Height: 6-foot 5
Weight: 264 lbs
School: Penn State
Yeuter Gross-Matos is an edge rusher who played collegiately at Penn State. Born in New Jersey, his family moved to Virginia when he was young.
Gross-Matos endured multiple tragedies during his childhood. When he was just two years old, his father died in a boating accident while trying to save him. Nine years later, Gross Matos’ brother was killed after being struck by lightning on a baseball field. He went on to play football at Chancellor High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Gross-Matos was a highly-touted prospect coming out of high school. He had offers from some of the top football programs in the country, including Alabama, Penn State, and Clemson. He ultimately decided to commit to Penn State, making his decision official in February of 2016.
As a true freshman in 2017, Gross-Matos appeared in 13 games for the Nittany Lions and had 17 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery.
He recorded one total tackle and a sack during Penn State’s 35-28 win over Washington in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl. Gross-Matos saw his playing time increase during his sophomore season, as he made 13 starts and had 54 total tackles (20 tackles for loss), eight sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He was named to the First-Team All-Big Ten for 2018.
Gross-Matos is coming off a solid junior season in which he had 40 total tackles (14.5 tackles for loss) and nine sacks in 11 games played. He recorded one total tackle and a sack in the 2019 Cotton Bowl, as Penn State beat Memphis 53-39.
He was named to the First-Team All-Big Ten for the second consecutive year. He chose to forgo his senior season at Penn State and declared for the 2020 NFL Draft.
There are plenty of good edge rushers in this year’s draft class, so Gross-Matos might be slipping under the radar in terms of first-round prospects. He’s not getting as much attention as guys like Chase Young, A.J. Epenesa, and K’Lavon Chaisson.
However, Gross-Matos is very similar in size to Young, the player regarded by many as one of the top overall prospects in the draft. In terms of teams looking for an edge rusher later in the first round, Gross-Matos is an appealing option. He has the size, quickness, and physicality to be a formidable starting defensive end in the NFL.
Why He’s a Fit
Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman has already made improving his team’s defense a priority this offseason.
The Giants have placed their franchise tag on defensive lineman Leonard Williams, signed former Green Bay Packers’ linebackers Blake Martinez and Kyle Fackrell, and also agreed to a deal with cornerback James Bradberry. Gettleman will now be able to use the draft to bolster other areas of the defense.
There are a couple of different scenarios in which the Giants could be in a position to draft Gross-Matos. Gettleman could decide to trade down to get more picks later in the draft. In this situation, he could select Gross-Matos in the second half of the first round.
If Gettleman instead decides to keep the fourth overall pick, there’s a chance that he uses it to select an offensive tackle. Gross-Matos would then be a potential option for the Giants if he ends up falling to the second round.
The Giants are going to need to take an edge rusher at some point during the draft. Although they recently placed the franchise tag on Williams, it’s unclear right now whether he’s going to play defensive tackle or defensive end this season.
Williams played both positions for the Giants in 2019. It will all depend on how new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham wants to utilize him in the system that he implements.
Other than Williams, the Giants’ main edge rushers are Dexter Lawrence and B.J. Hill. They need to add more depth at this position.
The Giants’ defense had plenty of issues last season, with one of the most glaring ones being a lack of a consistent pass-rush. They recorded just 36 sacks in 2019. Only ten teams in the NFL had less.
Lawrence showed some promise during his rookie season, but the Giants still need someone who can line up at the other defensive end spot. If they can add a good edge rusher to go along with Lawrence, their pass rush could significantly improve in 2020.
Until they get a menacing pass-rusher, the Giants’ defense will continually struggle to slow down offenses. They need someone who can get to the quarterback and force him to get rid of the ball quickly.
Gross-Matos has the size and skill set to be that guy, which is why he would be a good option for the Giants if Gettleman decides to take an edge rusher during one of the first two rounds of the draft.