When you play college football at Pitt, you’re guaranteed to hear the name “Aaron Donald” a lot. More so when you play defensive tackle. And the name is even more incessant when you’re a 275 lb defensive tackle at Pitt who ran even faster than Donald did at the NFL Scouting Combine. Though Calijah Kancey is not quite at the same draft prospect level as AD was almost 10 years ago, he’s still a very productive (34.5 TFL and 16 sacks in three years) defensive player out of the same school who has been connect to the L.A. Rams for obvious reasons.
The connections were bound to happen, especially when Kancey was projected as a day two pick. The chances of him falling out of the first round could be even slimmer than 275 lbs.
The Rams reportedly did meet with Kancey at his Pro Day this week, according to ProFootballNetwork’s Tony Pauline:
Defensive tackle Calijah Kancey followed up his swift 40-yard dash time at the Combine with a few other terrific testing numbers. He timed as fast as 4.28 seconds in the short shuttle, 6.9 seconds in the three-cone, and touched 33.5″ in the vertical jump. Kancey looked good in position drills and met with the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints.
Donald had a legendary final season at Pitt, recording 28.5 TFL and 11 sacks in only 13 games. It was the second career year in which he had 11 sacks though and he had almost twice as many career sacks as Kancey.
We know it’s just not fair to compare any defensive tackle to the greatest of his generation (maybe any generation) but these comps were inevitable. The Rams also do need help all over the roster, including along the defensive line and Donald could be a great mentor to Kancey they become teammates. It’s hard to say if Kancey will still be around at pick #36 though and Ferragamo15 mentioned this in his draft profile write-up:
In the middle of January, I wrote a post about Jalin Hyatt, the Tennessee WR and mentioned that Pitt DT, Calijah Kancey, was very impressive. At the time, Kancey was only ranked 92nd on PFN, 64th by ESPN and 39th by PFF. On Daniel Jeremiah’s first version of his top 50 prospects, Kancey failed to make the cut.
Since that point, Kancey’s draft stock appears to have risen considerably. On DJ’s 2nd version of his top 50 list, Kancey was ranked 30th. He had climbed all the way up to 14th on PFF’s board. On Lance Zierlein’s board, he was 34th entering the Combine. Running a blazing fast 40 time at the Combine will only enhance Kancey’s draft momentum. Instead of being seen as a late 3rd to 4th round prospect, now there seems to be genuine buzz about Kancey being a potential 1st round draft pick. Who did Lance Zierlein choose as Kancey’s NFL comp? John Randle. Yes, the HOFer (and UDFA) from the Vikings.
Ferragamo credits Kancey’s hand-fighting abilities, technique, burst, and power as strengths, but arm length and conditioning as potential weaknesses at the next level. His comps were closer to Ed Olive and Will Sutton than Donald, which seems more fair to Kancey.
The Rams may or may not be interested in drafting him. If he’s available.