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Defensive Line - A review


clayton163v
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Defensive line – I list the defensive lineman in Ourlads order of preference and I omit the two-gap guys who do not fit our penetrating scheme.  I remind the board that Ourlads is a professional scouting service that sells to the NFL, is invited to the combine and is welcome at every single college campus in America.  That is just not true of the internet jockeys.  Sorry.  The others are just entertainers.  The Ourlads draft guide is a common sight on the desks of NFL teams at the draft.  They know better than me.  They know better than you.   This is what THEY think.  I have found them remarkably accurate over the years.   The guide costs $25 bucks and they will e-mail you a PDF. 

I spent more time writing this since we pick so early.  I hope that three of these guys are Jets.  Two edges and a penetrating DT.  This is the Jewelry store, everything here is expensive. 

Hutchinson – The #1 pick in the draft.  He is surely gone when we pick.  Despite the hype, his type of lineman is neither hard to find year in and year out nor possessed of standout traits.  His best trait?  Great feet.  Nor did he put up awesome tape until last year when he was joined – for the first time – by a bona fide Robin to his Batman in Ojabo.  Nevertheless, he is worthy of the 4th pick due to his advanced hand fighting technique without which he is nothing more than a stout DE with limited range.   Said Ourlads “his tool set and explosion may not be top tier but his constant impact on the game will be”.  His ceiling is also his floor, there is very little upside.  There is a lot to be said for that.  May the Jets be forced to choose between he and Thibs.  Hey, it’s before the draft, I can dream.  If he works out, he is Joey Bosa.  I must point out he and Karlaftis are very similar . . . (see below).

Thibs – The rarest player in the draft.  Elite first step pass rush combined with a non-stop motor.  He offers a complete game and will start right away.  Writes Ourlads “upper tier first step and burst” he “works through the shoulder of the blocker with consistent ease whether rushing the passer or defending the run.”  He attacks the inside shoulder of OTs with great speed and violence.  They also call him a “high effort defender” who is an “elite run defender who can stack and shed” (some guys are deeply full of sh!t and it is not Ourlads).  They point out that he needs to develop more rush moves as he “lacks variety and unpredictability” (the opposite of Hutch and his finished product).  He needs to use “better technique” and “strengthen his base” in the NFL.  In other words, despite his incredible tool set he still has upside.  If he works out, he is Lawrence Taylor.  The only such player in this draft.  Those who think they see bust are thinking about some of the guys below.  He has no holes in his game and possesses range, length, speed and burst that Hutch and the rest simply do not.  I try to be honest.  Ourlads ranks him 5th behind Hutch, Neal, Ekwonu and Hamilton. 

Travon Walker – Has an awesome tool set and he blew up the combine.  I will not review his studly performance.  But let’s be honest.  What is he?  I do not know and that is a problem.  I only know what he is not.  He is not an edge rusher.  His game is the power game.  There is no bend.  He projects a lot like our JFM.  A DE who moves inside to the three technique on passing downs.  For the life of me I cannot tell the difference between him and guys like Demarvin Leal (see below).   Then there are the twin worries of his awesome supporting cast at Georgia (he played alongside Wyatt, Davis, Quay Walker and Channing Tindall)  and his non-existent production throughout his career.  Virtually zilch.  I would not take him for our scheme until the 35th pick and would take Wyatt first in a heartbeat.     

George Karlaftis – A virtual clone of Hutch.  Ourlads writes that he is a “top shelf technician” who is an “every down weapon”.  His “hand fighting and footwork maximize his impact”.  They also call him a “gym-rat” and a “film-nut”   “He is an elite hand fighter with an array of moves”.  Like Hutch, they do not mention speed or burst as positive.  Like Hutch, he does not chase the play.  Like Hutch, his 40 was 4.73 (Thibs runs 4.5 at 260 lbs).  You can find guys like him at the top of most drafts.  This draft has three guys like this (see Johnson below).  Is he worthy at #4?  No.  Is he worthy of #10?   Yes.  Grab him.  His ceiling is his floor.  He can help anybody just like Hutch. 

Jermaine Johnson – He transferred from Georgia to Florida State to get onto the field where he turned in a command performance.  Another stout DE whose hand fighting technique keeps OT hands off his chest while he works his way upfield without surrendering his gap.  Writes Ourlads “brings a high ceiling and floor” (sound familiar?) that “lacks burst as a pure edge rusher”.  He is an elite run defender who plays a violent game.  I would love him at #35 but not at #10.  Though he is similar to Karlaftis and Hutch, they are finished products and Johnson is a one year starter (see Zach Wilson).  Experience matters.  To be fair, Johnson offers length that Hutch and Karlaftis do not.  He is also faster with a 4.6 40.   

Jordan Davis – I will mention him briefly.  He is a two down run stuffer with conditioning issues.  He reminds me of the Fridge who could also run.  He also reminds me of Big Cody, a total bust.  Nope.

Devonte Wyatt – Another Georgia lineman.  But this one is the straw that stirs the drink.  He is the perfect interior lineman for the Jets.  He is a penetrating 3 technique who can also two gap and defeat double teams.  Writes Ourlads “he can beat one on one blockers with an array of post-snap strategies and skills.”  He “plays as fast as any DT in the league right now” and still has upside.  I love this guy.   I think Saleh does too.  But where do you take him?  He is worthy at 10 but what about the WRs?  Decisions, decisions.   Easy choice at 35.

Boye Mafe – A lightning quick first step makes him a dangerous man.  “At his best coming off the edge in a wide alignment.”  Sound familiar?  Has a variety of well developed pass rush moves with an “excellent arm under” to bend the edge.  I like him more than Ojabo and so does Ourlads.  So what is the catch?  He can be blown off the ball by NFL tackles when they run the ball at him.  He will need to develop in order to be an every down player.   But he offers instant pass rush on day one.  Has the explosion, burst and refined technique.  An easy choice at 35.

Arnold Ebiketie – Has standout twitch and length though a bit short for an edge (6’ 2”).  Plays with high energy.  Fast hands and long arms with advanced technique make him an instant difference maker at the edge.  Not much bull rush and will have trouble against the run until he develops his lower half.  Another worthy choice at 35.      

David Ojabo – Despite the injury, his awesome first step and tremendous bend give him “true prototype tools”.  I note that Hutch did little to nothing until Ojabo took the field.  A one year starter, he is a one trick pony.  I doubt the Jets are buyers in the 2d and I expect that will be his price.  An easy salt pick at 69.

 

Perrion Winfrey – Violent penetrating tackle who moves off the ball with “explosive hands and elite length” (35 inch arms and 10 inch hands).  Has room for more muscle mass.  Fits the Jets as a rotational DT.  Not built for double teams or two gapping, but that is not the idea of the wide nine played by the Jets.  A viable pick at 35.  He is long gone by #69 fellas.

Logan Hall – A true enigma.  Has the ideal frame for an edge at 6’ 6” 280 lbs but plays DT.  A true every down threat who is “best suited for a hybrid scheme” (like we run) as part of a rotation.  This guy has a ton of good film.  Some scouts are afraid of his shape (see next guy).   Also a fair pick at 35.  Long gone at 69.

Demarvin Leal – My favorite DT in the draft for the money.  What a weird build.  It describes a duck.  “Huge bubble butt but thin from that point down to his ankles”.  He tested poorly at the combine but the film does not lie.  He has late bend, great feet and a ton of length that makes him a bear inside.  Ourlads writes “he best fits into a role where guys are rotated and moved around often”.  Sound familiar?  “Has the kind of get off and rush moves that will cause headaches inside”.  “Effective in both space and in traffic”.  Before this season he was a top 10 pick.  Before the combine he was sure fire 1st round.  Most worthy at 35.  He is trouble wherever you line him up.  Yes, the top of the 2d is expensive.   That is the price of a pass rusher.  Unlike some of the guys above, he waged war alone at Texas A&M.  To be respected.

Drake Jackson – More of a 3-4 linebacker prospect who does not fit the Jets.  He will be a good pass rusher right off the bat.  But his ability to develop into a starting DE is limited.  I pass.

Sam Williams – Ditto.

Dominique Robinson – A WR convert if you can believe that.  Has elite traits and room for more muscle but is a work in progress.  He has an incredibly high ceiling.  Coming from a small school (Miami of Ohio) he will be transformed by an NFL program if he applies himself.  I am a happy buyer at 111.

Josh Paschal – Had melanoma and recovered.  A true inside out threat whose best trait is his versatility.  Powerful and relentless, he can play anywhere along the line.  Does not offer the instant pass rush but can play on all three downs.  Cannot bend the edge but rarely loses gap integrity.  Another gym rat and film junky.  He is a good fit for us.  I buy at 111. 

Phidarian Mathis – Another penetrating tackle.  Truly disruptive with elite traits (35 inch arms and 10.5 inch hands).  His middle finger makes a hot dog look small.  Has quality footwork.  Still needs development but offers interior pass rush right away.  I am a buyer at 111.  Not there?  Too bad. 

Matthew Butler – A three technique DT with an explosive first step.  Cannot two gap or handle double teams.  But he fits us just dandy.  I am a buyer at 111.

Myjai Sanders – The Cincinnati monster himself.  This guy can rush the passer.  His draft stock in the free fall from a poor combine.  He has trouble keeping his weight up.  If he plays at 250, he is an NFL edge.  If he is at 230, he gets cut.  The film does not lie.  He has a high ceiling due to his many high end traits.  He can play on the edge yet is effective in the phone booth.  Violent finisher and a key player in Cincinnati’s success.  I am a happy buyer at 111.

Zach Carter – A Travon Walker clone.  Yes, Walker has better traits.  But aside from the 40 time, not much better.  But Carter was very productive something that Walker cannot say.  Has true inside out versatility and he can even two gap at 280 lbs.  You can line him up anywhere and he will produce.  I love this guy and think he will be available at 111.    

Kalia Davis – Another penetrating DT.  Truly elite traits.  Has played five games since 2019 due to covid in 2020 and an ACL in week five.  I am a buyer in the 6th he is a great fit.

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