JoJo Mathis 2017 NFL Draft Profile

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 04: Washington linebacker Jojo Mathis answers questions from members of the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 4, 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Edge defender
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 262 pounds
School: Washington Huskies

Combine Performance Data
Bench press
: 24 reps

JoJo Mathis 2017 NFL Draft Profile

JoJo Mathis came to Washington with high expectations for himself. Mathis was a four-star recruit, he was rated 12th in the country at defensive end, and was the 18th best player in the state of California. The Upland, California native decided to go up north for college, choosing Washington and head coach Steve Sarkisian. However, the winter before Mathis was supposed to go to Washington, Sarkisian left the school for USC and Chris Peterson stepped in. Mathis was not happy and voiced his displeasure through social media. Despite rumors that he would not play for Peterson, Mathis did attend Washington.

However, it took some time for Mathis to settle in and appreciate the new head coach. As a freshman, Mathis played in 12 games, but did not start any, and only recorded seven tackles. Displeased with his role, his coach, and the outcome of his freshman year, Mathis became a locker room nuisance in his sophomore year. Mathis ended up being suspended for two games by Peterson and left the team for a week on his own, and his second season ultimately ended with 12 tackles, two sacks, and two tackles for loss.

As a junior, Mathis showed more poise. Despite still rotating into his role, he played a full season. That season saw 30 tackles, six for loss, and two sacks. After his junior season, Travis Feeney was drafted and it finally left an opening for Mathis to start. Mathis took the opportunity and ran, posting great numbers to start his season. In six games he put up 25 tackles, 7.5 for loss and five sacks. Unfortunately for Mathis, once he got his act together of the field, he broke his foot on the field. It ended his senior season early, and added another off-season question to his draft resume. Mathis appears to be healthy, and checked out medically at the combine. Now, the question is how does all of this affect his stock?

Strengths

  • Plays with heavy hands.
  • Has good arm extension, does not get sucked into blocks.
  • Can win with power.
  • Holds his own with leverage.
  • Well disciplined.
  • Has played in a variety of positions and spots.
  • Plays with a good football IQ.

Weaknesses

  • Short arms.
  • Does not have a quick bend around the edge.
  • Slow off of the ball.
  • Not a great athlete who lacks change of direction ability.
  • Foot injury issues in his career.
  • Has limited playing experience.

NFL Comparison: Pernell McPhee

Teams with needs at position: Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints

Projection: fourth round

Bottom Line

When Mathis was on the field, he was a force. Mathis plays with great strength, his ability to fight and win with his hands is extremely impressive, and his skill set can translate to the NFL. However, a group of questions comes with him in the process. How he can deal with new coaches and systems will be at the forefront. On top of that is a lack of playing time and a question about how healthy his foot is.

Mathis likely doesn’t have the arm length, or playing size to be a consistent 4-3 defensive end. It is likely he will have to play in a 3-4 system, but at the same time has little experience playing off of the ball. Still, he brings force and depth to his position and can put in rotational snaps right away. In the middle rounds, he is a very intriguing pick and may be a value in the class when all is set and done.

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