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Jaylon Ferguson Was A Monster At The Collegiate Level, But Would He Be A Fit For The Redskins?

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects who could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Frisco Bowl-Louisiana Tech vs Southern Methodist Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylon Ferguson, Edge
College: Louisiana Tech | Conference: C-USA
College Experience: R-Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6’5” / 271 lbs.
Projected Draft Status: 2nd or 3rd Round
NFL Comparison: Marcus Davenport

College Statistics

Player Overview

Ferguson, affectionately nicknamed “Sack Daddy”, recently became college football’s all-time career sack leader with a total of 45. He reached this mark by capping off his time in college with a 2.5 sack effort against the University of Hawaii in the 2018 Hawaii Bowl. This was good enough for him to pass the previous collegiate leader, former Arizona State alumnus Terrell Suggs, who had a total of 44 sacks.

Before he was terrorizing quarterbacks at the FBS level, Jaylon was considered a three-star recruit coming out of West Feliciana High School in Saint Francisville, Louisiana. He decided to stay in-state and accepted an opportunity to play for Head Coach Skip Holtz at Louisiana Tech University. Aside from racking up more sacks than anyone else in college history, he also brought home many other accolades during his time with the Bulldogs, including All-Conference USA (all four years on campus) and AP All-American (2018).

Jaylon received an offer to play in this years Senior Bowl and played well during the game, but he did not do much to separate himself from the other edge defenders in Mobile in the week leading up to the game. Due to a simple battery misdemeanor charge over four years ago, the NFL did not allow Jaylon to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. While many scouts do not believe that this infraction will have a negative effect on his draft stock, he was not able to compete against other members of this draft class in Indianapolis. Instead, Ferguson had to wait until Louisiana Tech’s pro day to show off his athletic ability. The word coming out of Ruston, Louisiana is that Ferguson did not have a very good day. He showed average numbers for his position (4.75 40 time, 24 reps on the bench and a vertical of only 32 inches) and most rumored that he looked stiff for a pro athlete.

Strengths

  • Heavy handed; has very active and violent paws
  • Does an excellent job of converting speed to power
  • Plays with good instincts and clearly knows how to get to the quarterback
  • Does well in being able to get off of blocks
  • Has the functional strength to set the edge

Weaknesses

  • Does not have great bend for an edge defender and often looks stiff
  • Can be late getting out of his stance and can get too upright
  • He appears to be just an average athlete
  • Needs to add more counter moves for the pro level
  • Played against subpar talent in Conference-USA

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit The Redskins

The fact that the Redskins will be looking to add a talented edge defender in the draft may be one of the league’s worst kept secrets. The team allowed Preston Smith to walk in free-agency, which has created a void across from Ryan Kerrigan. The Skins currently employ Ryan Anderson (a second round bust to this point) and Cassanova McKinzy at the position, but neither are starting material and probably shouldn’t be counted on for larger roles.

So with a clear need, will the Redskins target Ferguson with one of their second day picks? Even though he has enormous upside and a knack for reaching the quarterback, many scouts have him pegged as strictly a 4-3 defensive end. With his limited athleticism, he may not be a fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. While we do play in a nickel look throughout a good portion of games we should be seeking a prospect who can stay on the field as much as possible. If he can’t be counted on to drop into coverage (regardless of what his trainers think in the above clip) when we need him to, he would become just a mere role player for us. While Preston in no way exceled in coverage, he could get the job done more times than not. This squad has a history of taking 4-3 defensive ends and turning them (attempting too, anyways) into 3-4 linebackers, but I am not sure that this a trend that should continue. Not with all of the edge talent that fits our scheme in this deep defensive draft. Will Bruce and company see it that way next week? Stay tuned Skins fans.