Jalen Jelks, Edge
College: Oregon | Conference: PAC-12
College Experience: R-Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6’5” / 256 lbs.
Projected Draft Status: 4th or 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Trent Murphy
If your looking for a lengthy edge rusher to develop in this years draft, you may need to consider Oregon’s Jalen Jelks. He was a 3-star recruit coming out of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Jelks signed his letter of intent with then Head Coach Mark Helfrich in 2014, after mulling many other offers from Power 5 schools, including Wisconsin, Washington, Arizona State and Nebraska. Jalen was productive during his time in Eugene as he was named to the Coaches All-PAC 12 Conference Team after his Junior & Senior campaigns.
If he had anything working against him, it might have been his college coaching staff playing him out of position. They had Jelks take the majority of his snaps lined up as a 3-4 defensive end, while weighing in the 250’s.......Ya, that wouldn’t fly in the NFL. He is a guy that will need to transition to a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. The good news is that he has the speed, flexibility and skill set to do so.
After his time with the Ducks came to an end, Jalen received an invitation to play at this years Senior Bowl. Frequently during the week leading up to the game he drew praise from the announcers and regularly showed scouts what he could do when properly utilized. If anything, he sent the talent evaluators back to their facilities to put on more Oregon game film.
- Very strong against the run and displays good range for a player his size
- Does an excellent job of converting speed-to-power (watch him take Max Scharping to school at the Senior Bowl in the clip below)
- His hands are active and they often get effective placement
- Can both bend and get skinny when needed
- Has an ideal long frame, which could add more weight if necessary
- Needs time to develop on the edge as he was playing out of position at Oregon
- Will need to add more functional strength in his lower half to regularly win his match-ups at the next level
- His ability to shed and get off of blocks will have to improve to be consistently effective
- Could stand to add more pass rush moves to his repertoire
Let’s See His Work:
Jalen Jelks had the most stops in run-defense among Pac-12 Edge defenders this season. pic.twitter.com/m14J6W18Ie— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 28, 2019
How He Would Fit The Redskins
The Redskins will without a doubt be in the market for help at edge come draft time. They let Preston Smith walk in free agency and really only have one bonafide starter in Ryan Kerrigan. Ryan Anderson and Cassanova McKinzy are just depth guys and probably won’t be counted on to start, barring injuries. I absolutely anticipate that the Skins will use one of their premium picks (1st or 2nd round) on an edge defender, however I do have suspicion that this is a position at which they may double down on in the draft. It would be of no surprise if the team turned around and picked up a second edge player on Day 3.
Enter Jalen Jelks. Given the depth of pass rushers in this draft class and his lower sack totals from college (again, this could be very much be a product of playing out of position at Oregon) he will likely not hear his name called until after Day 2. While I wouldn’t want to walk away from this draft with him as our lone edge rusher selected, I do believe he would make a great complimentary piece and give the team quality depth at a position of need. As a rotational guy, he would have the opportunity to hone his pass rush technique while providing the team with solid run defense. He is not a finished product, but he would make for an excellent edge project for the Skins. We’ll see what happens very soon. Stay tuned Skins fans.