Scouting Report | Jalen Jelks, DL, Oregon

02/21/2019
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Vitals

  • Position: Defensive End/Edge
  • Year: 5-Senior
  • Height: 6054
  • Weight: 250
  • Wing Span: 82 5/8
  • Arm Length: 33 7/8
  • Hand Width: 9 1/2 (Senior Bowl Measurements)

High School Background

  • Desert Vista (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • 3-star defensive line recruit (247Sports, ESPN, Rivals)
  • His three years of high school football were his first years of football experience
  • First team all-state honors (voted on by state-wide coaches)
  • Started at left tackle and defensive line his senior season.
  • Nine games as a senior: 72 tackles, 12 tackles for loss (10 sacks), three forced fumbles

College Background 

  • Redshirted first season in 2014
  • Pro Football Focus All-Pac-12 in 2017 
  • Second Team All-Pac-12 (media) in 2017
  • Joe Schaffield Award in 2017 (defensive line most valuable player…voted on by teammates)
  • First Team All-Pac-12 in 2018 (Coaches & Phil Steele)
  • Reese’s Senior Bowl participant
  • Three-time Pro Football Focus Pac-12 Team of the Week (Portland State, San Jose State, Utah)
  • Played for three different head coaches during career (Mark Helfrich, Willie Taggart, Mario Cristobal)

Experience

  • 2014: Redshirt
  • 2015: 11 games (108 games)
  • 2016: 8 games
  • 2017: 13 games (all starts)
  • 2018: 12 games (all starts, missed game versus Oregon State because of undisclosed injury)

Production
*Oregon Athletics 

Injury History

  • Missed final game of 2018 regular season with undisclosed injury (played in bowl game)

Strengths

  • Has attractive length and uses it well with the extension to keep his chest clean with plenty of space between he and the blocker. 
  • Attractive quickness with nimble feet and smooth change of direction skills. 
  • Executes noticeable vision to maintain leverage and then trusts his technique to make a play on the ball carrier. 

  • Can unlock hips and turn and run upfield quickly. Will surprise some being in the vicinity of the football based on initial position. 
  • Shows natural power at the point of attack showing off an initial jolt to keep blockers honest throughout the game. 
  • Not a burly lower body build but has enough lower half strength to stack at the point of attack to keep his base. 

  • Consistency in stacking and shedding versus the run. Excellent when executing versus tight ends.

  • Shows a theme of being slippery when engaged. Not a finesse player to become disengaged but finds ways to release from contact. 
  • Quickness in upper body movements even though not having a developed arsenal of moves. Consistently wins hand fights. 
  • Shows versatility and rarely comes off the field. Schemed to create mismatches across the line. 

“My natural position is defensive end, somebody on the edge. I can still play inside I can still play outside at the same time. I would call myself a defensive end. I can play nose, I can play tackle, I can pay end. But I’ve been getting comfortable with outside backer right now working with coach Dennison and making sure I read my keys because that contributes a lot to my plays, reading keys. If you read the wrong thing you might as well mess up and not even be involved in the play. Then when I move inside, when I’m playing D-line, watching their stance, watching their hand gestures, calls, little stuff like that, try to better my game inside because I know those guys are a little bit bigger than I am.” -Jelks told James Crepea of The Oregonian/OregonLive

Weaknesses

  • Doesn’t have a pass rush plan. Has the patience to wait and react to development of the play but not a plan to attack the pocket.
  • Patience in the pass rush can be viewed as lack of passion and aggressiveness. 
  • Zero pass rush creativity. Doesn’t have a go-to pass rush move to counter blockers.
  • Versatility can be viewed as a strength but did not excel at any one position. 
  • Has a nose for the football but not going to finish often when attacking the edge. 
  • Likes to bend the edge but based on alignment or path, he becomes irrelevant from playing too wide.
  • Toys with flexibility executing attractive bend on the outside but fails to utilize that potential advantage in the interior. 

Overall

Uncovering the fact that Jelks came into his collegiate career with only three years of prior football experience is nothing but impressive based on how he tied up his years in Eugene. Knowing that plus the utilization of his skill set in five years? Wow. Jelks played virtually every position across the defensive line with occasional snaps as a stand up rush linebacker aligning in a wide-nine or 7-tech position. Jelks was used in a multitude of ways by defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt (stayed as coordinator for Jelks’ entire career despite turnover in head coach), which looks good on surface but isn’t something incredibly attractive to next-level decision makers as it may seem to be. The fifth-year senior’s versatility paves way to make out for an intelligent and savvy player at the next level. However, Jelks did not overly excel at one position and should not be considered a jack-of-all-trades when factoring in his multifaceted alignments.

Eric Evans Photography, Oregon Athletics

Jelks showed a handful of successful plays when lining up in the interior using his quick upper body movements to overwhelm interior blockers. He showed flashes of creating penetration with a club-over move but would only seldom use it. Despite checking in at an even 250 pounds at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Jelks does possess some lower body girth to withstand contact from heavier opponents. He can sink his weight to his lower half and stand tall against contact at the point of attack. This is most noticeable versus the run when Jelks shows excellent ability to stack and shed. He hits his matchup with attractive extension to keep his shirt clean of sticky contact. His lateral movement skills in the run game provide him to be a rangy defender showing off attractive change of direction ability. 

The sporadic alignments for Jelks in 2018 could pave way for a fair argument in a decrease of production. Despite not having one specific position to continually craft, Jelks showed little to no glimpses of being a polished pass rusher. The 250-pound defensive lineman failed to consistently have a pass rush plan and his production tailed off because of it. Attempting to win nearly every rep with a power rush move or simply combating the opponent’s initial contact with hand quickness, did not applicate to success. Despite being a pass rusher with some tenacity, when not being too patient, Jelks can overwhelm his opposition with upper body quickness. However, attempting to win on simply a bull rush powered by 250 pounds and quick hand movements not supplemented with any technique, will not win many reps at the next level. 

Jelks’ lack of pass rush creativity and unskilled path to the pocket make him a project prospect on Day 3. 

Christian Page is a scout and writer for Cover1.net. His scouting experience dates back to 2015. Christian has a background of radio along with collegiate athletic department experience and corporate marketing.

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