A big part of the Kentucky Wildcats success of making back to back bowl games for the first time since 2010 was the play of their defense. And with Josh Allen, Jordan Jones and Denzil Ware all choosing not to enter the 2018 NFL Draft the Wildcats were bringing back plenty of firepower. That was until Ware announced he was transferring to Jacksonville State. Here we’ll get to know Denzil Ware better and whether he can dominate the FCS.
Who is Denzil Ware
After redshirting his freshman year he quickly became a starter and continued to do so through his junior year. At 6’2 255lbs Ware lined up as an outside linebacker in the Wildcats 3-4 defense accumulating 13 sacks and 27 tackles for loss over 35 games in the SEC. But after being suspended for the Music City Bowl Ware decided to transfer and since he had already graduated he was free to join any program. Ware’s success and traits suggested he would be a hot commodity but shocked a lot of people when he moved closer to home and joined FCS program Jacksonville State.
Denzil Ware as a Pass Rusher
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) July 31, 2017
Lining up on the edge of the line of scrimmage Ware is often standing and working against both offensive tackles and tight ends. Ware is more of a straight line athlete who is a bit stiff lacking the flexibility to bend around the edge. This means he has to use speed and quickness off the line to win around the edge. To help him generate pressure Ware is often used in line movement looping inside to generate free runs at the quarterback.
Denzil Ware Against the Run
Playing along the edge of the offensive line Ware has to take on bigger offensive tackles and at his 6’2 245-255lb frame. This can be a struggle at times for Ware as he isn’t the biggest edge defender and can often time get overwhelmed by those tackles. Sure he can hold the point of attack, but he isn’t the most aggressive against the run and often times will get hung up on blocks. Even when he is free he lacks the burst and speed needed to be a true shut down defender and running backs have often beat him to the corner. Ware will likely have to move off the ball which should only stand to help him.
Ware had some mild success at Kentucky as 13 sacks in a major conference like the SEC is no joke. However he still has a long ways to go before he is considered a top edge rusher. Moving down from the SEC to the FCS was raise a few eyebrows with scouts and talent evaluators, but it should give Ware a shot to really have a great season. But if he struggles in the FCS or just puts up similar numbers than it could really hurt his chances. Ware will likely need to move off the ball in the NFL to a Strongside Linebacker role anyways and he’ll likely be a down lineman for the Gamecocks. Risky move for Ware, but we’ll see how it pays off. At this point he’s probably a Day 3 prospect, and I’m not sure he really moves off of that.