Cowboys Draft 2014: Scouting Kony Ealy

Jamie Squire

Because there has been such a high correlation in recent years between the top collegians invited to Valley Ranch for pre-draft visits and who the Cowboys end up drafting, its important to know as much as possible about these players. As a service to you BTB is providing a series of detailed scouting reports on each of these targets. Today the series continues with our look at Missouri Edge Rusher, Kony Ealy.

Name: Kony Ealy

Position: Edge Rusher

School: Missouri

Height: 6’ 4"

Weight: 273 lbs

Games Studied: Georgia, Oklahoma St., Vanderbilt, Florida

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players measurable traits, and combine results. The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the player's peers by position. A score of 85 here represents that out of ever 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Pass Game:

Kony Ealy is an interesting pass rusher to me as he’s not an explosive guy (note the poor relative scores in the Vertical & Broad Jumps, as well as the 10-yd split, and the 20-yd shuttle above), but he doesn't play with a great deal of power either. Yet despite this catch-22 of sorts, he manages to get pressure.

The key to his game off the edge is the "dip and rip" move, which he has really gotten down to a science. If you see him get around the corner and rewind it back to the point where he won vs the OT, he almost always has dropped his shoulders to make the OT reach for him, then raised back up as he turns the corner while "ripping" with his inside arm to get the blockers hands off, freeing him for a run at the QB. The one seemingly elite trait that you see with Ealy, is his ability to sharpen the edge and get his hips and body going towards the QB once he’s around the blocker. Scoring in the 97th percentile of DE’s in the 3 cone drill, Ealy demonstrated these abilities in Indianapolis.

On most obvious passing downs, Ealy would drop down into a 3-technique alignment to rush vs an OG. In this situation he does have a quickness and athleticism advantage, and he uses it to get pressure very effectively in these situations. Another place where he is effective is when the Mizzou scheme asks him to slant inside into the B-gap from his defensive end alignment where he is able to be successful getting past the OT and getting after the QB. What you don’t see from Ealy, and what worries me at the next level, is you don’t see a variety of moves or counters off his base dip and rip. If offensive coordinators were to send a back or tight end to Ealy’s side to chip block him at the apex of the rush, I think he would have major problems, as you don’t see him turn to a power rush and work the OT backwards, and you don’t see a spin move or an arm over move to get back inside.

Run Game: As I mentioned before, in Mizzou’s scheme Ealy was often asked to slant inside to the B-gap, and this is where you see him make plays against the run as well. Because their defensive front was always moving, I didn't see many times where he was forced to take on a double teams or heads up blocks at the point of attack. Ealy is not what I would call a motor player against the run, as he will give up on plays if they are out of his reach, and his lack of speed and overall athleticism shows up both on read option plays at him and on stretch & sweep plays run away from him.

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection: As a pass rusher, I like Ealy’s productivity & the way he is able to turn the corner on the rush, I think these two things as well as his size make him an intriguing player. I wish I could believe that he had a much higher ceiling as an edge player than I do, because that would put him in heavy consideration for me at pick #16, however it seems as though he is basically tapped out as an athlete and I don’t know if that athleticism is enough to beat NFL tackles as consistently as I would want my first round DE to do. If I take a DE that early, I want him to be a 3-down edge rusher, not a guy I have to move down in the nickel to get pressure. I believe he will get selected in the first round, and I know that Will McClay is a fan of Ealy’s. This makes me think that if the board gets wiped out and they can’t bail out of the pick, they may take Ealy and know they got a guy who can be productive even if he’s not great.

Pro Comparison: Michael Bennett, DE, Seattle Seahawks (2009 UDFA)

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