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2018 NFL Draft scouting reports: Rutgers EDGE Kemoko Turay

Sosa Kremenjas takes a look at a potential target for the Los Angeles Rams on Day 2 of the draft.

Kansas v Rutgers Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

When it comes to the Los Angeles Rams’ roster, there simply aren’t many remaining holes.

Many will point to a lack of offensive line depth or edge rusher, and they’re smart to do so. Edge rusher is the Rams largest remaining hole going into the 2018 NFL season. With the Rams looking to have Super Bowl aspirations in 2018, they’ll need to add to the edge talent on the team, and with much of the offseason behind us, the 2018 NFL Draft is the best remaining way to do so.

That’s why we’re going to take a look at the draft’s biggest hidden gem at the edge: Rutgers Scarlet Knights OLB Kemoko Turay.

Turay was a four-year player at Rutgers totaling 15.5 sacks throughout his career. Now you might be asking “how do those stats warrant a “hidden gem” title?” It’s a fair question.

Turay had 7.5 sacks as a freshman, though his stats took a hit when he had two injury-riddled seasons as a sophomore and junior. His senior season wasn’t tremendous statistically, but he was used in a variety of ways and put plenty of stuff on tape. Let’s dive into it.

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In this first clip Turay is lined up over the RT. Once he eats up the ground between himself and the RT, he squares up at the moment of impact crossing his right foot over his left and fluidly using his left arm to slap the RT’s outside shoulder. This gives Turay the ability to slow the RT down as well as get a moment of initial burst to create separation. At that point it’s already over. Turay turns the corner and flattens hard to the QB registering a pressure and forcing the QB out of the pocket.

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In the same game against the same RT, Turay gets his chance to make hay on third-and-long. With a good jump off the snap, Turay is the first defender to cross the line of scrimmage. This time Turay hits the RT with a powerful bull rush that knocks the lineman off his base and ruins his balance. At that moment Turay disengages in the hand-play, delivers the swim move, bends, and that allows him the lane to the QB. Turay secures the sack this time around.

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Like I mentioned earlier, Turay was used in a variety of ways in his senior season. Too often the defense asked him to drop into coverage, but to be fair he was good at it. His athleticism and ability to change direction quickly allowed him to cover both in man and zone effectively. On this play Turay drops back, reads the RB screen, avoids the block, and tackles the RB for a loss.

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On this snap Turay is again lined up on a RT, though he uses a move we haven’t seen yet. As the RT extends his hands to make contact, Turay uses a chop move to disallow the engagement and a rip around the corner to pressure the QB into a errant throw.

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The last way for Turay to rush the passer was on a Tackle-End stunt, where he delays his jump off the snap, allows the DL in front of him to muddy the view of the offensive lineman, and lastly burst through the lane to pressure the QB. This may seem simple and unimportant, but when you have a defensive coordinator like Wade Phillips who loves to stunt, it’s something that becomes attractive.

Now begs the question, why would Turay be available in the third round if he’s so good? Well, his lack of college production as well as his injury history will hopefully keep him on the board long enough. Turay didn’t get much of a chance at the NFL Combine to prove his athleticism as he pulled up in a drill and only got through a handful of drills.

Turay also attended the Senior Bowl with the reviews returning very positively. Earlier in the offseason I took a look at Turay and here are some more notes:

As I stated, his ability to stop the run isn’t good. He gets moved easily off the line of scrimmage, and looks to be a pass rushing specialist early on in his career. Though that may keep some teams from falling in love with Turay, it shouldn’t affect the Rams affinity for the pass rusher. That’s because he might be the best pass rushing OLB for them right out of the gate.

After my second go-around on Turay’s tape, here are some more notes:

  • Very active hands (swipe/swim/rip)
  • Explosive, fast, quick twitch
  • Drops in coverage effectively
  • Can bull rush
  • Great spy
  • Great effort, routinely runs plays down

Since the Rams lack a draft pick in the first two rounds, they’ll need to find a productive pass rusher where not many are found - in the mid to later rounds in the draft. The 6’5”, 252-lb. Turay should be an option for the Rams come April 27th.