Noah Spence is going to be a good pass-rusher. We hope, and so do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who drafted him second overall for that exact reason.
Spence managed 5.5 sacks in his rookie season, in which he was limited both by his struggles against the run and an injured shoulder that had him playing with a harness for the vast majority of the season. Given those limitations, 5.5 sacks is a pretty impressive result.
Also impressive: his highlights, as you can see above in a video by the awesome Buc It Productions. They’re highlights, of course, meaning they don’t contain all those plays where he didn’t really do much. But they do show off his explosiveness and his ability to turn the corner on offensive tackles — key traits for any successful NFL defensive end.
His most impressive play comes at 1:40, where he first has to evade a running back, then readjust and beat an offensive tackle to impact Matt Ryan. And he manages all that, too, with his rip move to get past the left tackle and to Ryan being particularly pretty.
All of that is promising, but it’s no guarantee for his continued development. After all, we could have put together a similar highlight reel for Da’Quan Bowers early in his NFL career. That’s what highlight reels do: they make every player look awesome.
Still, Spence is as promising a defensive end as the Bucs have had since, well, Michael Bennett. Hopefully he’ll live up to that promise, and the Bucs will actually keep him around.