2015 NFL DRAFT
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Kentwan Balmer, DT

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 308 | College: North Carolina
 
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Overview

Regarded as the premier defensive lineman in his area coming out of high school, Kentwan Balmer finally lived up to his vast potential as a senior with the Tar Heels.

The former defensive end was shifted to defensive tackle as a junior, but it was not until the arrival of coach Butch Davis that Balmer excelled on the football field. Davis took the talented youngster under his wing and Balmer surpassed his cumulative statistical production from his first three seasons during his final year.

Balmer earned All-Area and All-Conference honors as a junior and senior at Weldon High School. The 2003 Area Defensive Player of the Year helped the team produce three shutouts in their first six games that year. He posted 113 tackles, 12 sacks, eight pass breakups and six fumble recoveries his final campaign. As a junior, he registered 103 tackles, 11 sacks and scored a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery. He was also a member of the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Team.

Balmer enrolled at North Carolina in 2004. The 250-pound right defensive end saw limited action in nine games, coming up with one assisted tackle. As a sophomore, he added more than 30 pounds to his frame and would appear in 11 games. He started the final three contests at right defensive end for an injured Tommy Davis, responding with 17 tackles (eight solo), a sack, five stops for losses and five quarterback pressures. He also deflected one pass.

In 2007, Balmer appeared in 10 games, starting the final eight contests at left defensive tackle. An early season right high ankle sprain forced him to miss the Virginia Tech and Furman clashes and he later re-injured his ankle in the second half vs. Wake Forest. He was in on 16 tackles (14 solo) with 2 1/2 sacks. He added one pressure, as he also blocked two extra point attempts and batted away a pair of passes.

As a senior, Balmer shifted to right defensive tackle. He earned second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference accolades and received the team's James Southerland Award (captain), as he ranked second on the team with 59 tackles (33 solo). He collected 3 1/2 sacks, 9 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage and four pressures.

In 42 games at North Carolina, Balmer started 23 times. He collected 93 tackles (55 solo) with seven sacks for minus-52 yards, 17 stops for losses of 79 total yards and 10 quarterback pressures. He also deflected three passes and blocked a pair of kicks.

Analysis

Positives: Has a tall, lean frame with long arms, thick thighs and calves and room to carry at least an additional 20 pounds of bulk without having the additional weight impact his foot speed … Plays with good body lean and, when he keeps his pads down, he is effective at shooting the gaps and generating pursuit in the backfield … Shows a quick initial burst off the snap and is developing counter moves to gain advantage … Is not consistently explosive off the snap, but now uses his upper-body power to contain blockers at the line of scrimmage … Has a much better concept for taking angles now than he did in the past and has the motor (inconsistent, though) to make plays in pursuit working down the line … Has also shown better vision as a senior, doing a nice job of tracking the ball through trash … Shows good functional power in his arms and hands to create separation, shed and maintain balance through the pile … Flashes adequate lower-body power when anchoring to neutralize the combo blocks (needs to continue his lower body development to compete at the next level) … No longer overextends with his hands, keeping them close to his frame and the result has been more efficient ability to wrap and secure ballcarriers on initial contact … Displays good effort in his lateral pursuit, generating a strong jolt behind his hits. Hand punch has become one of his better assets, using it well to push and collapse the pocket … More efficient when he drops his weight and stays low in his stance, as he is much better in his attempts to redirect vs. in-line plays, showing enough acceleration and surge to close on the quarterback (nimble moving his feet when flashing from the backside) … Fires low off the snap and maintains balance well while stacking up the inside running game (good on stunts) … Has a much better understanding of blocking schemes as a senior and showed little hesitation diagnosing the plays to string the action wide … Times his jumps to disrupt the pocket … Has developed strong rip moves to penetrate, locate and flush out the quarterback … Generates a forceful bull rush when he drives with his legs and executes hand swipes to create a surge off the snap … His change-of-direction agility has improved to the point that he can come back fast from the low blocks to jump up and make the tackle … Hits through the blocks, wraps and secures the ballcarrier when tackling, as he displays a good short-area closing burst and also has functional quickness for some long pursuit … When he anchors and plays flat-footed, he is effective at getting into position to make the tackle … Has adequate range and lateral quickness to close on the ball … Seems more comfortable when utilized in a slant stance, showing enough vertical quickness to make plays to his side.

Negatives: Has to continue to develop his lower-body strength, as he was efficient vs. isolated blockers as a senior, but struggled to hold his ground vs. double teams … Had a solid senior campaign, but his lack of overall consistency and urgency in his play earlier in his career (looked lethargic late in games) makes one wonder if 2007 was his "coming out party" or a fluke … Has some versatility to get a few snaps at defensive end, but he lacks the ideal explosion and flow to the ball to come off the edge and generate long pursuit (much better taking angles and penetrating in-line) … Has worked hard to keep his pads down, but when he is stood up at the line, he leaves his chest exposed and lacks the leg drive to slip off blocks when the offensive linemen generate movement … When blockers get into his chest, they can drive him off the ball and away from the rush lanes with good success … Much more conscious of keeping his hands within his frame as a senior, but when he swings wildly, he is incapable of playing off blocks … Best when shooting the gaps vs. a free lane, as he does not have the lower-body power to push the pocket consistently (lacks steady explosion when facing blockers and is somewhat slow trying to disengage vs. the double team, as he needs to anchor better to prevent from getting uprooted out of the holes vs. running plays directed right at him) … Must also work on refining his leverage vs. angle and down blocks … Concentration tends to drift and this can result in him being late coming off the snap … Consistency has been lacking from his game, but it is sometimes hidden by his raw talent … When he plays high off the snap in pass-rushing situations, blockers have good success locking on low to ride him out … Has good lateral agility, but will not use it all the time, as he tends to not pursue the ball for distance … Gives up the battle early with the blocker if his initial move does not work … Has developed better work habits, but must be monitored, as he needs to be prodded to do the little extras in the training room and practices … Improved in these areas as a senior, but is still a work in progress.

Compares To: FRED ROBBINS-New York Giants … Like Robbins, it took several years before Balmer was able to become a steady contributor. For three seasons at North Carolina, Balmer showed marginal work ethic and there was too much inconsistency in his play. The new UNC coaching staff ignited a passion in his play, but you have to wonder if it is the start of good things to come or just a one-year wonder driven by the prospect of going to the NFL. He needs to develop better lower-body strength, as he struggles vs. double teams, but when he keeps his pads down, he is effective at shooting the gaps and generating pursuit in the backfield. He has a strong hand punch to shock and jolt blockers, evident by his solid play in containing the run in 2007.

Career Notes

Balmer has proven to be a versatile defender, as he earned three starting assignments at right defensive end, eight at left defensive tackle and 12 at right defensive tackle during his career … In 55 plays vs. the run as a senior, he held the opposition to 93 yards (1.69 yards per attempt, 7.75 yards per game).

2007 Season

Super Sleeper Team choice by The NFL Draft Report … Recipient of the team's James Southerland Award (team captain) … Earned second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors … Started all 12 games at right defensive tackle, ranking second on the team with 59 tackles (33 solo), including 3 1/2 sacks for minus-26 yards, 9 1/2 stops for losses of 44 yards and four quarterback pressures … Held the opposition to 1.69 yards on the 55 running plays he made … Registered eight third-down tackles and three more on fourth down … Took down opposing ballcarriers for no gain at the line of scrimmage on seven snaps … Produced eight of his tackles inside the red zone, including two on goal-line action.

2007 Game Analysis

James Madison … In his first career start at right defensive tackle, Balmer posted five tackles (three solo) with 1 1/2 stops for losses of five yards … Early in the first quarter, the tackle took down tailback Antoinne Bolton for a four-yard loss on a rushing attempt at the JMU 12 … Bolton was again stopped for a three-yard loss by Balmer on a run over right end early in the second frame … At the start of the second half, he killed JMU's first series of the third quarter, as he took down QB Rodney Landers on a third-and-2 run that netted just one yard to the JMU 39 … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#64-Vernon Eason (6:01-317) … Against the Run-Made five stops vs. the run for minus-2 yards (UNC allowed 150 yards on 44 carries with a touchdown for the game).

East Carolina … Balmer collected seven tackles (two solo), as he assisted on a sack, made 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and added a pressure … Midway through the first quarter, he assisted in sacking QB Pat Pinkney at the UNC 46 for an 8-yard loss … Early in the second quarter, he landed on Dominique Lindsay to hold the tailback to no gain on a run at the ECU 29 … In the fourth quarter, Balmer tackled Pinkney for a 4-yard loss on a run over left end at the UNC 17 … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#68-Matt Butler (6:04-306) … Against the Run-Made seven stops vs. the run for no yards (UNC allowed 64 yards on 33 carries with a touchdown for the game).

Virginia … The right tackle delivered four tackles (2 solos) with two coming on third-down plays … He forced the Cavaliers to punt in the fourth quarter after he tackled tailback Cedric Peerman on a third-and-18 run that netted 7 yards to the UVA 47 … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#71-Branden Albert (6:07-310) … Against the Run-Made three stops vs. the run for 14 yards (UNC allowed 197 yards on 51 carries with a touchdown for the game).

South Florida … Balmer followed with six solo tackles, with one of his stops coming on a fourth down play, as he took down tailback Mike Ford on a fourth-and-1 4-yard run at the UNC 5, but the UNC defender was then driven back into the end zone by guard Ryan Schmidt on USF's 5-yard touchdown run by Ben Williams with 3:28 left in the third quarter … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#65-Ryan Schmidt (6:04-327) … Against the Run-Made five stops vs. the run for 25 yards (UNC allowed 194 yards on 52 carries with three touchdowns for the game).

Virginia Tech … The Tar Heels defensive tackle was in on seven tackles (2 solos) with 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, making two of his hits inside the red zone … He assisted in chasing down Kenny Lewis for a 3-yard loss on a screen pass from Tyrod Taylor at the VT 38 midway through the second quarter … Early in the fourth quarter, he pressured Taylor into throwing an incomplete pass on third-and-8 at the Tech 22, forcing the Hokies to punt … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#64-Richard Graham (6:06-278) … Against the Run-Made six stops vs. the run for 22 yards (UNC allowed 165 yards on 36 carries with two touchdowns for the game).

Miami … Against the Hurricanes, Balmer had one third-down stop and a fourth-down hit among his four tackles (3 solos), as he also added a pressure, forcing QB Kyle Wright to throw an incomplete pass at the UM 46 with 1:58 left in the first half … He later stopped Wright on a fourth-and-1 bootleg that netted the yard needed for a first down with 2:59 remaining in the game … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#72-Andrew Bain (6:03-344) … Against the Run-Made four stops vs. the run for nine yards (UNC allowed 109 yards on 36 carries with two touchdowns for the game).

South Carolina … Balmer produced seven tackles (3 solos), including one for a 1-yard loss, as one of his stops came on a third-down play and another on fourth down … He stopped tailback Cory Byrd for no gain on a first-and-goal run at the UNC 3 five minutes into the contest … He leveled QB Chris Smelley on a fourth-and-1 QB sneak that netted one yard with 1:56 remaining in the first half … Later in the third quarter, he took down Boyd for no gain at the SC 20 on a third-and-1 run, forcing the Gamecocks to punt … Boyd was later stopped by the UNC tackle for a 1-yard loss on a first-and-10 run at the UNC 39 with 3:03 left on the game clock … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#63-Seaver Brown (6:05-316) … Against the Run-Made seven stops vs. the run for four yards (UNC allowed 110 yards on 32 carries with no touchdowns for the game).

Wake Forest … The line captain had a quiet game, coming up with three tackles, including one that stopped Josh Adams for no gain on a second-and-9 run to the UNC 10 early in the third quarter … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#79-Matthew Brim (6:04-294) … Against the Run-Made three stops vs. the run for 4 yards (UNC allowed 138 yards on 40 carries with two touchdowns for the game).

Maryland … Balmer came up with four tackles (3 solos), including a third-down stop, as he also had a 9-yard sack, taking down Chris Turner at the MD 23 on third-and-20, forcing the Terps to punt after their first series of the second half … He also tackled tailback Lance Ball for no gain on a run off right guard at the MD 24 with 2:04 left in the third frame … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#72-Phil Costa (6:03-297) … Against the Run-Made four stops vs. the run for minus 3 yards (UNC allowed 93 yards on 33 carries with one touchdown for the game).

North Carolina State … Balmer managed just two solo tackles, but he also had a 5-yard sack and a pressure … He flushed out QB Daniel Evans to force an incomplete pass at the UNC 22 at the start of the fourth quarter … With 9:40 remaining in the game, he sacked Evans at the UNC 31 … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#69-Kalani Heppe (6:04-300) … Against the Run-Made two stops vs. the run for 2 yards (UNC allowed 167 yards on 43 carries with three touchdowns for the game).

Georgia Tech … The right defensive tackle registered six tackles (2 solos), including one where he chased down tailback Tashard Choice on a third-and-7 run that netted 13 yards to the Tech 26 with 1:23 left in the first half … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#77-Dan Voss (6:04-305) … Against the Run-Made six stops vs. the run for 23 yards (UNC allowed 178 yards on 44 carries with no touchdowns for the game).

Duke … Balmer closed out his career by delivering four solo tackles, with an 8-yard sack and two stops for minus 10 yards … He sacked QB Thaddeus Lewis for an 8-yard loss at the UNC 15 on a first-and-goal snap early in the fourth quarter and then sniffed out the screen, leveling tailback Ronnie Drummer for a 2-yard loss on a third-and-13 toss from Lewis with 7:09 remaining in the contest … Head-to-Head Competition-OG#60-Zach Maurides (6:06-290) … Against the Run-Made three stops vs. the run for minus 5 yards (UNC allowed 145 yards on 48 carries with no touchdowns for the game).

2006 Season

Balmer appeared in 10 games, starting the final eight contests at left defensive end … Sat out the Virginia Tech and Furman games early in the season with a right high ankle sprain and re-injured his ankle, but still played in the second half vs. Wake Forest … Made 16 tackles (14 solo) with 2 1/2 sacks for minus-21 yards and one pressure … Blocked a pair of extra-point attempts and deflected two passes.

2006 Game Analysis

Clemson … After missing the previous two games with a right ankle sprain, Balmer returned to the gridiron with a season-high four solo tackles, including one on a third-down snap, as he took down tailback C.J. Spiller at the UNC 40 on a one-yard second quarter carry.

South Florida … Forced USF to punt after he batted away a Matt Grothe third-and-3 pass at the USF 23 three minutes into the game.

Virginia … Added a pair of solo tackles, including a seven-yard sack of QB jameel Sewell at the UVA 20 with 2:28 left in the first half.

Notre Dame … Assisted in sacking QB Brady Quinn for a 13-yard loss at the UNC 44 with 7:25 remaining in the third quarter.

North Carolina State … Sacked QB Daniel Evans for a 7-yard loss on third-and-3, forcing State to punt after their forst series of the third quarter.

2005 Season

Balmer played in 11 games, playing behind Tommy Davis at right defensive end for the first eight contests before starting the final three vs. Maryland, Duke and Virginia Tech when Davis was out with an injury … Registered 17 tackles (eight solo) with a five-yard sack, five stops for losses of 16 yards and five pressures … Also deflected one pass.

2005 Game Analysis

Georgia Tech … Balmer began the season with a pair of tackles, including one that stopped tailback P.J. Daniels for a four-yard loss on a carry at the Tech 6 midway through the third quarter.

North Carolina State … Tackled fullback Toney Baker behind the line of scrimmage on a first-and-goal run early in the first quarter and sacked QB Jay Davis for a five-yard loss at the State 29 with 2:45 remaining in the third frame.

Virginia … Delivered a season-high four tackles with 1 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage, knocking Wali Lundy out of the game after leveling the tailback for a 1-yard loss on a third quarter run at the Cavaliers 21.

Maryland … Did not record any tackles, but produced three pressures, including one that forced QB Sam Hollenbach out of the pocket, where he was sacked by defensive end Tommy Davis for a 10-yard loss at the MD 28 with 9:07 left in the contest.

Virginia Tech … Stopped tailback Cedric Humes for a 4-yard loss and posted three tackles (2 solos).

2004 Season

Balmer saw limited action with the defense, appearing in nine games as a reserve defensive end … Recorded just one assisted tackle (vs. Utah).

Injury Report

2005: Underwent right knee surgery to clean out debris after the season.

2006: Sat out the Virginia Tech (9/09) and Furman games (9/16) and played the second half of the Wake Forest contest (10/28) with a right high ankle sprain.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.96 in the 40-yard dash (wind-aided) … 5.12 40-yard dash (against the wind) … 360-pound bench press … 485-pound squat … 4.4 20-yard shuttle … 33 1/8-inch arm length … 9 1/2-inch hands.

High School

Attended Weldon (N.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Grady Williams … Earned All-Area and All-Conference honors as a junior and senior … The 2003 Area Defensive Player of the Year helped the team produce three shutouts in their first six games that year … Posted 113 tackles, 12 sacks, eight pass breakups and six fumble recoveries as a senior … As a junior, he registered 103 tackles, 11 sacks and scored a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery … Member of the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Team.

Personal

African-American History and Communications major … Son of Christa and Charles Balmer … Born 10/15/86 … Resides in Weldon, North Carolina.

 
 
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