Terrence Fede has been somewhat of a stalwart at FinDepth as he was featured in our pre-draft article on day three and UDFA targets. He shined in week one of preseason with the largest workload of any Dolphin with 41 snaps on defense, all of which came from the left defensive end position. Below are 7 plays in which Fede flashed traits previously only seen at Marist College while giving us the first indication that they could translate to the success at the NFL level. We'll also look from some of these elements to be further worked on as he goes into tonight’s game at Tampa.
Fede's 1st snap was vs. Jake Matthews, the sixth overall pick for the Falcons, playing at Right tackle. Fede had the advantage of Shelby dropping Matthews on the floor the play before. However, Fede does a good job off moving from inside out to force Matthews to have a wide step to keep his balance. This allows Fede a chance to get a hand into Yate's throwing motion. As he gets to the QB a tick late, the chip from the TE at the start of the play may have been just enough to slow Fede's progress. Nonetheless, an impressive first snap.
This next one is a great play by Fede. A common knock on athletic rush-ends is the question of whether they can contribute on all 3 downs or not. Here we see Fede set the edge vs an inline TE and a pulling RG. He sets the edge and doesn't allow Devonta Freeman any room to run. Fede then disengages and an assists on the tackle. On this very promising play, Fede shows that the more he can offer in all aspects of the position, the better chance he has to contribute early and often in his rookie year.
This tackle on Freeman shows Fede's ability to locate the ball; a trait which impressed me while he was at Marist. Physically this is an easy match up vs the TE. However, the awareness to read the RB, disengage the TE, and then flash the athleticism and strength needed to arm tackle Freeman as he heads towards the 2nd level (with Matthews already blocking on the 2nd level) is very much worth noting. These past two plays came back to back; the Falcons ceased to run to their right, in the direction of Fede, after them.
Now we fast forward to the fourth quarter as Fede had a dry spell in the third due partially to the Falcons running away from him and due to facing a fresh Schraeder at RT. However, the biggest issue was Fede's high pad level, something that was prominent on his pre-NFL tape. In college he could overcome this issue with his superior strength and athleticism against lesser talent. Fede struggled for periods in the 3rd quarter when the Olinemen would get their hands inside his body. This was made easier by the height he comes off the snap at, creating a large target to hit him at, while placing him at an instant disadvantage. For me, this is the area I want to see the most development in Fede's game over the preseason and over the next year if he really wants to make the most of his natural ability.
As we enter the fourth quarter we get another example of Fede's ability to find the ball reading the pass in flat. Again, he shows his agility while he extends to arm tackle. This would have been a six-yard loss if the catch had been brought in.
Here is our first example of a counter move by Fede. At Marist, he primarily lined up at right defensive end and would use this Clowney-esque over swim move inside of the left tackle he would face. Here we see the opposite with Fede lined up over the right tackle. Faking inside then swimming over the head of the right tackle, he sends him off balance, which allows him quick passage towards the QB.
The above play is a great demonstration of what happens when Fede uses a good pad level. Coming off the ball low and getting under the RG's pads, he drives him back into the QB. By getting so low and driving up, this stops the LG from being able to reset his feet and anchor. The result in this pressure is an overthrow with the ball coming out off-time.
The first step quickness and snap anticipation here is really impressive, both of which are very desirable traits to have in a defensive lineman. After the snap, we see Fede use his hands quite well to hinder the right tackle from engaging and we again see that over swim move. Here, Fede shows a slight tendency to rush a bit too wide, allowing the tackle and QB a little more room than optimal. However, Fede still hurried the QB while making him step up and make a poor throw.
Overall, I was very impressed by Fede's first outing in Aqua. I was particularly encouraged by how well his skill set, strength, and quickness translated to this next level in the NFL. That transition is one area which is often the most worrisome regarding a small-school prospect. With Fede leading the defensive snap count in Preseason Game 1, I expect that we'll see lot more of him over the next 3 weeks. I hope his second, third, and fourth impressions are as good as his first.