Yahoo Sports' top 2019 NFL draft prospects: Louisiana Tech EDGE Jaylon Ferguson

Yahoo Sports
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

6-foot-5, 271 pounds

The lowdown: A Butkus Award semifinalist, Ferguson broke the all-time NCAA sacks record of 44 (held by Terrell Suggs) when he took down Hawaii’s Chevan Cordeiro (one of Ferguson’s 2.5 sacks that day) in the Hawaii Bowl which was Ferguson’s final college game. He totaled 17.5 sacks on the season (most in the country) and finished his brilliant four-year career with 67.5 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles.

Ferguson had a solid week at the Senior Bowl, but he was not allowed to attend the NFL scouting combine because of the league's policy of not inviting players with “a conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving violence." As a freshman at Louisiana Tech, Ferguson was convicted of simple battery following a fight at a McDonald's, and he also had a public intoxication charge while in college. NFL teams don’t appear to view him roundly as a character red-flag candidate, but his checkered past has forced teams to do more digging on his background.

All 32 teams attended Ferguson’s pro day workout, where he reportedly turned in some disappointing workout numbers – especially in his 10-yard split, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drills. Those last two times were very concerning, suggesting a lack of short-area quickness. He played last season closer to 260 pounds, we’re told, so it’s possible that the weight he added wasn’t “good weight” and Ferguson might need to slim down to be more effective in the pros.

The tape shows a player who will work to get pressure after his initial moves are stymied, such as this sack against Mississippi State. Ferguson plays with active, violent hands and will vary his pass-rush arsenal quite a bit. But he displays some underachiever traits, isn’t a top-tier run defender and must maintain better gap integrity instead of sack hunting every snap.

A bit of an older prospect, Ferguson will turn 24 near the end of his rookie season in the NFL.

Fun fact: Ferguson earned quite the fitting nickname: “Sack Daddy.” And it turns out he might have given himself the nickname following a big game early in his career after hearing someone call his teammate “Mack Daddy.”

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