In this week’s prospect analysis, we look at another pass-rusher in Yetur Gross-Matos, who was very productive during his time at Penn State. Gross-Matos will come into the NFL with all of the physical traits to be impactful for many years.
As I highlighted in last week’s article, the Ravens’ pass-rush is one of the team’s biggest question marks heading into this upcoming offseason. As we all know, Matt Judon is a free agent, and his desire to stay in Baltimore remains in limbo. Outside of Judon, the Ravens’ pass-rush productivity drops off (even though DE Jaylon Ferguson had a promising start to his career), and relying on players outside of Judon to take a big step forward in their pass-rush development is always a large risk. To avoid relying on developing players to suddenly have breakout seasons, having the option of drafting a pass-rusher like Gross-Matos would instantly boost the Ravens’ pass-rush, add talent and depth, and mitigate the pressure on youngsters, like Ferguson.
Penn State DE/OLB Yetur Gross-Matos
Height: 6’5 Weight: 265
2019 Stats: 23 solo tackles, 17 assisted, 14.5 TFL, 9.0 sacks
Gross-Matos has demonstrated tremendous ability to dominate in run defense. With a combined 34.5 tackles for loss during his past two seasons against elite Big 10 competition, he has the ability to seamlessly translate his skills in run defense to the pros. Additionally, Gross-Matos has proved that he has a knack for getting to the quarterback as demonstrated by his 17.0 sacks in the past two seasons. That being said, Gross-Matos will need to prove he can play at a consistent level on a weekly basis in the NFL.
- Physically, Gross-Matos should not have a problem translating to the NFL
- He has powerful legs, strong hands, and long arms, all of which he uses to his advantage
- Gross-Matos is very versatile; he has the ability to rush as a stand up outside linebacker, rush as a 3-technique, or a 5-technique
- Gross-Matos is a very talented block shedder
- He has the ability to swipe at the offensive lineman’s hands and simultaneously gain leverage as he rushes the quarterback
- Gross-Matos has a number of power pass-rush moves in his arsenal
- He can either bull-rush, swipe and dip around the inside shoulder of the offensive lineman, or rush unblocked through the interior when he sees all lineman engaged in contact
- In run support, Gross-Matos shows great anticipation, and at times, looks as if he diagnoses the play before anyone else on the defense does
- In terms of tackling, few NFL running backs will be able to overpower Gross-Matos, and when he has a running back in his grasp, he seldom has them slip away
- Gross-Matos has a high energy and high powered motor where he doesn’t give up on plays and often wins on pure effort
- Despite his stature, Gross-Matos is very good at moving laterally and preventing running backs from beating him on the outside
- Though he has shown varying levels of improvement, Gross-Matos needs to develop more consistency in his counter pass-rush moves
- When his first attempt fails, he often doesn’t have a second move to counter with
- Gross-Matos is a raw prospect who may take some time to round out his game and fulfill his potential
- Despite showing dominance towards the end of the season against teams like Ohio St, Gross-Matos failed to consistently produce as a pass-rusher during the middle portion of the season (although he remained a consistent force as a run defender)
- Gross-Matos sometimes has trouble disengaging from blockers once they have him in their grasp
- He will need to develop a greater pass-rush I.Q. in the NFL as he earned many of his sacks from pure effort rather than defeating offensive linemen one-on-one
Yetur Gross-Matos Floor Comparison: Leonard Floyd
Yetur Gross-Matos Ceiling Comparison: Za’Darius Smith
How Gross-Matos fits on the Ravens:
After watching Gross-Matos’ tape, he reminded me of a young Za’Darius Smith. The long legs, powerful upper body, and positional versatility made me compare Gross-Matos to Smith. If the Ravens draft Gross-Matos, they could use him the same way they used Smith. Though Smith may have ten pounds on Gross-Matos, Gross-Matos’ experience from rushing in different areas along the defensive line would undoubtedly play to his advantage. Assuming that the Ravens retain Matt Judon, the team could have two powerful pass-rushers playing on their respective edges. The team would also have greater depth, which would allow for players like Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser to get into the pass-rush mix as well.
Should Judon leave, the Ravens may be smarter in attempting to trade up for an elite pass-rusher due to the fact that Gross-Matos may not be ready to tally at least six sacks in his rookie season. At the same time, if Gross-Matos is the best pass-rush option at pick #28, I would not at all oppose his name being called.