Name: Joe Mathis
Position: Edge defender (4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker)
Stats to know: 20.2 pass-rushing productivity last season led all edge-rushers in the Power-5.
What he does best:
- Thick lower half that allows him to play with immense power despite being only about 260 pounds. Stout on contact in the run game and explosive with the bull rush as a pass-rusher.
- Short area quickness is that of someone 20 pounds lighter. Can play the power game as well as the quicks game.
- Plays with ridiculous leverage when he wants to in the run game. Can get under tackles shoulder pads in the run game seemingly at will.
- Already a fairly developed compliment of pass-rushing moves. Bull is his go-to, but won regularly inside and outside as well.
- Injured halfway through senior season. Only 556 snaps of middling production the previous two seasons.
- Not terribly bendy. Much of his production last season came dipping his shoulder to the edge, but that may not be sustainable with his flexibility against NFL tackles.
- Will play high at times when he’s reading plays in the run game. At his best when given free rein to attack.
- Burst is only adequate for the position. Nothing overly special.
Player comparison: Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens
This comp is far closer to the current incarnation of Suggs than the former defensive player of the year version, but stylistically it fits. Mathis wants to light up every offensive tackle lined up in front of him whether it be versus the run or pass.
Bottom line: The limited tape is going to be a huge concern with Mathis. He only managed six games his senior year, and even then he came off the field regularly. Those 258 snaps as a senior were utterly dominant and came against offensive lines like Stanford and Oregon that were no pushovers. Because of all that, it’s unlikely he goes highly in April’s draft, but if that production were to continue over the course of a whole season he would have been in the first-round mix.