In a loaded draft class the natural inclination is to focus on the prospects at the top of the position group. After all, they draw the eye with athleticism and production that is hard to miss.
However, one of the side benefits of a glut of talent at a position is that occasionally talented players, who might stand out in other years, can fall through the cracks.
The New York Giants have more pressing needs than edge rusher -- especially on the offensive side of the ball. However, if they believe that they need to add talent and competition to their pass rush, this is a good year to find under-the-radar prospects. Kansas State’s Jordan Willis is just such a player, who has a nice toolbox, but doesn’t get the recognition that his more highly regarded peers are receiving.
- Good height and length to play defensive end or rush linebacker.
- Has long arms and big hands.
- Exceptionally athletic. Explosive and flashes agility. Elite measurables
- Disciplined and patient run defender. Keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn’t appear to be fooled by misdirection.
- Generally good hand use to keep blockers off his body.
- High motor player who never seems to give up on a play. Hustles in pursuit.
- Might be too stiff-hipped to take full advantage of his first step as a pass rusher. Looks as though he struggles to turn a tight corner.
- Sometimes mistimes the snap and is late off the line.
- Doesn’t show a consistent use of counter moves. His rush can stall or he can struggle to shed blockers if his initial move is stymied.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
If the Giants feel they need an edge rusher, Willis should be a solid fit in their system.
Willis’ first step as a pass rusher as well as his discipline and hustle as a run defender would fit right in on the Giants’ defensive line, where defending the run is almost as important as rushing the passer. Willis could be available in the second round, but could also be a surprise first round pick.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 37th
CBS Sports - 57th overall
Draft Countdown - 53rd overall
Draft Tek - 71st overall
Willis isn’t getting much press at the moment, but he has all the tools scouts look for as an edge rusher. He has the frame and length, the first step, and the hustle to play in the NFL. Likewise, he has a versatile enough frame and build to play in any defense.
However, he still needs to do some work to reach his full potential -- namely increasing his flexibility and mobility to take full advantage of his physical tools. If he can do that and land in a scheme that showcases his athleticism, Jordan Willis might wind up being a second round steal.