2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Missouri’s Defensive End Kony Ealy
To prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft InsidetheFilmRoom is breaking down the best 5 prospects from every position. This week we are examining the top pass rushing prospects and we are focusing our attention on Missouri’s Kony Ealy today.
With Aldon Smith and Sheldon Richardson leaving Missouri early in recent years the Tigers needed someone to step up and fill the void on the defensive front. While the general media will promote Michael Sam as that hero– and his actions to come out as gay are just that, heroic– the man on the field that was the key to an underrate Missouri front was Kony Ealy.
With his massive 6’4 frame and 34+ inch arms, Ealy dominated SEC offensive linemen earning himself an 1st Team All-SEC selection. He is an interesting NFL prospect because he has potential at 4-3 defensive end, 3-4 defensive end and even 3-4 rush linebacker depending on how he develops his body. Regardless of where he lines up Ealy is sure to make an impact with his length, versaltility and awareness
Size/Length: Ideal frame, extremely long arms, under developed body that has a lot of potential, could slim down and become a 3-4 OLB or beef up and move inside.
Solid Run Defender: Uses his size/arm length to stack and shed blockers, solid in contain, crashes down from the weak side well and has the strength to bring down ball carriers single handedly.
Versatility: Capable of playing as a 4-3 DE, 4-3 DT, 3-4 DE and 3-4 OLB, really strived when moved inside on passing downs, exposed OG with his quickness and can play in any system in the NFL.
Clogs Passing Lanes: Has great awareness of passing lanes, long arms to reach up and bat down passes, sniffs out quick screens/throws and deflected 13 passes in his two seasons as a starter.
Explosiveness: Lacks the elite burst/explosion to beat tackles on the speed rush, decent first step, slightly rigid, unable to dip and turn the corner and limits his upside/pass rushing ability significantly.
High Pad Level: Plays too high, loses his leverage and strength, seriously influences his ability to anchor against the run, allows offensive linemen to engage him and will need to be refined if he moves inside.
Overall: With his versatility and potential, Ealy is truly an exciting prospect. Right now he is slightly raw– he gets too high and doesn’t have many pass rushing moves– but what ever team drafts him has the potential to mold him into something special.
A lot of draft experts are predicting Ealy to stand up and become an 3-4 OLB that moves inside on passing downs. While I love the thought of Ealy playing inside, his lack of explosiveness limits his pass rushing ability and makes his conversion into a 3-4 OLB a strange one to me. Personally, I like the though of Ealy beefing up– he has the frame for it– and playing as an 3-4 defensive end in a 2 gap system that will utilize his long arms to stack and shed blockers.
Because of his wide range of potential positions it is hard to predict exactly where Ealy will be drafted, but it safe to say he will be selected somewhere in the middle of the 2nd round.
Prediction: Middle of 2nd Round
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