In a draft that features such abnormal depth along the defensive line, especially in terms of first round prospects, one name that continues to go overlooked is Jerrell Powe. Powe is a nose guard from Ole Miss who had an outstanding career. You don’t typically see big nose guards putting up the type of numbers Powe did, especially in a conference as tough as the SEC–but he did.
Powe only missed one game in his three year career at Ole Miss, and he started 22 of his last 25 games. Over his career, he had 69 tackles, 24 for a loss, and seven sacks. He was also twice named to the 2nd Team All-SEC in 2009 and 2010, and like a good offensive linemen, he occupied blockers in front of him so the guys behind him could make plays.
This is a prospect who is going to be 24 at the start of the NFL season–whenever that is–but he still offers upside as a leader and is a rare breed at nose tackle. Powe knows the role he will play for an NFL team, which will be to occupy blockers and be as disruptive as possible.
Not only that, but Powe is active in the community, and was named to the 2010 SEC Football Community Service Team and nominated for the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
The former top ranked recruit and now future NFL nose guard was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule and talk to NFL Mocks.
One of the first things I have been asking prospects is, “What is the pre-draft process like?” Almost all of them reply the same way:
“It’s been crazy–very tiring. It’s been fun for the most part, you know, I’ve had the chance to work out with high profile athletes like Delone Carter, Robert Quinn, Quan Sturdivant, Akeem Dent, Shaun Chapas, and DeMarco Murray. I shape my talent around those guys. It’s been very unique, a lot of fun, with a lot of smiling. There were some days when we came in tired, but it’s been fun.”
Powe was a very highly touted prep star, so when was the first time he knew he could play in the NFL?
“I go back to my junior year when I had 12.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks–I dominated. I knew then. There’s no doubt in my mind that I knew I always could–I always wanted to play in the NFL. Coming back to my senior year, I didn’t have the same year and my production was down. That speaks for itself. Football is not an “I” sport, it’s a team sport.”
His biggest strength as a player?
“My biggest strength is anchoring the line, controlling my gap. A lot of people like to say I don’t pass rush well, but you don’t see many nose guards with more than five sacks. Holding double teams for the linebackers also.”
What does he need to work on the most?
“I think I need to work on everything, and just improve. You can always improve. It’s like we’re all freshmen again. It doesn’t matter if you are the number one pick or the last pick–everyone has to work on everything in their game. It’s a new world.”
What about Jerrell’s pre-draft visitation?
“Yeah I had a lot of visits with some teams. Kansas City, Miami, and I’ve definitely been talking on the phone with a lot of teams too. The Broncos have contacted me.”
Does he model his game after anyone specifically?
“I think Vince Wilfork. I’m not as big as him, but I try to simulate him and Casey Hampton as far as controlling the line.”
Who was the best player he faced at Ole Miss?
“We had some pretty good battles, and I should have used better technique, but the center from Alabama. He does a great job of getting his team lined up and making checks. He’s really good off the ball, and he has a non-stop motor.”
Powe also told me that his parents have been the biggest influence in his life and his career, and that they have helped him make right decisions. Perhaps the most important thing we talked about was with my last question, when I asked Powe if there was something that readers might not know about him.
“I’m a very emotional player. I’m not the person that people make me out to be, especially when I was trying to go to school. I’m a likable person. Everything they said about me was false. That was just people riding on the big man, and trying to keep me down. I’m a fighter and I don’t give up.”
That sounds like the kind of player I would want on my NFL team.
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