In the 2017 NFL Draft, there’s a lot of talent on the defensive line. From edge rushers to run stuffing tackles. At 6’1 – 320 lbs., is Elijah Qualls one of them? Find out by reading his 2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report!
There’s no doubt about Elijah Qualls being a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme. He’s a big bodied defensive tackle who is often getting double teamed while the play is being ran away from him. Clearly, teams understand the power that he can deliver after firing off the ball. Before committing to Washington, the expectations were already high for Elijah. He was a four-star recruit with 16 offers. Before his commitment to Washington, he had a visit with USC. Being from California, many had thought that’s where he might end up playing collegiately. Clearly, he chose Washington.
After being redshirted his freshman year, Qualls played in 14 games the following year. In 2015, he became a starter but missed three games due to injury. However, he finished the season with 26 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. After a strong year as a sophomore(Rs), Qualls started again in 2016. He managed 38 tackles, 5 tackles for loss but only 3 sacks. Statistically, that’s not bad for a guy who isn’t known to be a pass rushing machine.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve watched his film countless numbers of times. I’ve read about his great performance against Cal but I never saw those performances against teams like Oregon or Oregon State. What kind of performance? It was a four tackle and two sack kind of day for Qualls. Against Oregon State, he only posted one tackle and against Oregon it was three tackles. Despite those two poor performances, Qualls did manage to gain 2016 First-Team All-Pac-12 honors.
- Good size for a nose tackle (6’1 – 320 lbs.)
- When he gets off the ball on time, has a great punch.
- Has the ability to do line stunts (twist, pinch, slant) really well.
- Seems quick going laterally for a big bodied tackle.
- Gets double teamed often. Doesn’t split double teams well.
- Spins off blocks and goes nowhere.
- Doesn’t create fairly enough pressure to be a threat in the passing game.
- Often times, he lines up in a four-point stance. In that stance, he has limited length.
- Needs to get faster off the ball.
- Has a high motor but it’s clear that his motor tends to “run on empty”.
Out of the film I’ve watched, I’m not as impressed with Elijah Qualls as others. That’s not being harsh, that’s me being honest. I’ve seen him mocked to various teams across the 2nd round in the 2017 NFL Draft. Simply, I can’t agree with that. He’s a big bodied nose tackle who doesn’t create enough pressure on passing downs. With the amount of double teams he faces and his lack of splitting them, has made it hard for me to believe he goes sooner than the 3rd round. The only thing that really helps him moving forward is that his tape shows his strength and he’s a fit for a 3-4 defense.
With time, Qualls can improve his ability in getting pressure on the quarterback. He can also improve his ability to make more tackles at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. However, there are times in games where you don’t see him make plays for series at a time. The inconsistencies from technique to overall game performance has given him a 3rd round grade and pro comparison to Brandon Williams.