Kasim Edebali broke through in his senior year after toiling in mediocrity for the first seasons at Boston College. The German born defensive end recorded more tackles for loss, sacks, and forced fumbles than his first three seasons combined. Edebali proved to be a thorn in the side of the eventual national champion Florida State Seminoles, notching a pair of sacks and proving a difficult matchup for their offensive line in pass protection.
For the NFL, Edebali is an intriguing pass rusher because of his athleticism and an element of chaos he brings. He is a substantial work in progress as a run defender in terms of reading plays, instincts and staying in his gaps. Edebali could draw interest as both as a defensive end and an outside linebacker in a 3-4, but at least for now, his role appears to be limited to getting after the quarterback. As a result, Edebali warrants a third day pick and could find a nice niche in that role with upside to get better as a run defender. There is a chance he could go undrafted because of the fact he will turn 25 in August, but at that point of the draft, he should get picked based on what he can do as a pass rusher.
Vitals & Build
Edebali measured in 6’2” 253lbs at the scouting combine with 32 ¾” arms. He has good burst, acceleration and speed. His body control and feet are excellent and he is remarkably fluid as an athlete. His strength is notable considering how often he is working from a bad position of leverage and while he is not overpowering many opponents, he seems to be a frustration for many opponents to fight off in terms of power. He shows a good motor and is relentless when he thinks he is close to a play. Edebali is not maxed out physically, but much of his improvement is continuing to add strength and taking full advantage of what he already has.
Snap Anticipation & First Step
Edebali does a nice job when it comes to reacting to and anticipating the snap. He is able to get a good start as the ball is snapped.
The issue for Edebali is his first step and how he reacts from his stance. Edebali uses a couple variations on a four-point stance. He either uses a pretty good flat backed stance but likes to use this downward dog stance when he is lined up out wide and wants to try to attack up the field with his speed.
Whether he is flat or pointing his shoulders down at the ground, Edebali stands straight up as he moves forward. He has a quick step but so much of his energy is going up as opposed to forward that he not only exposes his chest immediately, but he also does not get off to the start that warrants it.
Although not as common, Edebali has experience attacking from a standup rusher and he is high, but his momentum is coming forward off of the snap, so it ends up being more effective for him as far as getting up the field.
Edebali has active, quick hands that are always moving and appear to be pretty heavy. He seems to wear down opponents by his activity level as he is able to attack with his hands and win with his feet, so he can beat blockers with speed or technique.
The other technique that Edebali where has shown promise is his spin move. He uses a snap spin move that has been used to get by opponents as well as getting off of blocks and getting to the ball carrier quickly, usually laterally.
Edebali has a number of issues that hurt him in run defense. He does not seem to read plays well and gets caught on too many misdirection plays not only late to see it, but also badly out of position. Edebali takes himself out of too many plays, either because he misread it or because the way he chose to attack the play took him out of his gap and makes it easy for the opponent to get rid of him or does not even need to bother.
Edebali’s style of pass rushing is one that is not terribly disciplined and in certain ways, that chaotic element can be beneficial for rushing the passer. That style and that freedom is often a problem when it comes to defending the run since defensive schemes are designed with specific positions in spots.
Edebali holds up at the point of attack better than one might think given his lack of leverage and relative size. And every so often, he will make a nice play with his athleticism, but on the whole, he has a long, long way to go as a run defender. And while he should obviously continue to work on it, it may simply never be something he does all that well.
Edebali is going to make a team because of his ability to rush the passer. His style is undisciplined and chaotic, which can make it difficult for opponents to figure out where he is coming from and what he is going to do when he gets there.
For example, he will get lined up as a wide-9 look with the ability to fly up the field and go even wider around the arc than most will. There are situations where he will run all the way around, run back around and find his way to the quarterback. He does not give up, he keeps coming and he wears opponents out in the process.
When he is at his best, Edebali wins with his speed up the field to attack half the man and get an edge. He can plant his foot in the ground and make dynamic changes in direction that are difficult for many opponents to counter. Combined with hands that never seem to stop, he has a lot of ways he can win. He is not afraid to attack inside and can also spin off of blocks into the pocket.
Edebali was successful this year in terms of statistics and getting to the quarterback, but he may have missed as many opportunities to secure sacks as he has. His out of control style is part of why he is successful, but playing high and being so wild has found him in situations where he runs right by the quarterback he is trying to sack. There are also times when he has trouble breaking down and making a tackle because he is high. If he can clean up some of these issues and just get more comfortable and have a better sense of where he is at all times, there is a lot of ability he has showcased.
His overall length is not great and his leverage needs to improve, but his speed, quickness and drive to get to the quarterback along with not being afraid to attack multiple ways with success suggest he could find success in the NFL in that part of the game.
Edebali is a situational pass rusher and he can do it from both with his hand on the ground and as a standup rusher. He might be better suited to attack as a standup end, but wherever he goes, his first and primary job should be rushing the passer. Obviously he can and should keep working to try to get better as a run defender and if he can do it, he can become a full service player.
Edebali’s game is not unlike Marcus Benard, now of the Arizona Cardinals. After coming out of Jackson State, Benard made the Cleveland Browns and had 3.5 sacks in 6 games as a rookie before recording 7.5 sacks in 15 games in his second season. Like Edebali, Benard came into the league older than some and was undrafted as a result, but found success and has stayed in the league as a result.
Kasim Edebali is a great athlete and while his style is unconventional at times, he just finds a way to get into the backfield and pressure opposing passers. His athleticism is impressive with a combination of burst and agility and while he is almost completely lost in the running game, he can make an impact as a pass rusher. Edebali only has had one year of success in college, but he might just be scratching the surface on the type of player he can be at the next level. He warrants a third day pick but there is a possibility that he could end up going undrafted.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com