Grady Jarrett, DL, Clemson
Ht. 6006, Wt. 304, Arm: 32 3/8”, Hand: 10”, Bench: 30
40 yd: 5.06, 10 yd.: 1.69, 3 Cone: 7.37, Vertical: 31”, Broad: 9’4”
Games Watched: Ohio St. (2013), Oklahoma, Florida St.
The signing of edge defender Greg Hardy will provide a big boost to the Cowboys defensive line, but they still need help inside. Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett’s measurables and experience as a one- and two-gapper make him an intriguing option for Dallas.
In 2014, Jarrett was the Tigers’ co-captain and selected to the All-ACC first-team defense. During his two years as a starter, he notched 21 tackles for loss and only 3.5 sacks, but his role on the defense makes those numbers are a bit misleading.
Jarrett wins quickness. At the combine, no 300 pounder had a faster 10-yard split and his 3-cone time was faster than likely top-10 pick Dante Fowler’s. When Clemson lined Jarrett up as a one-gapping 1- or 3-Technique (which was not often enough), that burst showed.
Jarrett played the 2014 at closer to 285 pounds, reportedly adding weight for the combine, but he played like a much stronger man. Often miscast as a two-gapping nose tackle, he anchored extremely well and adequately held double teams. He also showed active, heavy hands that helped him disengage from blockers with ease.
Although Jarrett looks like a classic Rod Marinelli 3-Technique, he might be able to adequately handle the nose in Dallas with the weight he added. The defensive line he played on at Clemson was very similar to the one the Cowboys run, and he was successful in both roles there. That kind of diversity would allow Dallas to disguise blitzes going forward.
The main problem with Jarrett is his lack of elite athleticism. He’s quick, but he lacks good closing speed. He’s strong, but not big enough to play the nose on run downs.
Another issue is conditioning. Clemson had the means to rotate defensive linemen often, but Jarrett still looked gassed toward the end of games. His ability to contribute on enough snaps to warrant a top pick is questionable.
Jarrett’s hands are NFL ready, but his short arms are concerning. There are some long, athletic offensive linemen in the NFL, and he might not be able to disengage from them.
Verdict: Second Rounder
While he added weight, Jarrett’s 2014 tape is that of a player the same size as Ohio State’s Michael Bennett this year or Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald and Florida’s Dom Easley last year. He doesn’t show quite the same burst that they do, but he counters it with more strength.
Like Bennett, Jarrett is an ideal 3-Technique in Dallas. If he’s still available when the Cowboys pick in the second round, he makes perfect sense there.