I noticed that it was somewhat difficult to find defensive stats for the senior bowl so I went through looking for sacks in the play-by-play. This is what I found:
TOP PERFORMER: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
1 sack, 1 forced fumble
Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame
Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State
Also, on recommendation, I went a little deeper into the game and scoured what film I could gather to find some more defensive information:
- There were no interceptions in the game. No turnovers at all. Each of the forced fumbles were recovered by the offense.
- Jalen Mills, LSU FS, was playing corner in the game and had two PBU’s one of Ohio State receiver Braxton Miller on a slant and another against a low backshoulder throw. Showed great instincts and closing speed on both.
- I also saw Alabama corner Cyrus Jones get way too physical and get penalized in the endzone for a pass interference. He never even turned his head. He’ll get burned for that at the next level.
- Jake Ganus, Georgia Linebacker, got beat by Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett for a 29 yard pass from North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz. Ganus was in zone and also came up with the tackle.
- Northern Iowa’s Deiondre’ Hall, playing corner, gave too much cushion on a 12 yard comeback from Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott to South East Missouri State receiver Paul McRoberts. Hall made the tackle.
- Prescott found McRoberts again in the endzone for a 5 yard touchdown, Hall had primary coverage and Utah inside linebacker Jared Norris attempted to jump the route but just missed.
- In the second half, USC QB Cody Kessler found North Western State of Louisiana receiver Ed Eagan for 23 yards. Okahoma outside linebacker Eric Striker had the underneath coverage and South Eastern Louisiana corner Harlan Miller had the bracket over the top. Miller forced Eagan out of bounds.
- Hargrave and Alabama DL Jarran Reed got blown off the spot for the Kessler qb sneak touchdown.
- Arkansas QB Brandon Allen found Kansas State H-back Glenn Gronkowski alone for a 32 yard gain. Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert had the underneath zone, West Virginia’s K.J. Dillon was one of the deep safeties and missed the tackle. Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell was the other deep man and made the tackle.
- Alabama running back Kenyan Drake beat Utah defensive end Jason Fanaika to the edge on a pitch for a one yard touchdown
- On the hail mary, Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel found Michigan State receiver Aaron Burbidge for a 26 yard touchdown in front of several defenders at the end of the play. The closest defenders to making the play were Auburn corner Jonathan Jones and William and Mary safety Deandre Houston-Carson.
Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss
6’5 293 lbs
Height, weight, speed is impressive. Looks like a much smaller man, built very well. Impressive burst upfield, good array of pass rush moves.
Heavy penetrator but not very patient, can take himself out of plays and does often. Comparable against the run versus pass, probably a better pass rusher though. Can get washed out by double teams and beaten by talent one-on-one.
Plays like a much smaller man and needs to learn to use his size to dominate, that comes with understanding of pad level. He uses swim, rip, spin and can slide through double teams with ease when pass rushing. He’s also as sure a tackler as there is in this draft.
Technique: 5 out of 5
Nkemdiche is an impressive technician, using a wide array of moves to work his way to the quarterback. His rip and swim moves are his best, but he uses the spin move better than most. He has the abiltiy to slide through double teams with ease or beat guards one on one.
Effectiveness: 5 out of 5
His sack numbers were very strong from the defensive tackle position. He has elite pass rushing ability inside and showed it by being a constant presence in the middle of the pocket.
Potential: 5 out of 5
With his impressive size, athleticism and pass rush moves, there’s no reason to believe Nkemdiche couldn’t evolve into one of the NFL’s most disruptive inside rushers.
Technique: 3 out of 5
While he’s effective at clogging gaps and disengaging from blockers, he gets washed out by double teams due to poor pad level. This will be a problem at the defensive tackle position since he will be asked to take up double teams more often than not, unless he’s paired with another elite rusher. He slides between linemen with more grace than most.
Effectiveness: 5 out of 5
His tackle numbers are fairly on par for the position and amount of games (11) he played in 2015. But what really impresses is Nkemdiche’s ability to wrap up and bring down the ball carrier by himself in space. He is such an effective tackler that an inside position should just increase his value.
Potential: 3 out of 5
The one thing that keeps Nkemdiche from being an elite prospect against the run on the inside is his slightly low play strength compared to his size. He should be able to push his assignment more than he does. Other than that, he has all of the tools and could find a niche as an explosive play specialist.
TOTAL PROSPECT RATING: 26/30
NFL Comparison: Ndamokung Suh, DT, Miami Dolphins
In terms of being a sheer mismatch on the inside with freaky athleticism for his size, Nkemdiche reminds me a lot of Suh. Nkemdiche doesn’t have the sack numbers, but I believe they’ll come at the next level under some NFL coaching.