Heading into the NFL Draft, It seems like there should be a whole lot more hype surrounding former Louisville and Flordia pass rusher Jonathan Greenard. This is a guy who was on few radars heading into this past season. However, he ended up leading the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss despite missing some time with an ankle injury.
Greenard began his career at the University of Louisville and had a big breakout 2017 season that saw him pile up 7 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. Unfortunately, in the 2018 season opener against Alabama, he suffered a season-ending wrist injury. He then decided to transfer to Florida to reunite with his former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham for his final year of eligibility and became a big part of why they had one of the best defenses in college football last season. The results were immediate and deadly. Greenard accumulated 22 QB pressures in the first five weeks of the season and became a breakout star.
The great thing about Greenard is he is no one-trick pony. Despite being the SEC’s sack leader, he actually received a 91.2 run defense grade from Pro Football Focus last season. Greenard is a big human being, measuring in at 6’4″ and 262 pounds, and has the size to set the edge and make opposing running backs pay the price.
Greenard has a first quick step and is a bit better rushing from downward position. He has great length and is strong with his feet and his hands, using proper technique. He is best used an inside rusher, and his arsenal also includes an outside spin move, chop, and a euro step.
He has great instincts and chase-down ability in the run game as well as a tendency to disrupt balls at the line of scrimmage. He is a smart player who is very strong and has the ability to use his strength to his advantage.
Greenard is not the most explosive athlete of the pass-rushing prospects but seems to do just about everything properly. His bend won’t blow away scouts, he had a significant injury in college, and really only has two full seasons of production. But he has shown that he is fully capable of being a starter at the NFL level.
My favorite word to describe Greenard is as a “destructor”. He would be a terrific value for the Falcons if he falls to the third round, and he may be worth a hard look with one of their second-round picks. Greenard belongs in my second tier along with Josh Uche and Bradlee Anae at pass rusher, but I think all three will succeed at the next level.