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Jordan Willis, EDGE: Tough And Relentless, He Gets After the QB

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2017 Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Kansas at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Willis, EDGE
School: Kansas State | Conference: BIG-12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 255 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Brian Robinson

College Statistics

Player Overview

Jordan Willis was quietly one of the most productive defensive ends in the country at Kansas State. Fans of the Wildcats and the BIG-12 knew him well but he wasn't one of the biggest names in this year’s EDGE class. Then the NFL combine happened. Willis surprised spectators both familiar and unfamiliar with how well he tested at the combine. Willis is no doubt a good player, he can bend a bit and collapse the pocket, he plays with strength and power, he targets the ball on his rush producing turnover chances, and he can finish plays with a bit of burst. I think Willis’ combine numbers are a bit of smoke and mirrors (not to take anything away from him) but the tape shows a powerful straight line rusher, not a spectacular and explosive athlete. He’s a hard-working player whose coach has sung his praises his entire career at Kansas State. Willis seems to be drawing interest from both 4-3 and 3-4 base teams, his combine numbers will really have to stick for me to see him as an OLB due to the potential coverage responsibilities which he never had at K-State. Never the less I also think Willis is an ideal fit as a 4-3 rush end.

Strengths

  • Prototypical size for a 4-3 rush end but has the frame to add a bit more weight if needed.
  • Good vision into the backfield and anticipation to get off blocks and fill gaps against the run. Excellent pursuit ability, effort, and motor, he will run and chase guys until the whistle blows
  • Plays with great power and strength. Has good bullrush and arm extension. Shows good leverage and is able to sink off the edge and take advantage of OT’s outside shoulder.
  • Is a finisher. Wraps up and secures tackles and sacks. Has turnover ability as he targets the ball on his rush.

Weaknesses

  • Not seeing the combine explosiveness he posted on tape (still a productive player), did I miss it?
  • Lacks true flexibility and tight bend around the edge and is more of a straight line guy. If he could adjust his bend and rush angle by a foot I can only image what his TFL and sack totals would be.
  • Movements look a bit labored and tight especially if he rushes on a stunt, would like him to develop some counter pass rush moves and exploit the OL’s inside shoulder more.
  • Coverage ability is a big question mark was not asked to do it a K-State.

Let’s see his work:

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

When Jay Gruden says the Skins would like to get more players to rush the passer I’d like to know what that means exactly. I would assume he means he wants to get players with that skill across the front 7 but its going to be pretty interesting which players are determined as fits in Greg Manuskys defense. Jordan Willis is a pass rusher in every sense of the term but its hard to project him as a 3 down OLB when considering how the team's defense has used OLBs in the past. I already mentioned he screams 4-3 rush DE to me but I can also see him as a really nice fit as a hand in the dirt 9-tech. That's where I think Willis can shine in a 3-4 base defense and all of its sub package variations and it is very similar to how Ryan Kerrigan is lined up on rush downs. Will the Skins be willing to use both OLBs this way under Manusky? I would not waste the time to teach him how to cover tight ends and running backs. Willis is a hand in the dirt pass rusher all day and should have one focus: get after the QB. I really like Willis’ as a player, he has a great skill set and can actually shed blocks and works through the whistle. He’s one of the top pass rushing talents in the draft and if he is still around in the second round when the Redskins pick he should be considered.