The Houston Texans drafted Florida Gators outside linebacker Jonathan Greenard in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. It was a selection to bring youth back to the outside linebacker position and, more importantly, find a potential starter for future seasons.
In 2019, Greenard was a graduate transfer to Florida where he appeared in 12 games leading the SEC with 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. He also had 52 total tackles, three forced fumbles, four pass breakups.
Greenard arrives to the Texans spending one season with the Florida Gators and being their most disruptive edge presence. We talked to SI.com's All Gators Zach Goodall about Greenard's time with the Gators.
Goodall gives a nugget to State of the Texans how the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff used Greenard in a role at the Senior Bowl that helped the Texans see him as a fit in their defense.
Goodall covers the Gators and saw an impressive graduate season from Greenard, and he helped give us an inside look on what the Texans' are potentially getting in their newest outside linebacker.
Inside Look on Texans Jonathan Greenard
Greenard arrived as a graduate transfer, what were the initial expectations?
Greenard arrived at Florida to serve as a band-aid at the BUCK rush end position, a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker that serves as the team's primary pass rusher. Florida had signed two players at the position in the 2019 recruiting class, but without Greenard, those two and an unproven junior in Jeremiah Moon would have been relied upon after Jachai Polite declared early for the 2019 NFL Draft. After missing the 2018 season at Louisville with a broken wrist, no one expected Greenard to explode onto the scene the way he did.
One of the SEC best pass rushers, what did you see week to week from him?
Not only led the team with 47 quarterback pressures (PFF), but Greenard's 10 sacks and 16 tackles for loss led the SEC in those individual categories, while Florida led the SEC in sacks with 49.
He's a high-effort player that the defense revolved around, who provides a good amount of burst off of the edge and found success with a spin move and a dip-and-rip move. Greenard doesn't have a great bend, which may limit him to pressures that don't end in sacks at times, but his bend isn't bad either.
The best word to describe him on the edge is disruptive.
There is plenty of discussion of his pass rush skill, but how is he versus the run?
Greenard is also a solid run defender who does a primarily good job of working from the outside-in to affect inside rushes. He is stout and plays with a low center of gravity, so don't expect tackles to kick him out on zone rushes. He carries plus length to affect the run even if he isn't the player making the tackle.
How was Greenard off the field for the Gators?
Greenard was considered one of the leaders of Florida's locker room, and the two edge rushers that signed in the 2019 class often gave him credit in their development. Both players saw the field during their freshmen campaigns.
What do you expect for Greenard for in the NFL?
He may not be a consistent ten sack a year player at the NFL level, but Greenard brings a hot motor and determination to the edge position for Houston. I'd expect him to consistently create pressure and help JJ Watt set the tone at the line of scrimmage. The Bengals' coaching staff also used Greenard as a 4-3u SAM linebacker at the Senior Bowl and occasionally dropped him into coverage - something he didn't do at Florida. Obviously, the tape is limited there, but he seemed to hold down the flats against tight ends.
Special thanks to Zach Goodall for taking time to give a better look at Jonathan Greenard. You can follow him for Florida Gators updates here.
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