The 2017 NFL Draft is deep in almost every defensive position, putting more urgency on players to find ways to stand out. Does Elijah Lee have the talent to stick out?
The depth of the 2017 NFL draft has been well publicized. Cornerback, pass rusher, and running back are all positions that have been specifically mentioned, but they are not exclusive. While this draft should be very entertaining to watch, and highly unpredictable, for prospects, this is their job interview.
Those entering the draft need to find ways to separate themselves from the pack at their position. This can be quite difficult and rarely do we see this kind of distancing, outside of blue-chip prospects.
For Kansas St. linebacker Elijah Lee, the narrative applies all the same. Likely a late-round pick, there isn’t much Lee can do at this point to separate himself. His tape has been studied, his fit analyzed, and his story well read by scouts. But does Elijah Lee have something to offer NFL teams, willing to call his name?
Weight: 228 lbs
40-yard: 4.65 (unofficial; Pro Day)
Vertical: 38 inches (Pro Day)
Elijah Lee has been quite productive during his time with the Wildcats. Seeing immediate playing time as a freshman, Lee totaled 4.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. His sophomore year, he became a full-time starter and it paid off.
His most productive season, he finished 2015 with 80 tackles (7.5 for loss), five sacks, and three interceptions. Along with his production, Lee is a fighter who is always around the ball. Displays impressive burst when making a tackle. Has the athleticism to be a sideline-to-sideline player.
Lee is a bit undersized, especially for a linebacker. He will need to gain weight out of almost a necessity if he is going to play at the NFL level. Needs to improve technique, especially when trying to fight off blocks (partially due to his size).
Will have to improve as a tackler, often standing upright and diving for the ankles, rather than meeting the ball-carrier head on. May be limited to special teams duties early, but has potential down the road.
Elijah Lee is an intriguing player. He has the range and ball skills to be a factor in coverage, but lacks the size to be an every-down run defender.
Lee will need time to develop and gain weight, but if he can focus on this technique and become a stronger player without sacrificing his quickness and range, he could be a solid player down the road.