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2019 Senior Bowl Positional Preview Scouting: D-Line (DT and DE prospects)

Air Date:
January 19, 2019

It’s Senior Bowl time…

Leading into the 2019 Senior Bowl week, all first-half of January 2019, I’ve been preview scouting all the prospects (except OL and PK) – spending 20-60 minutes per prospect watching selected tape and looking over their college output/statistics and game logs.

I then typed a quick reaction paragraph or two and assigned a school grade scouting to each prospect. This initial grade is just my early reaction to what I see. I cannot run the non-QB prospects through my computer scouting models until I get the NFL Combine and/or Pro Day data. This preview is my best attempt to explain what I see and to prepare myself on things to look for going into the Senior Bowl week of practices. *My scouting grades/takes on these players can/will change based on watching them this week but more so when their Combine and Pro Data comes in.

I will be releasing a few positions of preview scouting and grades starting 1/19 and running to 1/22. On 1/22, Tuesday, we have the official weigh ins and measurements, which I’ll be covering and reporting on the interesting results as fast as I can type them out.

1/22 (TUE) also starts the practice week 1/22-1/24, I’ll be covering what I saw/heard from prospects and coaches, etc., and reporting out that night/next day. 1/26 will be the game itself.

The first positional preview scouting will be the D-Lineman…DEs and DTs:

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DE John Cominsky, Charleston (6’4”/275) *Preview Scouting Grade = D

I’m surprised Cominsky is here and his teammate, who I think is a much better DE pass rusher, Kahzin Daniels (at NFLPA game) is not. Cominsky is strong, but I didn’t see a real pop/quickness in him…which is strange playing at the lower-level which can be an optical illusion making prospects look better. I didn’t see it in Cominsky at first glance. Looks like another ‘too slow’ DE or ‘too small’ DT. He is tough, strong and gives the effort…not sure he has the juice to be an NFL D-Lineman of note.


DE Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia (6’3”/280) *Preview Scouting Grade = D

Nice size, but low-impact on the tape I watched. Too easily blocked out of plays…too often not near the ball/play. A lot of his ‘highlights’ are him reaching and grabbing people going by and bringing them down. I don’t see great pass rush techniques or a great sense for the ball. NFL size and looks like possible NFL movement skills. NFL Combine could change his fate.

 

DE L.J. Collier, TCU (6’3”/275) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+

What I saw he was playing 4-3 DE, but looks and moves more like a 4-3 DT. I don’t see the athleticism for the next level at first glance, I see size but not quickness and his college output kinda backs that up. He’s a too slow DE or a too small DT. Possible convert to O-Line?

DE Byron Cowart, Maryland (6’4”/280) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+/C-

A very athletic 280+ pound DL prospect. Miscast as a 4-3 DE. Might work better as a 290-pound 4-3 DT or a 3-4 DE. Has the NFL movement but not a ton of plays made in college. He’s a bet on athletic upside you can mold/shape into something better.

Played at Auburn for three years, with little fanfare and then had a solid-ish season for Maryland as a senior transfer.

DE Jaylon Ferguson, La Tech (6’4”/260) *Preview Scouting Grade = C

Hard to scout properly on the preview tape, for me. Double-teamed some and run away from a lot. He wasn’t in on a lot of plays to sink your teeth into…but then you look and see 45.0 career sacks and 67.5 TFLs over 4 seasons (50 games), and he must have sacked somebody – just the tape I watched he was a non-factor and didn’t look all that fast. Tape preview was a ‘D’ for me, but the numbers are a ‘B’…so call him a ‘C’ for now.

DE Charles Omenihu (O-Men-a-who), Texas (6’5”/270) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+

Has ‘B’ or better upside – big body, long reach, good movement but wasn’t dominating blockers that often in the tape I watched and looks like he needs time in the weight room building muscle definition. There’s a ‘B’ potentially here, but I had a ‘C’ impression on first visit.

DE Jalen Jelks, Oregon (6’5”/245) *Preview Scouting Grade = C+/B-

Very tall, sleek DE. Can move like a linebacker but rush off the EDGE with power and speed. Does a nice job of getting his hands up to distract passes (7 PDs in 2017). A lot of physical tools at his disposal to work with. He has a chance to be a riser from the Senior Bowl.

DE Oshane Zimines, Old Dominion (6’3”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade = B-

Really good ‘football player’. Has nice movements off the EDGE for pass rushing. Makes some great plays, but also overruns plays or guesses wrong on stunts and is taken completely out of plays. His highlight tape seems like he’s an A-B prospect, but the more every-play tape I watched I saw more flaws…to much of him taken out of plays. He’s got talent and upside, but it needs more work at the next level. ‘A’ potential perhaps, but not immediately it doesn’t look like.

DE Carl Granderson, Wyoming (6’4”/260) *Preview Scouting Grade = B

Wow, a real disruptor. His 2017 junior season (16.0 TFLs, 8.5 sacks) highlight tape is great. Didn’t see much from him in 2018 (7.5 sacks, 3.0 TFLs), but he was getting a lot of blocking attention as well. Constantly making moves to get into the backfield to create chaos for QBs and RBs. Smart, patient pass rusher. Doesn’t just go head down at the backfield, he plays with his head up and will drop off to play the run. Long arms for a nice reach. His NFL Combine could launch him into the top 100 (or not).

DE Zach Allen, Boston College (6’4”/280) *Preview Scouting Grade = B

I’m not sure what position he will play in the pros, I just know there is a very good prospect here…and possibly a near-great prospect here.

Incredibly quick feet for 270-280 pounds…nimble like a linebacker. What I saw he played the EDGE in a 4-3 and some 4-3 DT and was a menace. Almost unblockable. His every snap was a chore for his blocker…what I love to see in a DL prospect. Reminds me a bit of Carl Nassib.

Could lose 10-15 pounds and be an amazing 4-3 DE/OLB. Could add 5-10 of muscle and be an radical 4-3 DT. Could lose 20-25 pounds and be a middle linebacker. Lots of possibilities…it just depends which way a team wants to go with him. All I know is – he’s really good and has upside and options.

DE Montez Sweat, Miss State (6’5”/245) *Preview Scouting Grade = B+/A-

Has the body of a wiry, muscular small forward in the NBA. Sleek, great reach. Moves around adeptly, but what’s really nice about Sweat is that he is a talented pass rusher (led the SEC in sacks in 2017 and #2 in 2018) but also plays with max effort every plan and plays the pass and the run. He’s not a head-down and blitz the backfield every play…he’s a very smart, very agile 4-3 DE who will dance with a blocker and then shed him at the right time to halt a blocker. Weaves in an out of traffic nicely.

If Sweat has a nice NFL Combine for measurables, he’ll be a 1st-round prospect.

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DT Renell Wren, Arizona State (6’5”/295) *Preview Scouting Grade = D

Terrible tape that I saw. His weak stats/output don’t lie. Nearly every play I watched, Wren was blocked out of. At a two-second glance, you’d swear he’s the best DT in Mobile but when they play…different story. The body and athleticism seem to be there but not much else is.

DT Greg Gaines, Washington (6’2”/315) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+

They list him at 315 pounds, but he may be more like 330+. Huge, slower DT, a plugger up the middle. Has decent push/burst for his size but he looked like he was laboring moving around the field in the tape I saw.

DT Khalen Saunders, W. Illinois (6’1”/300) *Preview Scouting Grade = D+

Big dude for FCS…manhandled people at times, but in D1/prospect terms he looks more like an out of shape, but physical/strong plug up the middle. I’m guessing he’ll struggle at the Senior Bowl, but we’ll see if he can prove me wrong.

DT Dontavius Russell, Auburn (6’2”/320) *Preview Scouting Grade = C-

An NFL body for sure. Gets out of the blocks well but runs out of steam quickly. Useful to take up space but no ‘wow’ factor.

DT Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M (6’3”/305) *Preview Scouting Grade = C

Good feet, good size…he moves pretty well at 300+ pounds. Gives a good effort on most all his plays. Works the run and can bull rush on the pass. A legit NFL body. I don’t see signs of a star but is NFL worthy.

 

DT Isaiah Buggs, Alabama (6’2”/285) *Preview Scouting Grade = B-

Very good athlete for 280+ pounds. Very quick and nimble. Played a lot of 4-3 DE in 2018, that I saw. Could be a freakish 4-3 DT if he gets up to 290+ pounds. He looks ready to go for the NFL. More DT than 3-4 DE prospect.

DT Gerald Willis, Miami (6’2”/300) *Preview Scouting Grade = B

#2 in the ACC with 18.0 TFLs in 2018. A really nice football player – motor always going, never gives up on plays. Very nimble for 300+ pounds. Finds ways to get to the backfield, to the ballcarrier. Impressive tape. With some work on his body he might become an ‘A’ prospect/player.


DT Daylon Mack, TexasA&M (6’1”/327) *Preview Scouting Grade = B+/A-

A late add from the East-West game, where he dominated there all week. Basically, an unblockable defensive tackle. You either double-team him or he’s lifting you up and putting you into the backfield as a solo blocker. He may not get a bunch of tackles or sacks, but he just corrupts the line for the rest of his team.

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>