12/31/2011 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: DT Matt Conrath, another first-team All-ACC pick, ranked third on the team and among all ACC defensive linemen with 64 total tackles this season. He's also quite a threat in the kicking game. The 6-7 Conrath blocked three field goals this season. - The Sports Xchange
Conrath was a star defensive lineman in high school, registering 16 sacks as a senior, as well as a baseball pitcher.
He has been a quality starter on the Cavaliers? defensive line for the past four years, consistently penetrating and producing. Conrath's stats were 35 tackles, 7 TFLs, 3.0 sacks and four pass defensed in 2008, 46/6/3/3 in 2009, 36/5.5/2.5/1 in 2010 and 66/12/3/3 during a strong senior campaign in 2011.
Conrath looks like a star basketball prospect, with great length and average to slender bone structure. He has been successful in college as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 that asked him to penetrate. Whether Conrath has the sand in the pants to remain at tackle in the NFL is highly debatable.
He played left end in his final game, the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Auburn, and demonstrated edge rush ability against the Tigers? Brandon Moseley.
As an NFL Draft prospect, Conrath likely has too narrow a frame to remain an interior lineman. He may fit as an end in certain 3-4 schemes like Houston?s, but most likely the strong-side end in the 4-3 is the best fit, similar to what Cory Redding plays for the Ravens.
Strengths: Good quickness off snap on most plays. Is highly athletic for his size and frame. Has enough bend and hip fluidity for effective double and spin moves, and got consistent penetration from the 4-3 DT position against BCS competition. Long arms and quality hand placement add to the arsenal. Is terrific at blocking FGs, and knocks down a lot of passes too.
Weaknesses: Frame limits ability to anchor and overall power, as center of gravity is just too high, even with good knee bend, to remain at interior DL in the NFL. Frame may also limit agility needed to succeed at DE. Has a tendency to get tall if initial move fails. Needs better and stronger hand play as well as additional moves. Ends up on the ground too often.
NFL Comparison: Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals