You are watching: 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Duke Ejiofor
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Ejiofor went under the radar playing at Wake Forest, and he could end up being one of the top values in the 2018 NFL Draft. After recording 4.5 sacks as a sophomore, Ejiofor broke out in 2016 with 10.5 sacks, 50 tackles, four passes broken up, forced fumbles and one interception. He wasn’t as good as a senior, but he also saw more blocking attention and teams tried to move plays away from him at times. Ejiofor totaled 43 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted for 2017.
Ejiofor has the skill set to be good pro pass-rusher. He is strong, thick and quick. Ejiofor is at his best in obvious passing situations when he can pin his ears back and go after the quarterback. He will use a variety of moves to get off blocks, including a spin, club and swim to go along with speed around the corner – see the video below. He also has the ability to move inside and rush against guards in passing situations. Ejiofor presents a real speed mismatch on the inside.
As a run defender, Ejiofor is a sturdy end. He is strong and able to disengage from blocks to get in on tackles. He just has to get more consistent on a down-by-down basis. There were too many stretches when Ejiofor was quiet against weak offensive tackles. That was the case in the ground game and the pass rush. To put it mildly, Ejiofor didn’t impress with his motor during his collegiate career.
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In the NFL, Ejiofor has the skill set to be a double-digit sacker and Pro Bowler. He has a lot of talent with speed, strength and athleticism. If he works hard and improves his motor, he could be an excellent defensive end. However, his lack of a steady motor and consistency has caused him to be graded on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, according to multiple team sources. Ejiofor is a bit of a boom/bust prospect, but he could be a steal if he gets motivated and consistently plays with a higher level of effort.
Player Comparison: Justin Tuck. When Ejiofor is playing well, he reminds me of Justin Tuck during his good years with the New York Giants. Tuck was a quick, thick and athletic defensive end who also could rush from the inside in passing situations. In the 2005 NFL Draft, Tuck was a steal as a third-round pick. Ejiofor should go on Day 2 this year, and if he pans out, I think he could be an end similar to Tuck.
NFL Matches: Indianapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, Miami, Green Bay, Detroit, Carolina, Tennessee, New Orleans, New York Giants and New England
There are a lot of teams that could target Ejiofor on the second day 2018 NFL Draft. This is a weak edge-rushing class, and that is a premium position in the NFL, so Ejiofor could have plenty of teams hoping to land him.
New England also needs more young talent at defensive end and outside linebacker. The lack of edge rush really hurt the Patriots in the Super Bowl. They could target Ejiofor with one of their second-round picks or their third-round pick if he slides. New England has shown interest in Ejiofor and would be a great landing spot for him.
The Giants traded away Jason Pierre-Paul and could use more defensive end talent. Ejiofor would make a lot of sense for the Giants with one of their high third-round picks.
The Lions need an edge pass-rusher to go across from Ziggy Ansah. Ejiofor would be a fit for them. Carolina can’t count on Julius Peppers playing much longer, and Ejiofor would make sense as an immediate rotational pass-rusher.
The Titans also could use a young edge rusher. Their pass rush needs to be improved,and Ejiofor could fit as an outside linebacker for Mike Vrabel. The Saints could use an end upgrade across from Cam Jordan. If Ejiofor got to their third-round pick, he would make a lot of sense. Elsewhere in the AFC South, the Colts have three second-round picks and need more edge-rushing talent.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has stated the team needs more edge-rushing talent. Ejiofor could interest Lynch to replace Elvis Dumervil and finish off their four-man line going with Thomas, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead.
Staying in the Bay area, the Raiders badly need more front seven talent. Ejiofor could be a good fit for Oakland as an edge rusher across from Khalil Mack.
The Dolphins could consider Ejiofor in the second round, as they could use an end to go across from Charles Harris. Green Bay also could use more edge talent, and Ejiofor could give the Packers some speed off the edge.
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