For several years the Baltimore Ravens were consistently one of the best defenses in the NFL. One of the main reasons for that was the presence of former Arizona State standout Terrell Suggs off the edge. He was dominant at times as a pass rusher and even earned a defensive player of the year award.
On the other side of the Ravens defense for many seasons was a fairly anonymous player. He didn't produce a ton of sacks and didn't go to Pro Bowls, but outside linebacker Jarret Johnson was one of the best at setting the edge versus the run out of anyone in the NFL.
There was not a lot of flash to his game. He just did his job and teams struggled to run to his side of the defense.
When I watched new UCLA outside linebacker commit Cassius Peat, I thought of Jarret Johnson. A player who might not be an explosive player as a pass rusher off the edge, but does a damn good job setting it versus the run.
Here's an example of how Peat does that:
Peat is lined up as an edge defender on the left side of the defense.
It's a toss to his side and Peat's job is to set the edge. That means he needs to keep contain on the outside of the play, but also maintain enough leverage to not get washed down the line and leave extra space for the running back to cut it back inside.
Peat keeps his outside leverage, but the back still tries to bounce it outside.
Peat wraps up the back and makes a tackle for loss. Whether the back stayed outside or cut it back in, it didn't matter. Peat made the play for himself or for his teammates whichever way the back chose to go.
The back often takes the easy way out and tries to get whatever he can on the inside on plays like that. That means that a player like Peat doesn't show up on the stat sheet as much even though he would have forced the play inside.
There is certainly some potential for Peat to grow as a pass rusher at the next level. He doesn't flash that same kind of athleticism and explosiveness that UCLA had with Anthony Barr, that they should get with recently signed Takkarist McKinley, or the kind of dynamic potential we've seen from 2016 5 star commit Breland Brandt.
Those other players are more of the Suggs type where Peat is much more similar to Jarret Johnson. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that though. That's why Peat is still considered a 4 star player according to 247Sports composite rankings.
He's built to physically compete at the college level right now and should be able to step in and compete for playing time early in his career. I don't see him being a dynamic pass rusher, but he has the chance to develop into a very good edge defender for the Bruins.