We had former Wake Forest linebacker Justin Strnad in our book ranked as one of our Top 20 linebackers, but his scouting report was omitted from the first online version of the publication.
What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Team captain. Versatile. Athletic. Good field speed. Can read-and-flow to handle cutback runs (Louisville ’17). Demonstrates good inside-out closing speed vs.quick bubble screens from the exchange LB spot (Clemson ’18). Long strides cover ground as a blitz threat (2nd half, UNC ’19). Responsible for coverage assignments vs. WRs. Has good range and pursuit to wrap tackle (Dillon, Boston College ’18). Extremely nimble/flexible as a curl-flat dropper. Creates positive depth. Smooth backpedal in his curl-hook on his plant-and-drive breaks (PBU over No. 2 slot, 4th QTR/1:00, UNC ’19). He had a very good fourth and one stop on a goal line bootleg vs. Rice in 2019. Closes well on routes in front of field. Covers ground on the field. Made the last tackle of the game (UNC ’19-4th QTR). Led the team in special teams tackles (10) in 2017.
Weaknesses: Left an interception on the field vs. Rice in 2019 (run-pass-option). His frame will get overextended and he’ll lose his balance falling back to tackle (MT, Rice ’19). He can be a step late to read the triangle when the gaps change (Clemson ’18). Doesn’t always sink to tackle instantly. Ruptured his biceps tendon vs. Florida State (2019) and missed the remainder of the campaign.
- Attended East Lake HS (Fla.) and was named a 1st Team All-Pinellas County selection as a senior
- 2016 (13 gms): 19 tackles
- 2017 (13 gms) 51 tackles, 4.5 QB sacks, 8.5 TFLs, 2 FFs, 3 INTs (44 yds) and PBU
- 2018 (13 sts, Honorable mention All-ACC) : 105 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, 8.5 TFLs, FF, 5 PBUs
- 2019 (7 gms, (Honorable mention All-ACC): 69 tackles, 2 QB sacks, 5.5 TFLs, INT and 4 PBUs
- Career Stats: 46 games, 20 starts, 244 tackles, 8 QB sacks, 22.5 TFLs, 3 FFs, FR, 4 INTs and 10 PBUs
- 2020 NFL Combine: 6’3 238 9 1/8” hands, 31 3/4” arms, 4.74 40-yd, 29” VJ, 9’5” BJ, 4.49 20-yd SS
Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Strnad was one of the more impactful players in the ACC at the linebacker spot before going down to injury in 2019. He creates consistent pictures running to the action. In today’s NFL, you need linebackers who are capable of getting it done in zone coverage. We feel he is one of the best in this year’s class at planting-and-driving on underneath passes off of the quarterback’s indicators. If there was a question about Strnad even prior to his biceps injury it revolved around his explosiveness. There were those occasions where he was unable to cause knock-back as a tackler. It is an area of needed improvement at the next level. It would not come as a surprise if he becomes an NFL starter at some point within his first three seasons. Strnad brings extra value on special teams.
Grade: 5.638 (4th Round)