The Cincinnati Bengals invested a third round pick in Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis after many expected he'd be selected late in Round 1 or sometime in Round 2. Instead, he fell to the Bengals and they received a great value pick by scooping him up and drafting him with the No. 73 overall pick.
So, what do scouts have to say about Willis? Each year, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes a pre-draft column featuring the thoughts and comments from anonymous scouts around the NFL. In the column, Willis was ranked as the fifth best defensive end in this year’s draft class. The only guys ahead of him were Myles Garrett (the #1 overall pick), Solomon Thomas (the #3 overall pick), Malik McDowell (the #35 overall pick) and Taco Charlton (the #28 overall pick).
Here’s a look at four things anonymous scouts thought about Willis prior to the draft.
JORDAN WILLIS, Kansas State (6’3½”, 255 pounds):
1. “He’s a 4-3 D-end who has all the athletic skills to stand up,” said one scout. “More in the mode of a Charles Haley how he rushes the passer. He’s got power, technique and sneaky athleticism.”
2. “His floor is very good and not a bad ceiling,” said another scout. “I’d play him as a 4-3 end but he could play in the 3-4 if he had to. Neat thing about him, he’s a package. Can play on all three downs. Very good with his hands. Rushes with a plan. Got enough twitch to win the one on one. On first down he’s a really good leverage player. Not a wow guy but a really good player.”
3. “He’s wound a little tight but he worked out like a gem,” said a third scout. “High character guy.”
By most accounts, Willis was a steal for the Bengals in Round 3 of the draft. In Mike Mayock’s only mock draft of the pre-draft season, he actually had Willis going in Round 1 to the Steelers. Bengals fans should be glad he somehow slipped to Round 3 and is now in Cincinnati.