Outside of a couple players at the top of the depth chart, the crop of EDGE players in the 2020 NFL Draft is not particularly highly regarded.
But that isn’t the same thing as saying that this is a “bad” EDGE class, and there are players who can have a role in the NFL. That is good news for the New York Giants, who need help rushing the passer but might not have the chance to draft one of the top players at the position.
Florida’s Jonathan Greenard started his college career in Louisville, red-shirting his freshman year. Once he got onto the field, he was a disruptive presence for Louisville’s defense and improved over his freshman and sophomore seasons. Unfortunately, he lost the 2018 season to a wrist injury and became a graduate transfer to Florida to re-establish his draft stock. Greenard proved to be a disruptive player in the SEC too, totaling 16.0 tackles for a loss and 10.0 sacks last year. Could he be a player the Giants target after the top EDGE players are off the board?
Prospect: Jonathan Greenard (EDGE, Florida)
Games Watched: vs. Miami (2019), vs. Tennessee (2019), vs. Florida State (2019), vs. Virginia (2019)
Red Flags: Wrist (2018)
Games Played: 33
Tackles For a loss: 38.5
Forced Fumbles: 4
Passes Defensed: 7
Tackles For a loss: 16.0
Forced Fumbles: 3
Passes Defensed: 4
Best: Snap timing, length, play strength, pass rush plan
Worst: Pad level consistency, long speed, space play
Projection: A secondary or rotational EDGE.
Florida’s Jonathan Greenard is a stout defensive end with good thickness in his upper and lower body to go with very long arms. Greenard is able to play out of a two or three point stance, playing the role of defensive end or rush linebacker depending on the play called. Greenard shows excellent snap anticipation, at times beginning his rush instants after the ball is snapped and before offensive tackles are ready to block him. He shows a strong pass rush plan, using a variety of moves to deal with blocks from tight ends and offensive linemen. Greenard has an uncommon ability to string rush moves together, giving him options to beat blockers with power, speed, or transfer speed into power. He has good mental processing and an awareness of the play after the snap. Greenard does a good job of keeping linemen from locking him up, creating space to disengage to pursue screen plays or adapt to misdirection. He also shows the awareness to get his hands into passing lanes when he isn’t able to get to the quarterback before the ball is released.
Greenard shows good competitive toughness in taking on waves of blockers on his way into the backfield as well as hustling in pursuit of the play. At times he flashes good agility to work through the trash to make a tackle at the line of scrimmage.
Greenard is generally a good tackler, wrapping up and driving through ball carriers. He also tries to finish by separating the ball from the carrier by attacking the ball as he wraps up.
Greenard uses his snap anticipation to make up for an average get-off. He is not a particularly explosive player, nor does he have good long speed. That shows up when he isn’t able to time the snap well to get a jump or when he has to pursue the play over distance. He also shows some stiffness in his lower body and struggles to carry speed around the edge when he needs to corner sharply to avoid over-running the play. Greenard also struggles with inconsistent pad level, at times losing his leverage and opening himself up to being locked up by blockers. Finally, while he is frequently asked to play out of a two-point stance, he appears awkward and uncomfortable when asked to drop into coverage and play in space.
Overall Grade: 6.2 - Has the traits to be a starter in the right situation, but should be a good rotational player for most teams. A late Day 2 value. [Grading Scale]
Jonathan Greenard projects best as a rotational EDGE at the NFL level. He has the potential to seize a starting role in as a base defensive end in a 4-3 defense, but currently is at his best when he is asked to be a pure pass rusher.
Greenard shines when he is able to anticipate the snap and attack into the offensive backfield. He doesn’t have a great first step, but his timing can be so good that the difference between him and a player with an elite first step is negligible. Greenard also has a surprisingly well-stocked pass rushing toolbox for a rookie. In addition to bull rushes and speed-to-power moves, he also shows two-hand swipes, arm-over, rip, spin, and inside moves, as well as the the ability to string them together to beat blockers. He also shows an understanding of the importance of having a pass rush plan. Greenard will set blockers up by showing speed to the outside, only to dart inside if they over-commit, or follow up a power move one snap with speed the next.
He also finishes plays as a reliable tackler, delivering hits as well as wrapping ball carriers up. He frequently tries attack the ball as he wraps up, and can generate turnovers by punching the ball out as he hits the ball carrier.
Greenard needs to be more consistent in his pad level if he wants to be an every-down player. He can have a tendency to play more upright and expose his chest when he isn’t sure of the offense’s intentions. Also, Greenard should not be asked to drop into coverage as a part of zone blitzes. He is simply awkward and uncomfortable when asked to play in space and could be exploited by quarterbacks who identify him as a coverage player before the snap.
Greenard should fit on most teams as a dependable third rusher and could develop into a starter in the right system.