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NFL Draft Profile: Ochaun Mathis, EDGE, Nebraska Cornhuskers

NFL Draft profile scouting report for Nebraska EDGE Ochaun Mathis

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nebraska cornhuskers

#32
Pos: EDGE
Ht: 6045
Wt: 257
40: 4.78
DOB: 1/9/1999
Hometown: Manor, TX
High School: Manor
Eligibility: 2023

Ochaun Mathis
Nebraska Cornhuskers


One-Liner:

A refined pass-rusher with solid open-field athleticism, Ochaun Mathis’s underwhelming play strength and movement skills through contact cloud his projection to the next level.

Evaluation:

To stand out in 2020, a season drastically altered by COVID-19, is no easy feat. Ochaun Mathis, though, had a career year as a redshirt sophomore. The Horned Frogs’ standout’s 22 games started and 6050, 257-pound frame will appeal to NFL teams. What’s more, Mathis boasts impressive straight-line speed, lateral movement skills and change of direction ability. He also flashes a quick first step when untouched. The TCU star wins with pass-rush technique. He freezes opponents with jab steps before attempting to capitalize. He generally engages with early and accurate hands, using his length to manage distance. More importantly, Mathis is smart with his hand placement, regularly attacking soft inside shoulders when he sees them. Additionally, the pass rusher consistently gets low into engagement before using length and leg drive to threaten the opposition’s anchor. When necessary, Mathis uses hand counters late in the play to free himself from contact. Against the run, the Texas native flashes the ability to set the edge and make plays through engagement. Mathis chases down breakaway runs and scrapes from the backside to make tackles. Further, his athleticism will enable him to operate in coverage at times in the league. A physical, solid tackler with a high motor, the talented defender can play 3-4 outside linebacker (SAM) or 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. Despite his somewhat refined play, TCU’s All-Big 12 pass-rusher will need to overcome various shortcomings to find consistent success in the league. His play recognition is below average. What’s more, Mathis lacks a pass-rush plan. He appears hesitant into contact as he plans his attack mid-snap. Moreover, his tendency to win with counters leaves his opposition ample time for their play to develop. Further, the Texas native severely lacks play strength and power. He is consistently controlled, driven back or washed out in both half and full man. Mathis is generally beaten once linemen land hands on his frame and cannot reliably shed blocks. His poor pass-rush plan exacerbates his play strength concerns, as he hesitates into contact. The Horned Frogs’ star’s limited power even impacts his movement skills. Although quick when untouched, he is rarely afforded that luxury at his position. Linemen mirror him easily after landing hands on his chest. Mathis’s poor movement through contact leaves him struggling to capitalize on his strengths. Additionally, his insufficient bend leads to linear and segmented rushes. Against the run, Mathis’s slow processing and unreliable anchor leave him out of contention too frequently. The All-Big 12 defender also displays poor gap integrity and discipline. As a tackler, Mathis bites on body fakes and jab steps. An experienced and productive pass-rusher, Ochaun Mathis wins with impressive open-field athleticism and refined hands. That said, he struggles to consistently capitalize and finish plays because of his concerning play strength and movement skills through contact. Mathis projects as a developmental piece whose versatility to operate as a 3-4 SAM and a 4-3 defensive end will appeal to teams. He has solid backup potential. 

Grade:

5th Round

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Background:

Born on January first, 1999 in Manor, Texas, Ochaun Mathis was an outstanding athlete at Manor High School. In his junior season, the now-TCU star earned first-team All-District 6-5A honors. As a senior, he posted strong numbers - 75 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks - that helped him stand out from his peers. In recognition of Mathis’s impressive high school career, 247Sports Composite Rankings listed him as a three-star recruit. The same outlet named him the 746th-overall player nationally, the 44th-ranked weak-side defensive end in his class and the 103rd-best player from Texas in his year. As a freshman at TCU, Mathis played in four games before exercising his redshirt. In those contests, he made four tackles and one-half tackle for loss. In his second season, Mathis started all twelve games. He tied for fifth on the team with 40 tackles, second on the team with nine tackles for loss and third on the team with 2.5 sacks. He also defended one pass. As a redshirt sophomore, Mathis continued his excellent career. He started all ten games and led the Big 12 in sacks per game at .9 (good for 12th nationally). His nine sacks led the team and were the most by a Horned Frog since 2017. Moreover, Mathis’s 14 tackles for loss were second on TCU, third in the Big 12 and tied for 12th in the FBS. His 46 tackles were fourth on the team. Additionally, the Manor native forced one fumble and recovered another. He was named Second-Team All-Big 12 and Second-Team AP All-Big 12 and received Honorable Mention Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year. Mathis’s outstanding play to this point saw him placed on the 2021 Lombardi Award Watch List; this award is given to the offensive or defensive lineman who best embodies the spirit and values of legendary NFL coach, Vince Lombardi.