tears in his career, the most recent of which was in 2014. However, these injuries pre-date his phenomenal offseason workout numbers last year, so he should be 100% now.
Bryant is a bit undersized for an interior lineman role, although he has been listed at 305 in the past. His quickness could be an asset in pass rush packages and he might be athletic enough to come off the edge in base packages.
The defensive line remains the Jets' strongest position, although the likelihood of Sheldon Richardson being here in 12 months' time is extremely slim.
Bryant joins a few other promising youngsters that could offer low-cost alternatives as the Jets look to spread their resources around more evenly.
His athletic ability is exciting, but he's a player who really needs more game reps to show what he can do and continue to develop. Hopefully he'll stick with the team through preseason and remain healthy, then the team will be able to weigh up if he has a future.
UP NEXT: We take a look at recent pick-up Spencer Paysinger, who has added some experience to the linebacker group.