The 2023 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. Here is the Calijah Kancey 2023 NFL Draft Profile.
Calijah Kancey Background
Position: Defensive Line
Size: 6-foot, 280 pounds
Class: Redshirt Junior
2022 stats: 31 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks
Kancey is undersized for an interior defensive lineman, but had a good career at Pittsburgh. Now, he is in the 2023 NFL Draft.
As a recruit, Kancey was rated three stars and left the state of Florida to play for Pittsburgh. He only played in the bowl game during the 2019 season and was redshirted. Kancey started four games in 2020, registering seven tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. In 2021, he entered the starting lineup full-time. He impressed with 33 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks. His play helped Pittsburgh win 11 games and make the Peach Bowl. For the 2022 season, Kancey had 31 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 passes defended. He led the Panthers to a 9-4 record and a win in the Sun Bowl.
Following the season, Kancey decided to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. He is a projected first or second round pick.
Calijah Kancey Strengths
Kancey is extremely athletic for an interior defensive lineman. He shows good quickness at the snap of the ball, giving him an edge to start the play. That quickness continues throughout the play and he has good lateral agility. To go with that, Kancey has good flexibility. He is a mismatch athletically for most interior offensive linemen and shows this with his ability to attack gaps and disrupt plays.
While he is undersized, Kancey continually shows a good motor and doesn’t get worn down. A lot of his production comes from second efforts. He keeps the motor running at all times, even at the end of the game after battling with linemen who are much bigger than him.
For an interior lineman, Kancey is a good pass rusher. He had at least 7 sacks in the last two seasons. Kancey uses his quickness and his motor to get after the quarterback. He also understands angles and has good leverage, which helps him push the pocket or find the quickest way to create pressure.
Calijah Kancey Weaknesses
Kancey is extremely undersized for the interior of the defensive line. He is 6-foot and 280 pounds, which puts him well below the average for the position. To go with his size, Kancey also lacks elite length, which limits his ability to shed blocks. Because Kancey is undersized, he needs to consistently show good technique and have a solid motor constantly to win.
His lack of size and length, sometimes allows him to get blocked by stronger offensive linemen who have length. Kancey can move to try to get around the blocks, but shedding those blocks give him difficulty. Adding strength will be necessary to match up with NFL-sized offensive guards.
He is a good pass rusher, but may be a liability against the run to start his career. Kancey can be moved off his spot, which gives opposing running backs holes to run through. He also can lose sight of the ball, making it difficult to make tackles. His best asset as a run defender right now is his ability to attack gaps, which sometimes can give running backs nowhere to run.
Projected Draft Range: First Round Pick-Second Round Pick
Draft Grade: Second-Round Pick
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