Prospect: LB Donovan Ezeiruaku
Projected Position: Edge or Off-Ball Linebacker
Status: SI All-American candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 210 pounds.
School: Williamstown (N.J.) Williamstown
Committed to: Boston College
Frame: Athletic, yet average length and definition for his position. Tight and narrow torso and midsection. Athletic and thin lower half.
Athleticism: Long and triple-jumper in track and field, where he also throws the discus and shot put. Solid quickness and urgency post-snap. Does a solid job of keeping an arm free at the point in the take-on phase versus the run and comes to balance to finish the play-side. Solid downhill trigger when working off-ball and can reach ball-carriers attempting to compromise his leverage on perimeter runs. Can jump to clear hips through entry points with fair ability to bend on edge. Plants before cornering to passers.
Instincts: Gets a solid 2-hand punch with accuracy versus OTs and TEs in base-block situations. Can thump versus pulls and kick-outs with good toughness. Capable of taking advantage of slow gap hands and weak power steps as a rusher to win inside. Is alert to not overrun launch points when crashing from edges. Takes a deliberate path when used on TEX stunts. Flashes good zone eyes to pick up 2 and 3 and carry shallow in underneath coverage.
Polish: Versatile and somewhat rare defender who could be successful both on and off the ball. Plays Edge/Buck, as well as Sam and Mike. Even has lined up at safety depth. His pass-rush toolbox is limited with mostly a swim, speed-to-power and speed rush with hesitation/stutter. Is undersized and light, which leads to him stalling versus mass, power and strong grabs. Will need to increase strength and power.
Bottom Line: There are linebackers and edge-types who have better size than Ezeiruaku, however, the New Jersey native offers good versatility. He can hold his own at the point on the edge, yet also has solid awareness to play in underneath zone coverage concepts. Ezeiruaku can work as an Edge, but could also fare well as a Sam or even as a Will ‘backer in a 4-3 defensive front seven.