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2020 NFL Combine Preview Scouting – DE/EDGE

Air Date:
February 25, 2020

My Combine previews of each prospect attending the event is me taking 20-40 minutes and reviewing some game tape and going over career numbers/output and some background info – just trying to get a quick feel for the player and reporting out a few sentences on what I see. So we can watch/look at the Combine results aided with more info going in.

Some of the players I’ve previewed in 2019 and/or at the 2020 East-West Shrine or 2020 Senior Bowl weeks as well. The QBs have been scouted deeper and run through our scouting models already. Overall, it’s my best ‘flash’ opinion without going deeper with the tape or having the true measurables for the prospects.

Once we have the measurables, we’re off to the races with deeper studies and bigger reports up to and through the NFL Draft – but for now, here’s my quicker take…subject to change/being wrong once I get deeper into the studies with them:

 

 

EDGE Qaadir Sheppard, Mississippi, 6’3”/252 (Grade: D-)

Looks the part. Moves pretty well and gives good effort, but then you look at his entire game/season on tape and he barely makes any plays – 9 solo tackles in 11 games last season with 0.0 sacks. That won’t fly in the NFL if you can’t do anything in college, as a starter.

  

EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame, 6’4”/258 (Grade: D)

More OLB than EDGE rusher…he’s more of a sneak attack rusher like Leonard Floyd. Too thin-framed/lanky to take on offensive tackles regularly, has to beat them with speed or stunts past them…cannot beat them one-on-one traditionally. Can move around well, can drop into coverage. Has something to offer but not a major asset (just like Leonard Floyd has been mostly meaningless for the Bears).

  

EDGE D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina, 6’3”/260 (Grade: D)

From my Senior Bowl Preview…

I didn’t see anything here. Watching him against Alabama…he was eaten up by blockers 1-on-1. Barely noticeable, low impact player. 6.0 sacks as a sophomore was his best pass rush season and 6.5 sacks in two seasons since (missed some of 2018 with injury).

 

DE Malcolm Roach, Texas, 6’3”/290 (Grade: D)

What I saw was a guy easily gassed, not in great shape. Has size/athleticism of a potential NFL player…but he wasn’t effective or possessing any pass rush moves on the tape I saw. He was just existing on the field, was my impression.

 

DE Rob Windsor, Penn State, 6’3”/285 (Grade: D)

From my Senior Bowl Preview…

Undersized college 4-3 scheme DT…with his foot speed, and playing 4-3 DT, he shoulda been much more productive. His numbers were underwhelming in 2019 and his tape matched that…way too easily blocked away by one blocker.

 

EDGE Azur Kamara, Kansas, 6’4”/235 (Grade: D)

Athletic, wiry, long reach OLB/EDGE prospect that doesn’t look like a ready-made prospect. He’s very raw. A bit thinner framed/easier to block. Not a technician, more of a ‘chaser’. Better games/numbers came against FCS teams to start season. He may be too raw for the NFL to waste a lot of time/a draft pick on right now.

 

EDGE Trevon Hill, Miami, 6’3”/238 (Grade: D)

From my Senior Bowl preview…

Good size and reach, but another ‘looks good on paper’ prospect, to me. On tape, he plays slow and I saw him get worn down and sluggish quickly. Didn’t appear in great shape but played hard…may have just burned himself out at times on the two games I watched. Again, there are some tools to work with here for the NFL, but I did not see a ‘wow’ prospect here…I saw a dime-a-dozen guy. 5.5 sacks was his high for a college season (2017).

 

DE LaDarius Hamilton, North Texas, 6’3”/270 (Grade: D)

I want to see how his weight/size measurements come in before making too harsh a judgment. He can really move for 280-290 pounds but is a little more average at 260-270 pounds. I’ve seen all kinds of various listings on him. He plays with high energy and effort, but I fear his body size, movement skills are not great for the NFL. I could be missing it here.

 

EDGE Kendall Coleman, Syracuse, 6’3”/253 (Grade: D+)

From my East-West Preview…

Solid college 4-3 DE…had a 10.0 sack season on 2018 (12 games), including a 2.0 sack game against Clemson. Fell to 4.0 sacks in 2019 (12 games). Looks like a basic good/OK athlete off the edge and has some skill getting to the QB – but doesn’t show NFL ‘wow’ abilities or any special size, etc.

 

EDGE Jonathan Garvin, Miami, 6’3”/250 (Grade: D+)

Has the instant look/body/appearance of a top NFL EDGE prospect, but watching him play…he has some decent north-south speed/get off but not great going east-west/chasing, and he just looks more stiff than fluid moving around in general.

 

EDGE Kenny Willekes, Michigan State 6’3”/260 (Grade: D+)

High energy/effort. Just doesn’t look like the speed of an NFL starting DL or OLB. However, he’s smart, gives effort+, and finds ways to make plays. He might be a better prospect slimming down and moving to interior linebacker. He might ‘will’ his way to an NFL field.

 

 

DE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa, 6’3”/268 (Grade: D+/C-)

From my Senior Bowl preview…

Has sweet NFL size-speed-effort. Plays with a high motor. The downside…he needs to add body muscle fast. I don’t recall ever watching a Senior Bowl DE prospect get pancake blocked so much. He can speed around, past blockers but when he gets locked up with a blocker, he has no chance to come off and make a play. His size alone is NFL-worthy of consideration.

 

DE Jabari Zuniga, Florida, 6’4”/246, (Grade: D+/C-)

From my Senior Bowl Preview: Has the sleek, muscular body and quickness of an NFL 4-3 DE…but I didn’t see much on his tape that let me know he had that quickness. Didn’t really dominate blockers. Not a lot of moves…just tries to out-quick blockers. He’s a raw talent to work with, but not an insta-star that I see.

 

EDGE Alton Robinson, Syracuse, 6’4”/260 (Grade: D+/C-)

From my Senior Bowl preview…

UPDATE: Was pretty disruptive at times, especially in the game itself. I still don’t see a great prospect, but he’s more OK/good than I thought, perhaps.

Org. Comments: Has the NFL size. Not bad movement skills, but a questionable ‘get off’ on the snap. Not a ‘wow’ pop off the edge. The size, but not the ‘pop’ at a glance. He did have 17.0 TFLs and 10.0 sacks in the 2018 season and halved those numbers in 2019. There’s a body to work with here but possibly not an elite edge rusher.


EDGE Derrek Tuszka, North Dakota State, 6’5”/246 (Grade: D+/C-)

From my Senior Bowl Preview…

Really nice footwork for a 6’4”+/245+ DE prospect. There are some raw tools here to work with as a 4-3 DE pass rusher. Can drop into coverage as well. I’d like to see his measurables to confirm but he appears to have NFL speed/agility on tape. 12.5 sacks/17.5 TFLs in 2019. 

 

EDGE James Smith-Williams, North Carolina State, 6’3”/265 (Grade: D-/C+)

At first glance, he looks like an ‘A’ grade 4-3 DE pass rush monster…but he has some great pass rush moments surrounded by a lot of nothing. Inconsistent and injured on and off his whole career. In 2018, he played 11 games and had 9.0 TFLs/6.0 sacks as his best season…only season he played more than 6 games. There is a legit NFL athlete/prospect here but there are red flags to go with it.

 

EDGE Khalid Kareem, Notre Dame, 6’4”/265 (C-/D+)

From my Senior Bowl preview…

Has the look for sure. Very long arms. Team captain. All the intangibles and the eyeball test, but then you watch the tape and look at the numbers and it’s kinda ‘meh’. Slow pop off the snap. A bit lanky so it takes time for his body to get in sync and moving at top speed…and his top speed isn’t anything special. Maybe if he drops 10 pounds there is something. There are some NFL pieces to work with but not a ready-made star watching him against better blockers.

 

EDGE Darrell Taylor, Tennessee, 6’4”/255 (Grade: C-)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

Has the prototypical size and the movement skills of a starting 4-3 DE in the NFL. The problem I saw was he was way too easily blocked out of the play, not creating a bit of pressure way too often (watching him against Georgia). He didn’t seem to offer any moves to fluster his blockers. He didn’t seem to make a great surge on better blockers. He also looked like he gave up on plays pretty quickly and just jogged around after his first surge was thwarted. Physical tools will get him drafted, but he has work to do from there. Not sure if his heart is fully in it.

 

EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama, 6’5”/252 (Grade: C-)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

The initial look of a ‘B’ or ‘A’ grade DE/OLB prospect, but the more I watched…the more I saw a lazy 4-3 DE who gave a little surge off the snap and then drifted around too much. No real fire/desire shown. He gets a decent scouting grade because his size/movement ability is NFL-worthy if anyone can coach it up. He’s probably a pass rush specialist for the NFL in a 4-3 as a DE.

 

DE Nick Coe, Auburn, 6’4”/280 (Grade: C-)

Pretty nice feet for his listed size of 290 pounds, but I cannot imagine he’s really that big. Looks more 270-280…and is just ‘OK’ speed off the edge at that size. I think Coe would be better suited adding 10+ pounds and trying to a quicker 4-3 DT but most of his work in college was as an OLB/DE…a big but slow one.

 

DE Larrell Murchison, North Carolina State, 6’2”/291 (Grade: C)

From my Senior Bowl preview: Pretty quick, nimble DT prospect. Played some 3-4 scheme DE, and some 3-4 scheme NT. Was too quick or too overpowering for blockers at times, but his performance was erratic…great games followed by a stretch of quiet games. The movement skills are there for a quick, slightly undersized 4-3 DT. Might not be a real fit/skillset for 3-4 DE at the next level. Too small for 3-4 NT. Got some NFL skills, but it may be more backup level abilities…and then if he drifts in the NFL, he’ll be bounced from it quickly.

 

EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah, 6’2”/265 (Grade: C)

From my Senior Bowl scouting…

Update: Had a pretty nice week. A lot of people were talking/buzzing about him, and I didn’t see the superstar some saw but Anae was faring well in the practice 1-on-1s and really made an impact in the game itself. I could be the one not getting it.

Org. Comments: All I saw was Anae trying to speed around his blocker to the outside, and when that didn’t work he just turned and jogged and watched what was going on. Good NFL size. Mediocre speed-agility. Low energy/low motor (except trying to get a sack). What I saw…I’m not interested.

 

EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State, 6’4”/264 (Grade: C/C+)

I wasn’t overly impressed with his tape. Watching him against Ohio State, he was blocked one-on-one most of the game. He really didn’t make the left tackle sweat or require a double teams. Gross-Matos has size and decent movement abilities but I was underwhelmed watching him play and his numbers in games aren’t all that impressive either. He’s an NFL body and worker, but I don’t see any star potential.

 

EDGE Tipa Galeai, Utah State, 6’4”/235 (Grade: C+)

Very natural pass rusher. Sweet feet. Very agile and filled with athletic moves to get to the backfield. Has a raw upside. However, too small/slender for immediate NFL impact. He’s going to need to add 5-10 pounds of muscle, so that he isn’t so easily blocked out of plays so easily by bigger O-tackles. There’s a high upside prospect here with some work potentially.

 

DE Jason Strowbridge, UNC, 6’4”/285, (Grade: C+)

From my Senior Bowl Preview…

UPDATE: He was a big winner for a lot of people this week, but I think he got attention for his batting down of some passes that were nice but I wanted to see him crushing blockers and ballcarriers, and he was OK there but not a ‘wow’ guy. He accounted for himself well here and maybe he is a legit 3-4 DE more than I thought in my preview.

Org. Comments: Very active big man…a lot of energy and motion from a guy his size. He played 4-3 DT and 4-3 DE for South Carolina. He profiles like a 3-4 DE for the NFL. He’s active enough and has the size for it. Could add 10+ pounds and be an interesting 4-3 DT, but more likely is a 3-4 DE prospect. A legit one for the NFL. He wasn’t ‘wow’ on tape, but he did impress with his sheer effort/motor with his size and ability. Tools to work with there.

 

EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida, 6’4”/263 (Grade: C+)

From my Senior Bowl preview…

UPDATE: Made some plays during the week and in the game that were pretty impressive, and then would go missing for too long. There’s something here but I’m not sure why it’s not working better/more effectively.

Org. Comments: Decent college DE. Good effort, but very slow off the snap for the pros…lost most of his pass rush efforts to the blocker, not making a real dent. He is above-average strong. He will push a blocker back some, but more times than not he’s too slow off the block and then just gets danced with by the offensive tackle handling him.

 

EDGE Alex Highsmith, UNC-Charlotte, 6’4”/242 (Grade: C+)

From my East-West Shrine Preview

The only legit NFL D-Line prospect at the East-West game, in my book. Reminds me of a smaller Maxx Crosby. Great pop off the snap. Quick to shed blockers and close in on ballcarriers. 21.5 TFLs and 15.0 sacks in 13 games in 2019 season. He really came into his own as a senior. Looks like he could be a 4-3 DE or a 3-4 OLB maybe. He just has a different gear, ability, energy off the edge than any of these other East-West prospects. The first time I said ‘wow’ through watching 40%+ of the defensive prospects listed for this game, so far.

 

EDGE Anfernee Jennings, Alabama, 6’2”/260 (Grade: B-)

From my Senior Bowl previews…

UPDATE: Did not help himself here. Questions on his drop off in play in 2019 were further fueled with a non-dominant performance at the Senior Bowl. He has a ton of natural talent, but it doesn’t seem to be focused or improving. He’s falling fast for scouts. Would have been a 1st-rounder a couple years ago.

Org. Comments: Listed as an ILB for the Senior Bowl, it could be a typo. He played mostly 4-3 DE for Alabama. He reminds me a bit of a lesser Harold Landry rushing off the edge. Jennings feels like a 3-4 OLB vs. a 4-3 DE prospect. He could transition to ILB. However, I don’t see any evidence of an interior linebacker…he seems content to just want to rush the edge. He looked like an ‘A’ in 2018, and then a lazy ‘C’ in 2019…which now I know why Alabama wasn’t as good as advertised in 2019 – a lot of their top prospects looked like they were protecting their draft stock in 2019/not playing with the same fire as in their breakout seasons. Jennings has NFL ‘A’ attributes, but his play didn’t improve in college…he may not have the internal fire to go with the physical capabilities.

 

EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU, 6’4”/250 (Grade: B)

Classic speed rusher off the edge but can drop back into coverage and play the run. Good size, all muscle, athletic…a really solid prospect all the way around.

  

EDGE Chauncey Rivers, Mississippi State, 6’2”/265 (Grade: B/B+)

One of the most athletically gifted DL prospects I’ve previewed for the Combine. His true measurables may launch him to an ‘A’ grade. He is listed 6’3”/275, and if he is…he should be a top 50-75 prospect for sure. He moves like a speedy linebacker – and if he is doing that at 275 pounds, he could be a first-round prospect. The smaller he comes in the more natural/the more things make sense that he’s a good/slightly short EDGE prospect who could play three-down OLB. I really liked what I saw here…the DL that may have impressed me/caught me off guard the most. But there are questions on his true size and thus fit in the NFL.

 

EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State, 6’3”/260 (Grade: A)

Relentless pass rusher with NFL speed-quickness. 2019 MWC Defensive Player of the Year. #1 all-time MWC sack leader (all-time since 2005). Reminds me a bit of Bradley Chubb – isn’t just a one trick pony, head down pass rusher oblivious to everything else…he drops into coverage quite a bit and played true OLB several plays on the tape I watched…playing off the ball with the linebacker alignments. Has a case for 2nd-best pass rush prospect in this draft.

 

DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa, 6’5”/280 (Grade: A)

You could argue he’s the best pass rush DE/EDGE prospect in this draft, a top 5 pick type prospect…a little bigger Nick Bosa. The Combine will confirm or deny if he’s a top 3-5 or just a top 30 prospect. Shows great size and great feet. He is a near perfect-looking specimen for a D-Line. Could go 4-3 DE or maybe 3-4 DE as well.


EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State, 6’5”/265 (Grade: A/A+)

Unblockable. His feet are so fast, so nimble he can just about zig zag or just straight burst past any solo blocker. He’s a marvel. He will be a pass rushing force in the NFL. His downsides – has the flaw of Joey Bosa or Anthony Barr (two that came to mind)…just tries to get into the backfield every play and isn’t concerned about anything else. He allows running plays a bunch because he’s rushing around the outside and leaving a big gap. Young also gives up quick on plays, somewhat because he’s deep into the backfield before he realizes the play is long gone elsewhere. That’s nitpicking. What he can do is beat any blocker one-on-one and that’s a superior gift for an NFL defense to utilize. 



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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 >>