I wanted to take some time to highlight a very intriguing 2018 NFL Draft prospect; Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor. There are a few reasons why spotlighting the former Demon Deacon is important: 1). He is a defensive end, with the initials DE 2). He literally has the pronunciation “EDGE” in his last name as an EDGE player 3). And the most important reason – he can pressure the quarterback.
Duke finished his time at Wake Forest with 42 career games under his belt and recorded 133 tackles, 43 tackles for a loss, 19.5 sacks, with 16 QB pressures and 4 forced fumbles. He is a good athlete, with excellent quickness and a very good ability to burst upfield through the arc, while maximizing his flexibility. He is an excellent pass rusher, with excellent use of hands and a well thought out pass rush plan from the five technique and three technique positions. His change of direction is excellent and his ability to get horizontal through interior gaps, while also collecting his balance and flushing the pocket, is very good. He has inside and outside counters, while showing push-pulls, power clubs, arm-overs, and rips. The video below displays some of his pass rushing moves and how he puts himself in an advantageous position, with his motor and pass rushing mental processing. He doesn’t always finish the sack and pursuit/agility in the pocket is something Duke needs to work on, but his repertoire is precocious and fun to watch.
Duke is not the tallest, longest, or strongest, but he can put heavy pressure on the quarterback, and that is an invaluable trait to have in the NFL. Although I am very high on Ejiofor, he is not a fully polished product. He needs to refine his technique when taking on pullers in Power/Counter running concepts and he could stand to develop a bit more of a bull-rush while getting after the passer.
This EDGE class has very intriguing names like Bradley Chubb, Sam Hubbard, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, and Arden Key, but there are “sleeper” pass rushers that may skyrocket up the boards. We saw Haason Reddick jump from an early day three pick all the way up to a top fifteen pick because of the success he had in Mobile. That was a somewhat rare case because Reddick showed he could play off ball linebacker, but a player’s stock can significantly increase with a good week in front of the entire NFL world. It is unfortunate that Duke had to withdraw from Mobile because I could have seen him skyrocket up boards, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t on NFL team’s radars because he is a very solid prospect, with very intriguing skills.