6’5” – 275 lbs. – 4.80e
2011: 16 – 3.0 – 1.0
2012: 37 – 10.0 – 3.5, 5 QBH, 1 FF, 7 PD
2013: 42 – 14.0 – 8.0, 7 QBH, 3 FF, 6 PD, 1 INT (1 TD)
Redshirted in 2010, then appeared in twelve games in a reserve capacity in 2011. Again appeared in twelve games as a sophomore, starting twelve and finishing fourth on the team in sacks, then finished second as a junior in 2013.
• Production escalated as a second-year starter after a relatively uneventful 2012 season.
• Possesses an ideal combination of height and bulk; weighed 250 pounds back in 2011.
• Gets off the line of scrimmage quickly, typically one of the first to react to ball snapping.
• Bends pretty well, not exclusively a straight-line power rusher like size would indicate.
• On the speed rush, is capable of dipping his shoulder in order to avoid the initial punch.
• Closing speed in pursuit is impressive, can seal the deal after flushing QBs from pocket.
• Strong and explosive enough to enjoy some success as a bull rusher, two-gap value.
• High-motor player, doesn’t give up on his rushes, is willing to pursue through whistle.
• Mixes in rip and swim moves at times in addition to his usual power and speed rushes.
• Regularly slid inside to defensive tackle on passing downs to work as an interior rusher.
• Some of his most noticeable flaws – leverage, awareness – can be improved over time.
• Was really only productive as a junior, but still got upstaged by teammate Michael Sam.
• Gets upright out of his stance, which, combined with his height, leads to poor leverage.
• Powerful enough to get some push, but nonetheless struggles to use strength to shed.
• Awareness in run defense is below-average, gets sucked inside often, allowing cutbacks.
• Also can be cleared out of holes in the run game fairly easily, surprising given his size.
• Would probably need to lose some weight before he could play linebacker in a 3-4.
A player whose size, bulk, and length are in line with prototypical figures for a defensive end in an even front, Ealy is also an explosive player with some bend and an effective bull rush, making it easy to see why he is being viewed as a potential starter in the NFL. However, at this point, the flaws in his game suggest that he will need some additional development time; those weaknesses most notably include leverage issues, difficulty shedding blocks, and below-average run defense, caused by a combination of poor awareness, and block shedding. Additionally, he doesn’t seem to be a natural fit anywhere in a 3-4, although he has played as low as 250 pounds in the past and could potentially develop into a linebacker. Would represent a risky first-round selection, but has the upside to potentially warrant the selection in time.