Kingsley Keke, DL
School: Texas A&M | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 288 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd Round
NFL Comparison: Rasheem Green
Former Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin secured Kingsley Keke’s commitment to the program in 2015. Keke said it was a hard choice because he always envisioned himself going to play football at Texas but was eventually swayed by Sumlin’s pitch about how there were going to build the program’s defense and his role in that. Keke did get much playing time until his sophomore season and even then he was competing for reps in a stacked position group that featured Myles Garrett, Zay Henderson, Daeshon Hall, and several others. Still Keke was able to make his mark as a rotational defensive tackle and posted some promising production. Keke’s sack and tackle for loss production dropped his junior season even as he got more playing time due to work the linebackers were putting in. He had a breakout season this past year. He changed his jersey number he dropped 20 pounds and he started playing some defensive end in addition to playing defensive tackle. His quickness and athleticism were on full display on the field. While he was posting career best production he was also the best player on the A&M defensive line. Keke confirmed his elite athletic numbers through testing at the combine. Now he figures to be a late day 2 selection and teams will be enamored by his raw potential.
- Good size, excellent athleticism, quickness, speed, and lengths for the position.
- Keke wins with his length and initial quickness. He has a few counters and attacking moves at his disposal including a spin, bullrush, and swim. He takes advantage of interior linemen with these moves and can quickly get them off balance and work his way into the backfield.
- Has position versatility and should be able to play defensive tackle or defensive end on both strong and weak sides at the next level.
- Closing burst and effort is great.
- Technique is lacking. If he doesn’t win with his quickness he gets stuck in the mud and neutralized. Needs to learn how to use his hands and disengage. More of a flash player right now.
- Read and react ability and overall awareness seems delayed. Keke’s value right now is more as a pass rusher and less as a run stopper. It seems he can get so caught up fighting with his assignment he can lose track of where the ball is and runners and go right by him.
- Play speed and effort are inconsistent. There are plays where he’s literally trotting in pursuit and the whistle hasn’t been blown yet. Not a good look.
- Opted to skip the bench at the combine. One of the biggest criticisms of his game has been his play strength. He simply is not as strong as some of his opposition and doesn’t have the technical skills to overcome it.
Let’s see his work:
RT @StevenVanOver: DL Kingsley Keke working through chaff down the line and enveloping the ball carrier for no gain THIS will make scouts salivate #SeniorBowl #NFLDraft #NFL pic.twitter.com/NDHwktf6vp https://t.co/TG9xsvFOAy— da Sports Commish (@daSportsCommish) January 28, 2019
Finished watching tape and accumulating draft profile notes on several Aggie defenders. Really impressed with the emergence of Daylon Mack this season. Also impressed with Kingsley Keke's athletic ability and how it could translate into the league with more coaching/work.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) November 14, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Keke certainly has the athletic skill set to be a dominant defensive lineman at the next level. However there have been a lot of athletic freaks who have fallen hard in the NFL because the technical part of the playing the game just never came to them. Aside from the need to hit the weights and build strength all of Keke’s shortcomings are technique related. I think Keke can go either way (success or fail) and the team that drafts him will have to have confidence that he will consume and apply what they teach. If anyone can teach a defensive lineman technique and the nuances of the position its Redskins defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. If the Redskins draft Keke it would be the strongest vote of confidence in Jim. If you are looking for a positive indicator for his ability to learn though you should be encouraged by knowing that Elijah Robinson formally of Baylor and Temple and former position coach of Matt Ioannadis was hired before the 2018 season and helped coach Keke who did have his best year this past season. It would be silly, despite the starters being set for now, for the team to ignore a historically strong defensive line group in the draft this year. I think Keke represents an interesting and potentially great investment in the group given his natural ability. There is no rush for him to start and he could start working on areas that need improvement. He also could see the field almost immediately as a rotational player especially on passing downs where his skillset would shine. I think Keke is there at 76 but I’m not so sure he’s there at 96 given his potential. If he is at the top of the Redskins board he is an interesting choice to select or pass up.