A very Merry Draftmas to you! We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on April 23rd. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.
This season, defensive end may not be the Chiefs’ most pressing need. But as Brett Veach said during his virtual press conference on Thursday, the 2020 draft is just as much about the future as it is right now. With Alex Okafor consistently battling with injuries, Tanoh Kpassagnon on the last year of his rookie deal — and without a clear choice to start across from Frank Clark — let’s take a look at a very Steve Spagnuolo kind of defensive end.
Yetur Gross-Matos, Defensive end
6’5” | 266 lbs | Penn State
Grade (round): Second
Expected Draft Range: Round one
40 time: N/A
NFL Combine: 34” vertical jump, 120” broad jump, 20 bench reps
One-sentence bio: Fought through a lot of trauma early in his career to become a third-team All-American as a junior.
One-sentence scouting report: Long, explosive edge prospect who has all the tools but is still developing the nuances and timing of his game.
Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE #99— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) February 9, 2020
Still putting it all together as a pass rusher but teams that have a type - explosive, long, powerful - will be in on him early
- Press the edge w/ 1st step
- Win wrist control to free chest
- Inside hand into armpit, shot put to counter inside pic.twitter.com/3kt8iT2ir5
How he fits in Kansas City: Gross-Matos meets the physical thresholds that Spagnuolo likes to see in his defensive ends — and played up and down Penn State’s defensive line in 2019. He’s not polished as a pass rusher or run defender, but he’s shown much improvement from earlier in his career. During his final season, he showed a true understanding of how to set up his pass rush moves, using his explosiveness to threaten the edge before countering inside or into a power move. There is still plenty of room for improvement, but his raw physical tools give him immediate potential to help rush the passer at the next level.
As a run defender, Gross-Matos needs to play lower and work on identifying the run direction without having to peek up and over a blocker’s shoulder. He does a great job holding contain, using his length to affect wide rushing lanes or wrangle ball carriers in the backfield. The Chiefs emphasize run defense with their defensive ends, so Gross-Matos will have to continue to work on playing stout at the point of attack before he can become a three-down player in Kansas City.
Yetur Gross-Matos could come in and be a major contributor to the Chiefs defensive end rotation in 2020, helping improve on the pass rush while offering outside-inside versatility — and use that experience to catapult himself into a starting job in 2021.
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