There’s a saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and in a loose application of that proverb, the absence of complete edge defender prospects behind Chase Young in the 2020 NFL Draft class has teams viewing high-ceiling prospects such as K’Lavon Chaisson and Yetur Gross-Matos in a softer light.
PFF Lead Draft Analyst Mike Renner dove into what will have teams enamored with Chaisson — namely, freakish athletic tools — but also what has us considerably lower on him than most. That would be the fact that Chaisson never used those tools to produce at a high level at LSU, failing to eclipse an 80.0 pass-rushing grade in any single game this past season. The physical traits and tools only matter so much if they were never used to dominate as a pass rusher, bringing us to Gross-Matos.
In a similar fashion to Chaisson, Gross-Matos looks the part. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds with nearly 35-inch arms, he has the build and flexibility of an NFL edge defender. He has the impressive flashes on his tape, too. Just turn on the Iowa game to see the kind of power he brings with his hands.
The running back does a good job of picking him up here, but Gross-Matos just discards the left tackle, Alaric Jackson. That game also featured his best performance of the season against the run, earning an 87.5 run-defense grade across 20 run-defense snaps. The PFF Draft Guide lists Gross-Matos’ ability to “slither under and around offensive linemen” as one of his pros, and that’s exactly what he does to make this stop on the first play of the game.