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2020 NFL Draft scouting report: DE Yetur Gross-Matos

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Here’s our Falcons-centric review of one of the talented DEs in the 2020 draft class.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Penn State John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Yetur Gross-Matos was a standout defensive end for Penn State who played 13 games as a true freshman. He then started all 13 games as a sophomore, collected 8 sacks, and received first team All-Big ten honors from the media.

As a junior, showing steady improvement, Gross-Matos notched 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in 12 games played for the Nittany Lions. With his length, build and athleticism, Gross-Matos could be a productive DE for an even front alignment in the NFL, and will surely be a player the Falcons will mull drafting.

Strengths

  • Fluid hips for his stature
  • Well-built defender with ability to add more weight to his frame
  • Decent burst off the line of scrimmage
  • Adequately converts speed to power on bull rushes
  • Shows good ability to use his length (34 7/8 inch arms) to win at 1st contact
  • Because of his crazy wingspan, has great range to make tackles away from his frame
  • Great motor to chase down plays from the back side
  • Has the ability to bend the edge as a DE

Weaknesses

  • As is the case with a number of defensive linemen at his height, his pad level can get a bit high at times
  • Needs to work on hand placement, as he will allow tackles to get into his chest often
  • Doesn’t have a vast array of counters as a pass rusher, as he can get stalled out after initial move
  • Needs to increase his play strength at the next level
  • Had issues against better offensive tackle competition

As the Atlanta Falcons look for more defensive line help, Gross-Matos could be of interest. His stats did improve as he progressed in his college career, but right now he’s a better run defender than a pass rusher.

He certainly has the physical tools to be a good pass rusher at the next level, but he needs to work on hand placement and additional pass rush moves to be a effective. I love his motor, but I project him as an even front DE who likely won’t make an immediate impact as a pass rusher.

Some see Gross-Matos as a day 1 selection, but I feel there are better options from a versatility standpoint. However, it’s possible that Gross-Matos is on the Falcons’ radar as a day 2 pick if they decide to go a different direction on day 1 of the draft, because it’s certainly possible he falls in a draft class heavy on interesting defensive prospects.