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Cowboys 2020 draft prospects: K’Lavon Chaisson could bolster defensive line at EDGE

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Meet K’Lavon Chaisson, a freakishly athletic EDGE rusher out of LSU.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - LSU v Oklahoma Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

This offseason has been a hectic one for the Dallas Cowboys. It’s also been a hectic one for K’Lavon Chaisson. Fresh off of winning the National Championship, Chaisson announced he will be foregoing his senior season at LSU, and entering the 2020 NFL Draft. Likely a smart decision for Chaisson, the former LSU edge-rusher will enter a EDGE class that lacks talent in the first round, outside of likely number two overall pick, Chase Young. Chaisson will likely battle Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa to be the second defensive end taken in the 2020 draft, and should be selected right around where the Cowboys are picking in the first round.

With DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, and Joe Jackson the only defensive ends currently under contract, defensive end should be at the top of the list of draft priorities, unless the Cowboys take the free agency route to fill that need. If not, K’Lavon Chaisson is a name Cowboys fans need to know as a potential first round target.

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Name: K’Lavon Chaisson

School: LSU

Height: 6-4

Weight: 250

Class: Junior

Position: EDGE

Jersey: #18

Strengths:

The word long doesn’t do K’Lavon Chaisson justices. Chaisson possesses freaky length at the EDGE position, using his long arms to generate pressure on the quarterback, control blockers in the running game, and even serve as a valuable drop defender against running backs and tight ends. He brings a dynamic pass rush ability to the table despite the low production at LSU (coming off an ACL tear in 2018). If using stats to scout Chaisson at LSU, you will likely be rather disappointed, but when turning on the tape, he is one of the more fun players too watch in the 2020 draft class. Edge rushers of his size often get labeled as poor run defenders due to their slim build and QB-hunter look, but don’t let his athletic frame fool you, Chaisson was an excellent run defender at LSU and those traits that made him successful translate well to the next level. Chaisson consistently set a strong edge against the run, and had no issues disengaging from blocks to make tackles at, or behind, the line of scrimmage versus the run. He showcased impressive bend, ankle flexion, and explosiveness at LSU, which allowed him to live in the opponents backfield. Chaisson, though often labeled as a raw player, has an arsenal of pass rush moves (stab-chop, long-arm, bull-rush, inside spin-move, two-hand swipe, arm-over, and a simply dip-and-bend speed rush). The 6-4, 250 lb EDGE has very refined hand technique showing on-time striking ability and elite body control to allow him to time his moves up perfectly against offensive lineman. Chaisson should find plenty of success in the twist/stunt game with his ability to work horizontally, vertically, and change directions at ease. He is expected to test extremely well in the 2020 NFL Combine, and his draft stock is almost certain to rise after leaving Lucas Oil Stadium.

Weaknesses:

While Chaisson is much more refined than given credit for, he can still clean up his footwork when coming off the line. Far too often, he will false step when firing off the ball, which will make his pass rush just a tick later than it needs to be. While he showed great flashes as a run defender, there where some times on tape where Chaisson would over pursue in the read-option game and was unable to recover. Played only one game in 2018, before suffering a season ending ACL tear, that cost him his entire sophomore season. Could tighten up some of his hand-work to make his hand paths a little cleaner when throwing strikes.

Overall Summary:

If not for the hype surrounding Chase Young, I’d bet we’d hear much more talk surrounding K’Lavon Chaisson’s name. While still developing his all-around game, Chaisson is a pro-ready prospect, with an extremely high ceiling due to the athletic and physical traits he brings to the table. If Robert Quinn is not retained by the Cowboys, drafting K’Lavon Chaisson would give them an excellent weak-side defensive end that can rush the passer, defend the run, and would be an excellent addition to Mike Nolan’s defense who is expected to incorporate some more creativity on the defensive side of the ball.

Tape Highlights: