The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine has went and gone, and we’re left with that last piece of evidence to use for out individual scouting process. There were a handful of ‘winners’ from these past few days in Indianapolis, Kansas State edge rusher Jordan Willis being one of them.
A Kansas City, Missouri native, Willis ended his tenure at KSU with a bang, being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year while breaking the school’s single-season sack record with 11.5, and added 17.5 tackles for loss as well. Willis graduated as the 3rd all-time sack leader in program history as well, ending his career with 26 total. Legendary head coach Bill Snyder expressed high praise for Willis, claiming he was the “epitome of Kansas State football”.
Willis leaves Manhattan as one of the program’s most polarizing players as he moves on to the next level. After a tremendous showing at the Combine, he increased his draft stock and perhaps set himself up to be a Day 2 pick come April. However, combine success doesn’t always translate into NFL success, will it workout for Willis?
Name: Jordan Willis
Size: 6’4”/255/33 1/4” Arm Length
School: Kansas State
Draft Grade: 4th Round
Combine Results: 40 Yard Dash: 4.53 – Vertical Jump: 39” – Broad Jump – 125” – 3-Cone Drill: 6.85 – 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.28
DE Jordan Willis is bit stiff/linear on tape but not nearly as much as some seemed to think. Fluid,bending well in drills today #NFLCombine
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) March 5, 2017
Positives: Gets off the snap with a lot of quickness – on every other play or so. Takes good angles to the edge. Sound finesse on stunts and finds the open holes. Can adjust to the inside quickly if there’s too much congestion at the edge on delayed engagements. Powerful rip move. Chips away with high hands. Uses his forearms well to chop. Decent countermoves. Persistent on the rush. Long arms. Displays exceptional awareness in the backfield and will always throw his hand up to bat the ball if the chances is present. Forms a big silhouette when jumping in front of a quarterback delivery. Knows how to knock the ball free (7 FF). Wide closing range. Looked good in the Senior Bowl. Tore up the combine, most noticeably with a 4.53 40, 39” vertical jump and 6.85 3-cone. Productive college career. Favorable age.
Negatives: Plays like he has a speed running parachute attached to his back – slow pace and speed. Doesn’t have ideal burst off the edge. Inconsistent quickness off the snap and can be sluggish at times. Lacks the in-game athleticism to make up for late reaction. Loose, flaily arms on initial rush. Shaky hand usage. Slow to develop pass rush moves. Struggles against handsy blocker. Lacks lateral quickness. Slow in pursuit. Fails to get consistent leverage and allows the linemen to gain control. Extends arms too far at times. Dips head too low in stance. Reaches for tackles horizontally instead of attacking. Poor tackling technique and fails to corral the ball carrier. Long strider with heavy feet. Loses the physical battles. Slow, effortless spin move. A bit stiff – typically doesn’t get enough bend. Doesn’t make an impact against the run and often gets sealed off.
Outlook: I hate to say it, but I think Jordan Willis is another one of those guys with Combine success which simply doesn’t translate onto the field. You watch him on tape and you’re left wondering how he ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and appeared so agile in the 3-cone drill – it’s honestly confusing. With the combine success considered, Willis grades out as a 4th round/early Day 3 pick for me, but his athletic showcase will likely land him in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. I project his role at the next level to be a solid reserve off the bench who can come in and provide a little something as a steady pass rusher.