Report Prepared By John Harris
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0:03 Doesn’t make play, but the BURST upfield is sick
0:21 Hustle, beats at least three frontside defenders to make tackle from backside
0:48 Got to disengage, violent hands
1:53 Shows agility by evading slice blocker and makes tackle for no gain
2:18 Lines up in wide 5, beats everyone off the ball, destroys tackle with speed/small shoulder dip
2:41 WOW, slap and swim move to the inside is lethal (set up after winning w/speed previous play)
3:54 Lines up in 3 tech, drops off on zone dog, finds RB in coverage
5:40 Watch the closing speed after he drops in coverage
7:53 Another zone dog, he has to sprint to other side to account for RB - look at him explode (watch overhead replay too)
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0:19 Pursuit from the backside and then FINISHES the tackle
0:37 Blew coverage, had RB out of the backfield - didn’t hurt due to incompletion
0:50 Excellent pass rush technique - bull and rip under to get free…THEN THE CLOSING SPEED!
3:36 Stuffed by guard who gains right arm control and he’s done on the spot - must get hands free
4:00 Draws holding penalty on LT Wesley Johnson - gets under him again with the rip technique
5:51 LT short set caught him early before he could get off the ball, shut him down
6:34 Swim move is quick and compact, but he’s too high - OL can get into that armpit too easily - he gets lifted
6:50 Beats Johnson on an inside rip move (play caught before you can truly see it)
7:14 Great redirect back to the QB - goes high on pass rush, plants right foot and sprints back to QB for the sack
7:22 Tries series of pass rush moves - starts inside rip move - gets stoned, tries to spin back - gets stoned
8:53 Wins with Dip and Rip then bursts to the QB for the sack - WOW
The Missouri Tigers were a huge surprise to many throughout the nation this year and a big reason for that was the group of defensive ends that wreaked havoc throughout the SEC. Let me introduce you to one of those stars Missouri’s Ealy. When I first saw Ealy this season, I would’ve never guessed he was 275 pounds. He moves like he’s 235 or 240, but at 275 pounds, agile and quick, he’s got the assets the NFL will be drooling over this spring.
He played the right side in the Tigers 4-3 defense and would bump down to the 3-technique on third down on occasion. His partner on the other side Michael Sam got a lot more attention during the season for having a double digit sack year, but it was Ealy that scared most teams. His relentless burst and pursuit to the quarterback once he has the OL/RB beat is off the charts. It’s like a dog that sees an open door and then takes off out of it - you have no chance to stop that train.
Ealy is still raw. He hasn’t developed a true inside pass rush move that’s effective. Throughout the film that I watched, it was evident that he had worked on it and he would try to rip inside, but he’s not comfortable with it just yet. But, off the edge, it’s his explosiveness and power that gave most left tackles the trouble.
Now, with most DE, the question becomes can he play OLB in a 3-4? He was asked throughout the year at various times to mirror a back out of the backfield based on the coverage and play call and didn’t fare poorly. I do believe that his explosiveness and athleticism might be lost standing up, but therein lies the second question, can he play a DE in 3-4, ala JJ Watt? THAT’S more of an intriguing question to me. Houston Texan Antonio Smith is nearly the same dimensions as Ealy and he excelled playing at that position in a one gap 3-4 system. The fact is Ealy, at least, provides the scheme versatility that teams covet due to his size, strength and most importantly, quickness at 275 pounds.
Keep in mind, he’s still very raw - there are some finer point techniques that he needs work on, as noted above. He doesn’t use his hands like he’s capable, he gets his shoulders turned at the point attack against the run and he doesn’t have a litany of pass rush moves off the edge. But, you don’t find 275 pounds with this mentality, this burst and this athleticism. The Combine will be big for him to show the quickness and speed he possesses. If he tests well, there’s no question, he’ll be on a top 14 trajectory for certain.