Name: Elijah Qualls
Position fit: Defensive interior
Stats to know: 4 sacks, 2 hits and 29 hurries in 2016 are impressive pass-rush numbers for a nose tackle.
What he does best:
- Very good run defender who collected 20 run stops in 2016.
- Uses his big frame and strength to clog up the line up the line of scrimmage.
- Holds up better to double teams than many other DTs in the class.
- Plays with a brawling style and violent hands.
- Good foot quickness and balance for his size.
- Can line up at multiple positions along the defensive line.
- Plays with effort and will keep going after the ball until the whistle blows.
- Very effective bull rush to push blockers into the pocket.
- Can get to the QB in different ways bull, bull jerk, spin, club-swim.
- Rushed the passer 77 times from the edge, picked up a healthy eight pressures (10.3 percent of rushes).
- Very good balance to use spin moves or to re-direct during his rush.
- Lacks ideal height and length. Lack of arm length in particular is a major issue as he can get engulfed at the point of attack.
- May struggle against better offensive linemen if he can’t win with initial quickness.
- Played on a very talented defensive line and wasn’t necessarily game planned against.
- Not going to be an 8-sack a year defensive linemen but will generate pressure.
- Ankle injury in 2015 cost him three full games and a large number of snaps in two other games.
Bottom line: Qualls is an effective run defender who wins with strength, hands or quickness. He’s shown the ability to hold up at the point of attack, but his short arms allow him to get engulfed at times and it’s a concern for the next level. He has the quicks to be an effective pass-rusher, perhaps lining up in a number of roles along the way. At 320 pounds, Qualls can at least be an effective space eater in the middle of the defense.