Oregon may be known for their break neck speed on offense, but for as good as their offense has been they don’t really produce a ton of NFL talent on offense. What they have produced lately is massive defensive ends in two 6’8 twin towers of Arik Armstead and DeForrest Buckner who were both drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the top ten. While Jalen Jelks isn’t as big as Armstead or Buckner he could be the latest Oregon defensive end to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft
Who is Jalen Jelks?
Playing the right defensive end in the Ducks 3-4 defense he lines up primarily in the gap between the guard and the tackle often times on the inside shoulder of the tackle. In the Ducks defense they ask the 6’6 246lb defensive end to use his length to take on blockers and play two gaps often reading the play instead of being aggressive.
What Jalen Jelks does well
Jelks is a good run defender who uses his length well to take on blockers and still have the ability to shed blocks and make a play on the ball. Jelks can get pushed around a bit when working more inside, but lining up against offensive tackles he’s able to hold his own. Even when aggressive Jelks shows the ability to create penetration and chase down the ball with burst and acceleration.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) June 11, 2018
The nature of his role within the Ducks defense he doesn’t turn it loose in pass rush, but when given the opportunity he can show burst off the line, power to drive offensive lineman back and even has a few pass rushing moves up his sleeve. Jelks used a club and swim to get penetration and forcing the quarterback to move while his active hands can be used to keep lineman’s hands off of him.
Where Jalen Jelks Best Fits
Transitioning to the NFL Jelks would be best suited to play more on the edge than inside. Unlike his predecessors in Buckner and Armstead he lacks their bulk and get pushed around by shorter lineman. Lining up at the 5 technique he’d be able to go one on one with offensive tackles and take advantage of his athletic ability. Playing in an aggressive defense may also help him tap into that burst and pass rushing moves that he doesn’t get to use on a regular basis.