DT Gerald Willis III, Miami (FL)

6’2” – 302 lbs. – N/A
Originally attended Florida. Appeared in eight games as a freshman (14-0.5-0.0), then was dismissed from the team; redshirted the subsequent season after transferring to Miami. Appeared in nine games as a redshirt sophomore (19-5.5-1.5), missing time due to a suspension and torn MCL, for which he underwent surgery. Missed the 2017 season to take a leave of absence, then enjoyed a productive senior campaign (59-18.0-4.0) to conclude his collegiate career. Has a solid combination of height and bulk for a pro three-technique, and carries his weight very well; also takes some snaps at other techniques, including the nose. One-gapper who can disrupt opposing rushing attempts when he chooses correctly, or allow himself to be sealed out of the play when he’s wrong; instincts are still a work in progress. Was able to blow up a lot of attempts this past season, but there’s a distinct feast-or-famine quality to his run defense which may irritate coaches who are looking for more disciplined play. Looks athletic in space and gives pretty good effort in pursuit toward the sidelines. Can scrape down the line or play laterally and flow toward the ball. Plays with a good motor/level of intensity and stays on the field on passing downs. Very impressive suddenness off the line of scrimmage, which allows him to penetrate into the backfield and create pressure in the passing game. Able to get low and walk back interior linemen to collapse the pocket with power; can be a handful to deal with given his impressive functional strength. Active with his hands, with a swim move being his go-to; doesn’t give up on a rush when his primary move is unsuccessful, but it would be nice to see a more varied initial approach. Was asked to run a lot of stunts at the college level and is a good fit for that type of role. Multiple suspensions, dismissal from Florida, and leave of absence in 2017 will make him the subject of a rigorous character evaluation. Reportedly had anger issues in the past; says his leave of absence was due to personal/family issues. A one-year wonder who has a lot of the traits teams look for in a penetrating defensive tackle, but who represents a pretty significant gamble relative to other high-end prospects. Well-suited to the modern game, the level of comfort teams have with his character will ultimately play a vital role in determining how high he goes in the draft.

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