The NFL draft is just days away, and by this point each player has been analyzed, scrutinized, and romanticized by every NFL guru from Kalamazoo to Calcutta. We here at pigskinpress.com turn once again to our director of scouting Nathan Cooper to help us look deeper into the draft at some guys from the group of five that may be a real steal on draft day!
Holds school record and 2nd in NCAA history in career sacks (42)
2x Sun Belt Player of the Year (2016, 2017)
3x First Team All-Sun Belt (2015, 2016, 2017 – Coaches)
2014 Freshman All-American (FWAA)
2014 Second Team All-Sun Belt (Coaches)
Major in Sport Management
2-Star in 2013 (247Sports)
Character – A
2017 Game Captain
Medical – C
2013 – Tore his MCL in Fall Camp and missed the entire season, using a Redshirt
2014 – Suffered an elbow injury against South Alabama and missed final three games of the season
Very explosive 1st step
Relentless with good range and pursuit
Shows the ability to convert speed to power as a pass rusher
Below-average balance and body control
Inconsistent hand use
Struggles with leverage
Gets enveloped by double-teams
Summary Rolland-Jones projects as a 4-3 Sam Linebacker at the NFL level with the ability to come off the edge as a rusher in pass-rush situations. In college at Arkansas State, he played with his hand in the dirt anywhere from a 4-tech and out and also stood up on the edge. He is a good athlete that plays with good toughness. He has a very high motor and plays relentlessly to the ball. Against the run, he does an adequate job setting the edge. He can get hands on tight ends to stack and shed to make plays, but struggles with his hand use against larger blockers. He can set the edge against backs and tight ends, but will get pushed off the LOS by linemen and double teams. He only produces a few times a game against the run, but makes tackles when put into those opportunities. He plays better in space and when he doesn’t have to shed many blockers. Against the pass, he shows pass rush ability to be productive at the next level. He’s incredibly explosive with his 1st step to get around the edge. He doesn’t have a large repertoire of pass rush moves, as he mainly tries to bull, get around the edge with speed or convert speed to power. He doesn’t have great bend around the edge, but possesses speed and agility to get around tackles with speed. He shows the ability to rush with his hand in the ground or standing up. He seems to struggle against better competition, as he seemed to be pretty ineffective against Nebraska while showing good production against his Sun Belt competition. He doesn’t use his length or his hands as much as he should. He seems to throw his shoulder and elbows into blockers to get leverage instead of consistently getting his hands on and dictating the movement. With leverage, he comes off fast, but high at the POA. He doesn’t always use great leverage and will get stymied by larger and longer blockers. He doesn’t play with great balance and body control. He seems to get knocked off balance way more than you’d like to see. He goes down to the ground or falls by the wayside more than he should. He rarely played in coverage, but did drop into the flat on a couple of occasions. On 3rd downs, he can drop down on the ball and rush off the edge. He will need to show he can compete and contribute on special teams to stick around. Rolland-Jones should come in and compete for reps on pass-rush downs early on while playing some on teams. Eventually, with some coaching and development, he should turn into a decent off-ball linebacker and solid situational pass rusher.
NFL Comparison: Eli Harold, 49ers (3rd Round, 2015) Rolland-Jones and Harold both possess similar size and skills. They were extremely productive edge rushers in college and bring very good explosiveness off the line, but struggle with consistent hand usage and getting off of stronger blockers.
Grade: 6.1 (Mid-Early 4th Round)
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