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TOP-15 PICK? One prospect who could go much higher than most realize


With the mock draftification of the football-watching world, everyone thinks they know how the first round will play out. But every April brings surprises, with players going much higher or lower than groupthink anticipated. Who predicted Clelin Ferrell would go No. 4 overall in last year's draft? Where will the stunning selection occur two months from now?

Well, if you're looking for a sleeper top-15 pick, look no further than Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos. The 6-foot-5, 266-pound edge defender hasn't garnered a lot of national buzz as one of the banner prospects in the 2020 class, but he's creeping up draft boards, with more evaluators beginning to dig a little deeper into his tape.

"He's a really good player," an NFC senior executive told me. "He has size, length and skills. Plus, he plays hard and has a knack for getting to the quarterback.

"I like him. I like him a lot."

Gross-Matos entered the draft after a solid three-year run at Penn State that resulted in 111 career tackles, 19 sacks and 37 tackles for loss. He exhibited outstanding hand skills as a pass rusher with a strong push-pull maneuver and an assortment of rip moves that enable him to win against overaggressive edge blockers. Gross-Matos' ability to set up and sequence his moves is uncommon for a young player, particularly an athletic rusher with B+ movement skills and agility. Most young rushers opt for speed moves or attempt to overpower blockers with brute force, but Gross-Matos uses technique and savvy to win consistently off the edge.

Those same skills and techniques also enable the Penn State standout to shine as a run defender. Gross-Matos flashes "stack and shed" ability at the point of attack, while also exhibiting disruptive potential on angles and stunts. He has a knack for running down ball carriers from behind, and his high-revving motor should make him an effective three-down defender on the edges.

"I like the way that he plays," another NFC executive said. "He competes and flashes some disruptive potential. He's not quite a finished product, but he has potential. ... He's a good player."

Now, in Indy, Gross-Matos will certainly be asked about being named in a lawsuit brought by a former Penn State player that alleges hazing in the football program. And in terms of his on-field performance, skeptics will question his first-step quickness and the explosiveness of his athleticism. But Gross-Matos' technical skills and non-stop effort could make him a consistent 10-sack guy at the next level. Looking at the Penn State standout closely on tape, I can envision him blossoming into a Jason Pierre-Paul-like playmaker off the edge. It might take a year or two for Gross-Matos to settle into his role and add enough tools to the toolbox to dominate off the edge, but he certainly flashes enough potential as a young player to warrant consideration as a fringe blue-chip talent.

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3 hours ago, Boise Falcon Fan said:

Don't know much about the hazing allegations. Will he pass the Falcon Filter?

The Hazing is a civil suit, and not against YGM, though he was mentioned in it. Until proven otherwise I say he is a good kid. Read his story sometime about overcoming the death of his father and brother.

The college actually submitted info to the DA to file a criminal suit back when it initially “happened” but it was dismissed quickly after they reviewed the claims. Take what you will from that. 

Dudes gonna light up workouts on pro day. He only skipped certain workouts (like 40) at combine due to a healing hammy. Had a nice vert though, explosive athlete.

sincerely, your AFMB PSU alumni :D

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How does someone 6'5'' have Zero Pass defensed?? Whole college career? None? Is that a not a big deal?

Wish I could find the article that popped up a few years ago when JJ Watt was swatting balls down and was a precursor to pass rushing performance. That theory seems to have fallen to the wayside as never hear about it anymore.

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