Good morning/night/day/evening/etc everyone! Wherever you’re reading this I hope you’re having a great day and as promised after two Offensive Line based articles, I(Brandon Meyers), bring you a Defensive Line one! We’re gonna dive right into analyzing individual players going into the 2021 draft class. And as the headline says we’re gonna look at the University of Cincinnati’s own Elijah Ponder! After watching him play in person at a game against Tulsa and on film against Memphis there’s definitely some good things to say about this guy.
Let’s start off with some basics such as Height & Weight, a bit on career history(courtesy of the UC Bearcats website), and then we’ll move onto constructive criticism & huge praise.
- H&W: 6’3″ / 275lbs
- Hometown: Atlanta, GA
- Class: Senior
- Earned Bachelors Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies back in April of 2020.
- When coming out of HS was listed as a 3 star recruit by ESPN and 2 star by 247Sports.
- Listed as a Redshirt Freshman in 2016.
- Made debut in ’17 in season finale.
- In ’18 played 8 games as a rotational defensive lineman.
- Started in 14 games in ’19 and ended the season with First team All-AAC honors.
With all this stated let’s also look at the raw stats before we give impressions.
When looking at these stats alone, you may be thinking why would we even consider this guy in the first middle rounds let alone the first round overall. Well Richard, you must not see the value in solid support pieces that manipulate the OL enough to allow the LB’s and DB’s come in behind and stop the run in it’s place, or guys who know how to collapse the pocket to make the QB panic!
Let’s start out with the constructive criticism, we don’t have much but still enough for the guy to hopefully work on so I can watch him improve and hope that my favorite team picks him up. When watching the film, I noticed quite a few plays where dude played kinda high or medium to the point where the OT would block him really well. Also in plays like that when he was lined up at DE, I would see minimal club & Rip or when lined up at NT some plays there’s absolutely no step, punch, extend then escape via rip/swim. Consistency, my dude.
Now let’s go to praise, like I said in the earlier part of the article it was extremely fun to watch this guy on film and in person. I can say that he was consistent on helping his teammates make the tackles and get in there to assist. Also personally, I like seeing him lined up more at the interior or lined up against the G position. Elijah, if you’re reading this I want you and everyone to know, that you absolutely tore those interior guys up. During those plays I seen you get low enough, and just ram your way through the middle. I’m excited to watch this guy play this season and might have to cop a #93 shirt. When also looking at parts of the film against the interior, you can clearly see that he’s able to take advantage of any weakness the iOL with quick spin and swim moves and proper footwork. Throughout all that I’ve seen his footwork has also been wonderful and consistent.
Anyways it’s about time to wrap this file up and say a few last words till next time. I you get the chance to watch this gentleman, it’ll be well worth your time and any team would be lucky to take him in the 2nd-4th rounds of the 2021 draft. If he goes in the first round I promise I will mark out. Great support and rotational player that can work hard enough to become an immediate key impact player. Now it’s time to say goodbye till the next article. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you have a wonderful day! Case closed!