12 Jun Preseason Scouting Notes: Charles Snowden, LB, Virginia
Senior | 6’7” | 235 lbs | Silver Spring, MD | All-ACC Honorable Mention
Athletic for a player of his size. Charles Snowden shows solid balance to bounce off initial contact from blockers, change of direction to stunt and pursue, and foot speed. His long frame is an asset when trying to keep blockers off his chest. It allows him to be extra effective in coverage, and allows him to extend for a longer tackling range.
As a pass rusher, he can be effective coming off the edge using both his speed rush and up and under move as well as using his length to bat down passes at the line. On his speed rush, Snowden extends his inside arm to the defender’s chest to keep the OL’s hands off while he extends to make the play. His favorite move is the up and under, where he counters inside using his lateral quickness and long arms to bat down the offensive lineman’s hands and win inside. A lack of play strength limits his effectiveness as a pass rusher, as he cannot disengage once a blocker gets hands on him and is often pushed back and taken out of the play entirely. He can also show high pad level and stiff hips, which prevents him from consistently cornering effectively.
Snowden will make his money at the next level as a plus coverage linebacker. He has the foot speed to threaten blitz at the line of scrimmage, before smoothly dropping back into zone or man coverage. Understands his assignment well in zone coverage, properly passing receivers off and closing quickly when the ball is in the air. He can match up with RBs, TEs, or slot receivers in man coverage, with the necessary hip fluidity to turn and run or press and bail. Having a 6-foot-7 LB who can cover will be an asset on 3rd downs in the NFL.
Against the Run:
He can keep contain on the edge, locking his arms out and maintaining his half-man relationship, and has the foot speed and lateral agility to pursue outside runs. Snowden’s lack of play strength and aggressiveness at the point of attack limit his ability to work outside in and shed to make plays beyond his gap, as he’s often driven out to create a wide inside lane. When attempting to hold an inside gap, his lack of aggressiveness, foot drive, and high pad level often cause him to be driven back and taken out of the equation. He does have the foot speed and tackling range to pursue, but can take bad angles and shows a lack of effort when the ballcarrier is not in his immediate vicinity.
Snowden is a long coverage LB who can also be effective as a pass rusher. His lack of play strength and knee bend will limit his effectiveness shedding blocks against the run, and his lack of effort in pursuit may limit his upside. In today’s pass-happy NFL, teams may value him as a hybrid LB/NB, but against more run-oriented schemes, his usage may be limited to 3rd downs.
What to look for in 2020:
Can he increase his physicality and effort in his senior season? If he can show greater tenacity as a run defender and not get bullied at the point of attack, he will have more appeal as a complete defender.
Though his size and coverage skills make him an intriguing NFL prospect, Snowden’s deficiencies in the run game, lack of play strength, and effort prevent him from grading out any higher than a 3rd rounder at this point. Unless he can show improvements in these areas next season, look for him to go in the late 3rd to early 4th round.