DE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati

6’5” – 255 lbs.

Background:

Appeared in ten games as a freshman, then took over a full-time starting role the following season, a year in which he posted a 39-7.0-4.0 line. Went 31-10.5-7.0 in ten games as a junior, then saw his output dip a little bit as a senior, going 41-7.5-2.5.

Positives:

A three-year starter who offers an impressive combination of size and length. Tended to play a seven-technique on a defense which often used only three down linemen; took snaps from both ends of the line. Plays the game with intensity. Has an impressive first step; times the snap well and can cover a lot of ground to threaten the edge with speed, showing a nice slap when coming around. Suddenness at the line is impressive; sets up inside moves well and can fight through gaps to disrupt plays. Flashes the ability to get extension with his arms, jolt opposing blockers, and make tackles in the run game. Can overpower tackles with his bull rush when he fires out low and keeps his legs driving. Gives good effort in backside pursuit. Closes fast and offers a huge tackling radius.

Negatives:

Senior-year production didn’t continue the upward trend established in previous seasons, at least in part a consequence of the extra attention he received from opposing offenses. Some teams might like him to add additional bulk. Balance can be an issue; at times, will get too upright out of his stance when trying to work the edge, and will fire out too aggressively on other snaps and end up on the ground. Doesn’t appear to have the most flexibility in his hips and knees when trying to bend the edge; more explosive in a straight line than he is fluid, and can wipe out when turning the corner. Still developing his repertoire of counters; tends to win off the snap or not at all. Didn’t get to see him drop into coverage during the games reviewed.

Summary:

An edge defender who has all the length in the world, as well as an impressive combination of explosiveness and quickness which allows him to win in different ways. Can disrupt running plays on inside moves, or lock out blockers with a read-and-react approach. However, will need to improve his overall flexibility and pad level when trying to bend the edge, and clean up his balance issues by learning to better harness his aggressiveness. Could conceivably play in either a one-gap or two-gap front, but the former may be a better fit for his temperament and allow him to better show off his quickness.

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