By David Kang
Note: The format of these things are going to be more scouting reporty rather than articley mostly because I’m lazy. All HWS numbers are from nfldraftscout.
Summary: Great athlete with great first step and exceptional short area quickness. Creates ton of penetration with his short area quickness in the run game using an arm over move. Does not 2-gap well as he lacks good hand usage, extension, and general strength to hold the POA. Ejiofor is a toolsy but raw pass rusher. Has great speed off the edge to beat the OT to his spot but does not know how to bend. The lack of bend seems more like a lack of experience rather than lack of physical ability. Should improve over time. He wins mostly on inside moves after setting up OTs with speed using an arm over and spin move. Can win on the outside when OTs try to quick set him as he can use his quickness to win quickly in short areas. Wake Forest gave him a lot of snaps as an interior pass rusher to try and mask Ejiofor’s lack of bend and exploit his short area quickness against worse athletes on the inside. Motor can run hot and cold.
Here the OT expected Ejiofor to attack outside and set the edge, but Ejiofor flashed a quick arm over to get by and make a TFL
This is pretty much an identical play later on in the game
Same deal here against TAMU, except in the reverse direction. Ejiofor arm overs the LG to create easy penetration for a TFL.
Ejiofor struggles the most against the run when he has to 2-gap and attack OL head on.
TAMU runs a dart RPO, and the LT attacks Ejiofor head on. Ejiofor does a good job getting his hands on the OT first, but he guesses where the ball is going too early in the play as he peaks inside. This results in him being pushed back and driven back by the LT.
This is a very similar play vs BC. Ejiofor has good hand timing again, but he just doesn’t have the strength or the patience to keep engaging the LT. He cheats inside for no reason at all, and the LB behind him picked the wrong gap inside, which left open a monstrous hole on the LT. Luckily for Wake Forest, the RB tripped before he went off sprinting for a big gain.
In terms of pass rush, Ejiofor mainly relies on his speed to set up OTs on the outside and mostly wins on inside moves versus tackles who overset.
Here, the RT oversets to try and cover Ejiofor’s speed, and the latter does a good job spinning inside to get a good lane to the QB, who gets the ball off early.
I’m not sure whether Ejiofor was tiring at this point or not, but he provides the LT with a good change up and chose to not burst off the line as he so often does. The LT oversets and creates a lot of space inside, which Ejiofor exploits with a very good rip move to the QB.
What holds Ejiofor back from being a great pass rusher is his lack of bend. He has the speed to beat the OTs to their spot, and all he needs to do is turn the corner.
Ejiofor beats the RT clean around him, and all he has to do his dip and run. Ejiofor is uncomfortable doing so, and he resorts to spin inside, which allows the RT to recover.
Ejiofor shows a good club move to beat the OT clean outside again and has a clear line to the QB if he just bends and runs. But he does not and the OT recovers to block him.
Wake Forest tries to mask his lack of bend by placing him inside a lot of times in passing downs. When placed 1 on 1 against a guard in space with a two way go, Ejiofor often overwhelms the lineman with his speed to create instant pressure on the QB.
Here, Ejiofor uses his hands well to swipe down the OG’s hands and simply run around him straight to the QB.
Overall, I like Ejiofor as a project pass rusher with a lot of tools who can become a very good rusher with just a little bit of refinement on the outside. He’s probably going to take a year or two to develop before he becomes a contributor, but I expect him to become a double digit sack guy down the line. He will also likely do very well in the Senior Bowl conditions due to his short area quickness and speed. The 1 on 1 pass rush drills will have a lot of unrealistic but favorable conditions where the OL is isolated in space.