The Ravens had two picks in the third round, and used the first one of Chris Wormley, a defensive end out of Michigan. Wormley played the five technique in college, and will do the same on the NFL. With Lawrence Guy leaving for New England this offseason, Wormley will have a golden opportunity to win a starting job in his rookie season. I expect Wormley to be a rookie starter. Let’s look at what the former Michigan standout excels in, and what aspects of his game need development.
Wormley looks to be a perfect player to fill Lawrence Guy’s spot, because both Guy and Wormley are very good tacklers. When going through his tape, it was very rare to see Wormley miss a tackle. Thus, Wormley performed very well against the run, as shown in the two plays I picked out, both from the 2016 Citrus Bowl where Michigan played Florida.
On this play, the running back was forced to the outside on Wormley’s side of the line. Wormley has to fight through the offensive lineman, and using his strength, Wormley is able to do so. Afterwards, Wormley fights through a little more traffic in order to close on the running back. Again, Wormley is successful, he gets to the running back, and completes the tackle.
Similar play here as a run is bounced outside on Wormley’s side of the line. With both team’s in goal line formation, there are a lot of big bodies for Wormley to have to push through. Not only that, but he is able to catch the running back all the way over near the sideline. Again, Wormley makes a clean tackle, keeping Florida out of the end zone.
These two plays are just a taste of Wormley’s reliable tackling, but having a sturdy player up front will be key for the Ravens. Lawrence Guy was something of an unsung hero for the Ravens last season, but he was a very reliable tackler for the Ravens up front. Wormley can be that type of player for the Ravens from day one.
Wormley not only is sturdy against the run, but he also has a nose for getting to the passer. He may not have many pass rushing moves (more on that later), but he sure knows how to close on the quarterback when he has an opening. In fact, many of Wormley’s sacks came as a result of his ability to close on the quarterback.
Wormley is at the top of the defensive line to start on this play. Upon the snap, Wormley bull rushes at the tackle. On this play, Wormley actually gets a pretty good burst, and is able to set the edge as a result. Wormley comes around the edge while fighting through the tackle. Eventually, Wormley breaks free, and quickly closes on Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley. Wormley does not give the mobile McSorley any time to get out of the way. This is a result of Wormley’s closing speed.
Wormley’s sure tackling is again present, as he not only closes on McSorley, but he effectively wraps him up, preventing any chance for escape.
Next, Wormley shows off his closing speed in a different situation. In this case, Wormley does have much success against the tackle, but Taco Charlton is able to storm into the Ohio State backfield virtually unblocked. Charlton is unable to bring down J.T. Barrett, and Barrett steps up in the pocket, looking to run. At this point, Wormley gets off of his blocker, and quickly covers the gap between him and Barrett, bringing down the Ohio State quarterback.
The final play I picked shows Wormley’s sack against Florida. This is more similar to the Penn State play. Wormley comes off the edge, sets the edge, and pushes the tackle with him toward the quarterback. Once close to Treon Harris, Wormley breaks off, and quickly gets down the quarterback.
All three of the plays I picked are against mobile quarterbacks. Wormley not only shows to have good closing speed, but he does it against guys that are very quick, and very agile.
Special Teams Value
The Ravens pride themselves on special teams, and the addition of Wormley gives John Harbaugh and the Ravens coaching staff another tool to work with. Wormley, especially in his senior season, excelled at blocking kicks.
I pulled out Wormley’s three blocked kicks from his senior year. All three of them are virtually the exact same thing. Wormley lines up in the middle of the formation, and has to fight through the biggest blockers in the offensive formation. Wormley is able to do so, and after pushing his way through, Wormley has the awareness to reach his hand up and block the ball.
Whitmer's Chris Wormley with the blocked Field Goal. pic.twitter.com/DPtThA9cxC— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) September 10, 2016
Chris Wormley did it again.... pic.twitter.com/FEzLHP39cz— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) September 10, 2016
John Harbaugh is going to be enamored with how much effort Wormley gives on special teams, as well as the excellent production that he had. Wormley should be an anchor of the field goal block unit for years to come.
Wormley’s power was shown in a lot of these plays. Whether it be his fighting through blockers to knock down a kick, or being able to force his way past an offensive tackle and into the backfield, Wormley has immense power. Wormley showcases his power nearly every play. This is why Wormely utilizes the bull rush a lot.
Wormley shows it here against Ohio State, as he is able to quickly and decisively muscle his way past the Buckeye tackle, and get to J.T. Barrett. He isn’t able to get a sack, but his power allowed him to get a hit on the quarterback, which, in turn, led to an interception.
This one play showcases Wormley’s power, but most of the other plays I show above feature that same ability.
While Wormley has a lot of power and strength, one thing he struggles with at times is shedding blocks. Some offensive tackles were able to latch onto to Wormley, and not allow themselves to lose to the strength of the Michigan defensive end. Thus Wormley was blocked completely out of the play, rendering him ineffective. This is what is shown on both of the below plays.
On this play, Wormley not only is unable to shed the block, but he is unable to make a play on the running back as a result. Without any tacklers in front of him, Curtis Samuel is able to get a nice gain.
Lacks Pass Rushing Moves
Something that you will see a lot in the above videos is that Wormley doesn’t have a large repertoire of pass rushing moves. I said that his power is a strength, as he is able to use it to beat blockers. However, Wormley often relies on his power solely. Almost 100% of his pass rush attempts are bull rushes. He doesn’t have a spin move or any other type of footwork move and doesn’t have good hand moves. His game is predicated on using the bull rush to beat offensive lineman.
This could prove problematic in the NFL against stronger tackles that will be ready to deal with his strength compared to many college lineman.
Bottom Line: Chris Wormley is just a really solid football player. He is incredibly strong, and he does most of the small things well. He tackles well, he has a nose for the quarterback, and he makes an impact on special teams. The Ravens will be glad to get such a well rounded player. If he can add a few pass rushing moves to his tool belt, he may be able to help himself shed blocks faster and at a higher rate. If he can do that, Wormley will become a really good pass rusher. Until then, Wormley perfectly fits the mold of what was left by Lawrence Guy: a very reliable player, who may not be the flashiest, but will get the job done.