Last Saturday’s game against Minnesota was rough for the Huskers and wasn’t great for Honas as Minnesota rushed for over 200 yards and 4.8 yards per carry. In this week’s Scouting Perspective I wanted to take a look at Honas and how he projects to the NFL.
Stopping the Run
When Honas is able to see the ball and have a free run he is very effective. That was the case a few times against Minnesota where Honas was able to come forward and make the tackle. We saw that with Minnesota’s first offensive snap and then later in the game when Honas was able to read the ball and burst through an open lane for the tackle for loss.
Nebraska LB Will Honas is able to read the run and burst through the opening to make the tackle for loss #Huskers #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/VRVXVLS4lG— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) December 17, 2020
The problem is that there are very few open lanes and when Honas was asked to to wade through traffic he often was taken out of the play. In the second quarter on an outside run Honas tried to cut through a lane but it closed off and got trapped off as the running back went for a long run.
Even when Honas was in the right spot he struggled to hold his ground or get off of blocks fast enough. In the second quarter Honas came downhill hard to fill the hole but the center was able to come over and knock him out of the way. Later in the quarter on 4th and 1, Honas came up and engaged with the right tackle but couldn’t get off the block fast enough as the running went right through his arm tackle.
In today’s NFL, linebackers at a minimum have to be able to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. In Nebraska’s system where they only play four defensive backs, we got to see Honas play quite a bit in coverage.
In the third quarter Honas showed off his zone skills playing over the middle as he passed off the receiver crossing from his left and then redirected to cover up the crossing receiver from his right. In the 1st quarter Honas was able to get some decent depth in his drop and take away his area of the field.
While Honas can stay with some receivers who run straight line routes, he struggled when he had to change directions. That was the case in the first quarter when Honas was matched up in the slot on 3rd and 10. Honas opened up to the outside but the receiver made a hard cut inside getting separation and the first down. Also in the third quarter he was able to sprint out and cover the WR in what looked like an out route, but the WR quick made a move up the field and Honas tried to grab him to catch up but wasn’t able to stick with him.
Will Honas is going to have an uphill battle to try and make it with an NFL team. Honas has been a solid linebacker for the Huskers the past two years after coming from the JUCO ranks, but lacking good athletic traits with limitations in coverage he’s likely to go undrafted. Honas will likely sign with a team as an undrafted free agent and will get a look during OTA’s but it may be hard for him to get a camp invite.