The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson may have played at a smaller school, but was productive enough to become a solid draft prospect.
Position: Defensive End
Class: Redshirt Senior
2018 Stats: 65 total tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, three passes defended, one fumble recovery, two fumbles recovered
Size: 6-foot-5, 259 pounds
Ferguson has been a historically good player for Louisiana Tech, as he is the all-time leader in sacks at the FBS level. HIs pass rushing ability has set him up to be taken within the first few rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft.
His college career started off with a redshirt year, but he then got six sacks in 12 games played and five starts as a freshman. As a sophomore, he set the school record for sacks with 14.5. His production dipped as a junior, as he had only seven sacks. Ferguson returned to school for his senior year and led the country with 17.5 sacks. He passed Terrell Suggs to claim the top spot on the career sacks list, finishing his college career with 45. His senior season allowed him to build his draft stock back up.
After a record-breaking college career, Ferguson will get his shot to prove what he can do at the NFL level. He might not be among the top edge rushers in the class, but Ferguson will likely be selected before the second day of the draft is over.
Ferguson’s production is unmatched as a pass rusher, as he is the all-time leader in sacks in the FBS. Even though he didn’t play the best competition all the time, he was still able to be insanely productive and even had good games against good competition. If he can carry over some of his productivity to the pros, he will be a solid player.
His strength will also intrigue NFL minds, as he uses it well. He can use it to shed blocks against both the pass and the run. He is also one of the few defensive ends in this draft class that utilizes the bull rush, because he has the strength to do it well.
He not only has good gap integrity against the run, but can also shoot the gaps to make a play on the ball carrier. Ferguson demonstrated good play recognition to know where the play is going, but also doesn’t bite on many play actions or read option plays.
While he has the production as a pass rusher, Ferguson does not have a great arsenal of pass rushing moves to use. He uses the bull rush, the rip move and can set up tackles on the outside to beat them back on the inside. If he can add a few more moves he can keep the offensive line off guard and be better.
Ferguson lacks burst at the line of scrimmage. When the ball is snapped he is often one of the slowest players to jump. This means his production in college is more impressive, but if he doesn’t get a good jump in the NFL, offensive tackles can be set up and waiting for him.
He also lacks bend and flexibility to win on the edge. At Louisiana Tech, he was able to win on the edge because of his speed, but in the NFL when offensive tackles can keep up with him, he’ll have to bend and be flexible to win his mathchups more often.