The Los Angeles Rams are clearly in the market for edge rushers and Jaylon Ferguson didn’t get the nickname “Sack Daddy” for nothing. Ferguson is the all-time NCAA Division I career sack leader, breaking Terrell Suggs’s previous record of 44 by one. With that kind of production teams like the Rams have to take notice. Draft grades are all over the place for Ferguson, he is a love/hate prospect.
College stats and honors:
2018: 13 games, 65 tackles, 38 solo, 26 for loss, 17.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery and 2 forced fumbles.
Career: 50 games, 187 tackles, 112 solo, 67.5 for loss, 45 sacks, 6 pass deflections, 3 fumble recoveries and 7 forced fumbles.
Honors: Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year (2018), 1st team All-Conference USA (2018), Associated Press 3rd team All-American (2018), SoFi Hawaii Bowl Most Outstanding Player (2018), 1st team All-Conference USA (2017), 1st team All-Conference USA (2016), All-Conference USA Honorable Mention (2015), Conference USA All-Freshman team (2015).
Ferguson has some scheme versatility. He is able to play as a 3-4 rush linebacker or as a 4-3 defensive end. He sets the edge well in the run game.
His long arms give him an advantage when trying to disengage from blockers. He has solid instincts but not elite in this area. Ferguson is able to win with power and has developed a good bull rush. Ferguson possesses powerful hands and good body control. He is also a sound tackler and finishes well.
Ferguson has been healthy and durable throughout his time at Louisiana Tech. He’s experienced as a 3-year starter and played 50 total games. Ferguson held his own against top competition in SEC opponents and at the Senior Bowl.
Ferguson is not an explosive athlete on tape. He was allowed to interview at the 2019 NFL Combine, but was banned from drills for an incident dating back to his freshman year. He lacks bend around the edge.
Ferguson has to develop a more versatile pass rush arsenal for the NFL. Though he has a good bull rush, when his first move fails, he is often beaten. He also needs to give more consistent effort in pursuit.
Questions exist about how his power translates to the NFL. Needs to add strength due to his lack of athleticism. Though he looks his best with his hand in the dirt, he would need to add weight to do this consistently.
Expected draft round:
Ferguson has been projected anywhere from round one to round three. Despite his production in college, I do not see a first rounder on tape. Largely, Ferguson dominated a lower level of competition and will not be as productive in the NFL.
His physical limitations hinder him too much considering his lack of rush moves. There are some things to like about Ferguson and he does have a place in the NFL, but I don’t see double digit sacks in his future. I do like his ability against the run and that helps his grade.
Ultimately, I view Ferguson as a third or fourth round prospect. However, teams will fall in love with his production and potential. Though he was unable to participate in the NFL Combine, he must make an impact during Louisiana Tech’s Pro Day. If he performs well I could see him going as early as round two.
Tarell Basham, Duke Ejiofor