While he didn’t go to a Power 5 school, there is a player on display at the Senior Bowl, who is already turning heads to be a possible great pass-rusher in the NFL. And the question now becomes: how much attention should the Jaguars and the Dolphins be paying to defensive end Jaylon Ferguson?
If you don’t know the name, Ferguson is a former defensive star at Louisiana Tech. Playing for Coach Skip Holtz’s squad and he was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. He was a third-team All-American from the Associated Press this past season. Ferguson led the nation with 17.5 sacks and another 26 tackles for loss for a combined gaudy 43.5 hits behind the line of scrimmage playing for the Bulldogs.
And, this week in Mobile his 6’5, 270 lb frame (shown above in Hawaii Bowl in December) has scouts and personnel people drooling at his potential.
One such talent evaluator is former NFL Defender Bucky Brooks, who is now an analyst for the NFL Network and in this video piece Thursday afternoon from the Senior Bowl, he detailed how he believes Ferguson is one of two players that are clearly in the mix to be high draft picks in April’s NFL draft:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 25, 2019
So the question now becomes how interested will the Jaguars be at #7 overall and likewise, for the Dolphins at 13th in the upcoming draft?
The Jaguars do you have outstanding young edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue and veteran Calais Campbell just made his second straight Pro Bowl in Jacksonville. However, Campbell is 34 and you clearly have to look to the future.
That future, now does not include former number 1 pick, Dante Fowler, who Jacksonville traded away to the Rams in October. So, the Jaguars are looking to reload with pass rushers. And while there is a debate about whether Ferguson warrants being as high as the 7th overall pick, they may start warming up to him after this week.
It would be less risky in one regard for Miami to take Ferguson later in the top 15, but, the Dolphins also have already been burned by drafting Charles Harris from Missouri two years ago, as a defensive end in the first round. Harris has basically been an injured bust for two seasons and that could scare them from taking Ferguson high in the draft.
Then again, the Dolphins are apparently going to be hiring a defensive-minded coach in Patriots assistant Brian Flores, and they need younger pass-rushers. This is, as Cameron Wake will be 37 at the end of the month and Robert Quinn, whom they acquired from the Rams last March, is turning 29 later this year.
So, Miami has to look to for out at end rushers, too.
Further, as most teams realize, you cannot have enough good pass-rushers in the present-day NFL with the number of times teams are throwing the ball against you.
And, there are other pass rushers to consider, including Montez Sweat of Mississippi State, who’s also in Mobile playing in the Senior Bowl Saturday.
Finally, remember that a year ago the name Marcus Davenport of UT-San Antonio, the CUSA passing star of 2017, was making noise at the Senior Bowl. And, come April of last year, the Saints ended up trading up to the #14th pick to take him.
It cold be a similar story for this year’s smaller conference star, Jaylon Ferguson, too.
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