Last week we discussed Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill and his fantastic performance at the NFL Combine. Hill pushed himself into the periphery of the first round when he didn’t have impressive production at the collegiate level on his résumé.

Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy’s combine exploits were almost the exact inverse of Hill’s. The Sporting News’ Russ Lande reported Worthy ‘showed poor balance and no true explosiveness throughout his workout.’ Worthy was also said to have an inconsistent motor and a ‘noticeably soft body.’ Ouch.

Worthy’s saving grace may be the most important factor of all when evaluating prospective draftees: his game tape. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock stated Worthy’s tape is good enough to warrant a first-round selection, and added that with his combination of size and skill the Junior will not get past 20-25.

Vitals

Height: 6’3

Weight: 310 Pounds

Class: Junior

Born: April 28, 1990

Combine Numbers

40-yard dash: 5.08

Vertical jump: 28.5 inch

Broad jump: 107 inch

3 Cone Drill: 7.60

20-yard Shuttle: 4.56

Arm length: 33 inches

Hands: 9 3/8 inches

College Stats

2011:  14 GP  30 Tackles  10.5 Tackles For Loss  3.5 Sacks

2010:  13 GP  40 Tackles  8 Tackles For Loss  4 Sacks

2009: 13 GP  37 Tackles  9 Tackles For Loss  4.5 Sacks

What the experts say

A talented kid with a thick frame, “plus” get off burst and snap awareness to his game. However, doesn’t shed blocks well when engaged and lacks ideal anchor ability inside. Looks like a one-gap type lineman only who could give solid reps at both nose and three-technique in a 43 front. But is going to need some time before he’s ready to start.
Worthy ran well at the Combine with a fast 40 and 10-yard split. However, he still had an inconsistent junior season. There were many games where Worthy has held in check, but there were other games where he was extremely disruptive. Worthy played well against Ohio State, but he did not play well against Nebraska. Worthy also had many mixed outings where he flashed occasionally after being quiet for stretches. That could be said for his outings against Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
Worthy’s stock is tough to predict because I see a top 15 talent, yet most are putting him into the second round.  With his pro day complete and boards close to completed, it isn’t likely that Worthy will rise much.  Perhaps a team will like Worthy as much as I do and jump on him earlier than expected, but at this point it appears he’s a borderline first-day pick.
There’s no way with his body type and his skill set he gets past the first 20 or 25 picks in the first round.  His tape is good enough that he’s going to be a first-round pick.
His stamina and conditioning will be a concern for scouts unless improvements are made. Vocal on and off the field; points out potential hot receivers and run plays to teammates before the snap, something you don’t see many interior linemen do.
Worthy can rush the passer and has excellent athletic ability. The biggest thing with him is he needs to work harder and be more competitive.
Worthy needs to gain stamina without losing his initial quickness, and he must show that he can stand up two linemen on a consistent basis. He will probably be a “wave” player at the start of his career, playing nose tackle on passing downs or three-tech tackle as part of a second platoon, and he can be effective in that kind of 25-snap role. Any team that drafts him in an early round will expect much more, but they will have to be patient.
Worthy will likely be chosen in the final 10 picks of the first round or the first 10 picks of the second round. At the bottom of the first round, the Pittsburgh Steelers (who pick 24th), Baltimore Ravens (29th) and New England Patriots (31st) will consider Worthy because he has the strength to hold up well at the point of attack and the athleticism to shed and make tackles against the run as an end in those teams’ 3-4 schemes.

The majority of high end defensive linemen in this draft can be described as inconsistent. Worthy has all the tools scouts love to see in stout DT’s who can play end in the 3-4, and he redeemed himself after his poor combine performance at Michigan State’s Pro Day in late March.

With as many as 10 defensive linemen expected to go in the first round this year, expect Worthy to be one of them.

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