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Article Rookie Rundown #2: Jaylon Ferguson

Discussion in 'News' started by Lost_In_The_Sauce, May 12, 2019.

  1. Lost_In_The_Sauce

    Lost_In_The_Sauce Staff Member Administrator Writer Banned

    The losses of Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith look bad on paper, but it’s nothing the organization hasn’t faced before. We always lose these “marquee pass rushers” to lucrative pay days, only for them to do nothing else on any other team. Pernell McPhee being the one exception. Suggs hurts for sentimental value, and Smith hurts because he was clearly one of Harbaugh’s favorite players.

    It’s a classic Ravens move to go select a player who broke the franchise’s best pass rushers college record. Jaylon "Turd" Ferguson broke Suggs’ college record for most sacks all time. To say that he dominated his competition would be an understatement. He owned them. It was Jaylon Ferguson’s field, and opposing offenses were just playing on it.

    His dominance in college has likely earned him a spot in the college football hall of fame. But is it translatable to the NFL? Well some Ravens fans are worried. Like our other third round picks last year, Brown Jr. and Andrews, there are concerns about his athleticism based off of a bad pro day. Further, my problem with Ferguson is inconsistent effort in certain facets of his game.

    So is Ferguson a Suggs replacement, or a Za’Darius replacement. Let’s find out.

    Player Profile

    Ferguson is a power rusher through and through. The one good attribute that he had at his pro day is that he was clearly a very strong guy with his bench press numbers. This strength is nothing but translatable on film.

    There are certain traits when looking at a pass rusher, highlighted Brett Kollmann that has essentially changed the way I evaluate pass rushers.

    5 Tools of pass rushers

    1. Explosiveness

    2. Arm length

    3. Hip flexibility

    4. Power

    5. technique
    So. Let’s go over all of them. Because I'm a masochist.

    Explosiveness: Adequate

    Yes, the three cone time is terrible. I know that. I don’t care. What does the film say? Because that’s what matters. In the third round, if you think you’re looking for elite talent you’re going to be sorely mistaken.

    What I see. He’s explosive enough(which is what really matters), he has solid closing speed, and he’s good at timing off of the snap.


    If you’re adequate, you should be fine. The three cone time could be attributed to his playing weight, and he could stand to lose ten pounds.

    Perhaps what is most obvious, and what makes up for the average explosiveness is his relentless motor. This will cause another problem later, but he loves to clobber quarterbacks and it’s obvious. There are several sacks, even against higher level competition where he absolutely clobbers whatever gets in his way.

    Power: Apex


    Ferguson has an elite attribute, he knows how to convert speed to power with the best of them. Some will interpret this as “he can only bullrush” but converting speed to power is a more useful attribute than simply a bullrush.

    Pass rushers like the Bosa brothers are not the most explosive bunch either, but they make up for it with really good power, and good hand usage(something Ferguson is also really good at). This can be used to compensate, but I think Ferguson is actually capable when it comes to explosiveness. I’m not sure that this is compensation, so much as it’s just another way to get at people.

    Ferguson isn’t going to beat tackles off of the ball unless he times the snap perfectly. He can do that, and he’s shown the ability to do that in college, but his power is his bread and butter.

    Arm Length: Above average

    34 inch long arms. And he’s 6’5 on top of that, so he’s a big guy who can take on big tackles, especially with that power.

    Does he know how to use them?


    Yes. I will breakdown this play again in a moment, but he knows how to use length. His long arms will come in handy eventually. Like it or not, those long arms of his cause problems for opposing offensive tackles, and opposing quarterbacks. His arms are longer than some of the elite pass rushers in this league, and he can also use this to compensate for average explosiveness. He’s forced fumbles using his length.

    Technique/Fundamentals: Above Average

    Yup. I’m going to alter Kollmann tool, I think fundamentals is a better indicator. Jaylon Ferguson is not Tim Williams, who has practically all the pass rushing moves ready at his disposal. But what Ferguson does have are enough moves to make him a threat at the next level.

    First off, his bull rush like mentioned earlier. It’s his go too, and he was so good at it that he rarely had to deviate from it. I don’t need more gifs, just go watch a highlight video.

    His best tape to me is also the one that shows his fundamentals. His tape vs. LSU is going to be linked below, but I’m still going to break down certain plays because this game shows me that he’s got a very high ceiling at the next level.

    Teams, even a high level competitor such as LSU had to double team him, and he was still able to make a strong impact on the game.

    Even without his bullrush there are several accounts where Ferguson can shed blocks consistently, he can disengage from blockers effortlessly. I actually think he’s well-coached. He understands that sometimes he’s not going to win the play, and that what is going to actually matter is not if he gets a sack, but how he hits a gap, and what blockers he can open up behind him to finish the pressure. Which to me, makes him a perfect fit on this defense because our defense is one that rushes the passer in waves.


    This right here, converting speed to power, bending around the edge, finishing. That’s textbook right there.


    Here, he converts speed to power and uses his long arm to create a pressure.


    He gets knocked to the ground here, but this is a good play by Jaylon. He forces the QB to roll to his right and forces an incompletion.


    Another pressure. Here he dominates the tackle off bull-rush and forces the QB to run into more pressure, and yet again forces another incompletion.

    As said in a clip above against Mississippi state, he knows how to use hand swipes. He has an inside counter move too, it’s not as effective as Tim Williams’, but he has one. He’s got hand swipes, a swim move, an elite bull rush, and an inside counter. That’s more than enough for a pro player, a good one. He’s not going to be winning with a speed rush or a spin move(he has one, it sucks, and we’ll get to that), but that’s a power rusher create-a-player on Madden. He lacks all the tools to be elite, but what you have is a guy who knows how to pin is ears back.

    Flexibility: Below-average to average.

    This is easily the weakest point of his tape, but he has the other four tools at his disposal, and he he flashes flexibility. He does get bend, but he doesn’t flash it enough consistently. I can’t come to a conclusion. Again, I’m convinced that his college coaches told him to rely on his bullrush simply because he doesn’t need to rely on anything else. He has his moments where he’s stiff, but he also has his moments where he has adaquate hip flexibility, and some of it has come against higher-level competition.

    Also, the flexibility is evident with a bad spin move. He knows how to execute one, but it’s awkward.

    Overall(as a pass rusher)

    If you’re accounting for him as a pass rusher, he’s really good at 3 of the tools, adequate with one of them, and doesn’t flash the last one consistently enough for me to come to a fair verdict. He isn’t Polite, who is nothing but a speed rush. Ferguson is a very smart power rusher. He converts speed to power very well, he knows how to use his hands, he has a plan of attack and the Mississippi State shows that to me. They were stone-walling that bull-rush in the first half, so in the second half he adjusted his strategy and proceeded to dominate the game. He knows how to properly execute stunts, he knows how to hit certain gaps to let other rusher go behind him. He’s a fundamentally sound pass rusher with elite power who can do just about everything well.

    Where he needs to improve is with his flexibility and he could feasibly stand to get more explosive. What would really help him in my eyes, is honestly taking up a Yoga class. I have little doubts that he will shed weight in a pro-program. Regardless of what the team was. He could get down to 255 and he’d still be very strong and likely be more explosive. He needs to get more flexible if he ever wants to reach his pro potential as a pass rusher, because I’m telling you, there’s a lot to work with here.

    When accounting for everything, he might be a day one upgrade over Za’Darius. He’s very strong, knows how to use his hands better than Za’Darius ever could, he’s had good experience rushing from the interior in a platoon role, he’s good at shooting gaps, and unlike Za’Darius until this past season he can finish. If Harbaugh gives Ferguson a fair opportunity I could see him being a guy who racks up a lot of pressures without manufacturing the pass rush and getting anywhere from 4-8 sacks this year.

    So he measures up as a very good, and more polished than most have given him credit for, pass rusher. So what about the rest of his traits?

    The problem I currently have with Ferguson aside from his flexibility is that he is not a good run defender, and he’s not great in coverage. Sure, playing in a hybrid will mitigate the second part, but he is a very inconsistent edge defender, and it’s not because of his technical abilities. He displays competence in that regard when he wants too. I’ve seen countless snaps of him seemingly being disinterested in run defense.

    His motor goes at 100% as a pass rusher, to the point where his bad tape there is very minimal. He dominates a lot of his competition. Even in games where he starts slow, he’s made an impact and he has a counter-attack plan. But that effort is not present as a run defender. He makes a better effort to sniff out screens if we are totally honest.

    I had a second round grade on Ferguson. I have my problems with him. I think if that effort of his in run defense doesn’t get corrected he’s going to amount to nothing more than a situational pass rusher in the NFL.

    Though that’s not a bad thing, and if you can get a really good one in the third round, that’s a great value pick. I could see Ferguson turning into a 10+ sack guy. He won’t dominate people at the NFL like he did in college, but I don’t think anyone expects him to. But he will do very well against weaker zone tackles, and he’ll do well against power guards who can’t combat his longer arms. He will be productive at the NFL level if we give him an opportunity. He won’t be a mainstay edge rusher like a Suggs, Garret, Chubb, Mack, Miller, or others, but if you can get a situational edge rusher in the third round who can platoon between edge and interior rusher that can get you 10 sacks at his peak, that’s more than worth a third rounder. He’s never gonna be a pro bowler in my eyes, but what he brings to the table is very valuable in the NFL.

    That said, I don’t think Harbaugh gives him a chance. He never does to rookies pass rushers who aren’t good run defenders. See Tim Williams who in my eyes a polar opposite style player. Tim Williams is a speed rusher who has elite fundamentals, flexibility, and above average speed, but struggles with power and length. Tim Williams could also be a 10+ sack guy though. Having him and Ferguson together creates a well-balanced tandem that could be anchors on the defense for the next decade. Ferguson by all means should be the third edge rusher this season, but I have a bad feeling that his rookie year will be wasted because Harbaugh will want to force Bowser, a SAM linebacker we are trying to put at EDGE to pin his ears back when Ferguson is simply more refined.

    Overall, there’s a lot to like. I just would be very surprised to see him produce as a rookie, even though he should get lots of playing time.

    If all goes well, Ferguson could make opposing offenses look like Turds.
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  2. Lost_In_The_Sauce

    Lost_In_The_Sauce Staff Member Administrator Writer Banned

  3. RavensMania

    RavensMania Staff Member Administrator

    nice write-up. Very well done
  4. Edgar

    Edgar MVP

    He's an inconsistent run player but he is way better to my mind than being given credit. I only recall him being moved off the line of scrimmage one time. And that was off a double team and it appeared he gave half effort when the play went away from him. He is NFL strong and more than capable of setting the edge in the run game and in holding up at the point.
    He can be fooled with counters and fakes out of the backfield but I think its a matter of focus and reps. He had better get his effort together. No excuse for his half hearted pursuit backside....pretty disturbing and downright not Raven - like at times.

    I think he'll start in rotation with Williams.
    nice work as per usual!
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  5. Dom McRaven

    Dom McRaven Ravens Ring of Honor

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