#13 Francis Bernard
Year: Redshirt Senior
High School: Herriman (Herriman, UT)
Accolades: 2019 1st Team All-PAC 12.
Scouting Report: LB Francis Bernard, Utah
Speed/Athleticism: Francis Bernard is a better than an average athlete at the position. Moves fluidly into the hole. Isn’t the greatest at changing direction, very slow to flip his hips, he’s more of a downhill gap linebacker. Very explosive from his initial step. He’s not fast enough to be a sideline-to-sideline player, he’s more of a box or a half field defender, but he’s effective in that space. 13/20.
Strength/Power: Bernard is very strong. Shows good power despite his smaller stature. Devastating hit when he gets a good look on someone looks to bury people. He has a very strong lower half, although he has very little room to grow on his frame. 11/15.
Technique and Mechanics
Tackling/Pursuit: A good tackler, although sometimes his pursuit angles are very poor. Needs to build that up to be more consistent. The tackling range isn’t great despite a good wingspan. He’s good when he gets a clean look. Very good at getting just low enough to bring down someone. Sometimes he will miss on tackles by diving at the runner’s legs too soon. 16/20.
Coverage Ability: Bernard wasn’t often asked to cover, but you can see why in the repetitions that he did. He’s not a great coverage linebacker. Isn’t good at getting enough depth, struggles to stay disciplined in that zone. He was asked to play a lot of spy, and did so well, but carries too many instincts from that aspect of the game with him to coverage. 9/20.
Pass Rush Ability: Bernard can bring some pass rush to the game, but it’s not really his forte. Too often times gets caught up on blocks and doesn’t seem to know how to use his hands. Only had 2 career sacks, and 2 career hits on the quarterback. That’s a bit worrisome. He’s just more of a decoy and gap filler on those assignments. 4/10.
Football IQ/Instincts: Bernard shows good instincts during the play, probably due to the fact that he was previously an offensive player. He doesn’t work through traffic well at all, something that will grow with him with more experience. Struggles to see over bigger offensive linemen and into the backfield. Still needs to naturally move to the play, trusts his eyes completely and reacts to things. 8/10.
Leadership/Personality: Enough can’t be said about his personality and leadership. His story is one that is well chronicled, becoming a father, getting kicked out of BYU, and almost losing his wife and son to childbirth. However, he persevered, and enough can’t be said about the man he became. Excellent locker room presence. 5/5.
Perseverance is something that Francis Bernard is very familiar with, and in all honesty, he really shouldn’t even be here. The odds have been stacked against him his entire career, making him someone that it’s easy to cheer for. However, on the football field, Bernard is a limited player. He’s a scheme-specific gap linebacker who will probably be confined to the box for the majority of his career. His size and limited speed prevent him from being much better. That being said, he’s a day three project and can contribute on special teams immediately.
Injury Rating: (+2)
Ceiling Rating: (3)