I am going to try and work in some interesting prospects from time to time as we lead up to the 2019 NFL Draft, players who have talent but will not be selected in the top half of the Draft. These players (for various reasons) have situations that make teams reluctant to use a premium pick on them but have the capabilities to become huge bargains and key players for the teams intrepid enough to select them.
One Note: I will not be showcasing any players like Tyreek Hill who I knew was an outstanding late round prospect (he went #165 in the 5th round) but have domestic violence histories. We all know the New York Jets do not select players with such histories (a stand I do applaud) so there is no point in showing them
So lets begin...
Koron Crump 6’ 3” 225 lbs OLB Arizona State #4
There are times in your life when things just don’t work out the way you want them to. For Koron Crump that is an understatement. When Crump was recruited in high school out of NJROTC Academy in St Louis he was not eligible academically for the colleges he wanted to attend. He spent two years at Fort Scott Community College getting his grades in order.
He committed to Arizona State in November 2015 with high hopes of stardom and a possible, (shock the world) NCAA Football National Championship. He was entering college with a man sized body, a devastating first step and the speed to run down RB’s. His first year at ASU he was a star. While playing as an OLB he had 28 solo tackles, 11 TFL and 9 sacks. His speed off the edge was elite and he showed natural pass rushing abilities.
In his 2017 (his senior year) he started out strong with with 13 tackles, 4 TFL and 4 sacks in his first 2 1⁄2 games. During that 3rd game he suffered a devastating knee injury and was out for the year. He could have entered the Draft in 2018 but he felt he had unfinished business at Arizona State. He applied and was granted a injury medical redshirt for his senior season and spent the rest of the year rehabbing his knee and getting ready for the 2018 season.
Crump was ready once again to be a dominant force on defense in 2018, but something happened to change that. Arizona State strangely fired their coach Todd Graham and replaced him with our old friend Herm “You Play to Win the Game” Edwards. Graham was 46- 32, a 590 winning percentage, the highest for Arizona State since the mid 1980’s. The school even bought Graham’s contract out, giving him $12 million to leave.
Crump is small for a LB of any type and looks more like a big SS but he has excellent straight line speed which he uses to his advantage as a rush linebacker. The problem is that for a smaller player he show unusual stiffness, plus he is not a great bender and he has very tight hips, which is bad for coverage. Presumingly he is working hard to correct some of these flaws and working on agility drills to take away some of the stiffness.
When Crump came to camp in the spring of 2018 he was relegated to special teams instead of the defense. Crump felt like a promotion to a starting defensive position was in the cards so he worked hard all spring and summer to regain his position. After the 4th game of the year when he was still on only kick and punt duties, Crump made the decision to leave school and work on his preparation for the NFL Draft. He will work on his speed but also building his strength and weight for the rigors of the NFL.
You can see here against UCLA he lines up as a 7 technique which is almost the wide 9 that the Eagles use to rush the passer. The reason for this is Crump’s inability to bend the corner and take advantage of his speed. He gets by the tackle and goes after everyone’s favorite QB at GGN, Josh Rosen. His speed surprises Rosen and he wisely chops at the shoulder/arm of Rosen to try and create a turnover. The ball rolls harmlessly out of bounds, but the effort and intent was there.
As you will see, speed is an essential element of Koron Crump’s game, but also watch the unrelenting desire he shows on each play. He is a whirling dervish at times in his pursuit of the play. This can get him into trouble by overpursuing the play and allowing cut backs against him. NFL coaching should curtail some of the overzealousness and reckless abandon he shows.
On this play Crump uses a stutter step move to get the tackle to stop his feet for fear of an inside move. Crump then turns on the jets and blows by the tackle so quickly the receivers have no time for separation. The result is that the QB has nowhere to throw the ball and is dead meat. Crump might not be as flexible as you might like but he is overtly strong for a man of his size and makes a very forceful wrap tackle.
These last few plays show Crump’s natural pass rush abilities. His speed and quickness would be difficult for even a seasoned NFL tackle to block. Crump would be ideal as a situational pass rusher and a 3rd down OLB to start his NFL career. He has other abilities that with time could develop into that new breed of LB with speed and coverage skills that can’t be taught but are rather due to his innate capabilities.
Here Crump is in zone coverage and is able to intercept a tipped pass that is a poorly thrown ball by Jake Browning. The play is not overly great but I wanted to show how natural a football player Crump is. He intercepts the ball, shows his speed, and even has vision like a receiver to cut back across, using a block like a skill player.
Once he gets into open space he shows a calmness like he has done this for decades. Once he intercepts the ball you can see him tense up with a palpable excitement but you see him run much more fluidly once he gets up to top gear. He flows down the sideline once he hits about the 30 yard line.
This play shows perfectly the yin and the yang of Crump. First he comes off the ball well from the LB position but is not agile enough to cut back inside when the tackle sets too high; where the direct line to the QB lies. He also doesn’t bend around the corner either to get under the block. He does show impressive cutting ability to take a 90 degree angle around the tackle and the speed to close quickly for the sack. He uses a limp arm move where you give the blocker a limp arm to block, and it gives so much that they can’t get a good hold on you. It is a variation of the limp leg move runners use to break tackles. Whatever the case he gets the job done.
Crump does have a few pass rush moves which is nice for a guy who has played in only 16 complete FBS games. Remember, Crump has only had one full year of Division I football, and that was in 2016. He will be three years removed from playing football regularly when (or if) he is drafted. He will need coaching and time to develop.
Here against Washington State Crump blitzes from the MLB position and uses his speed to make it through the “A” gap before the right guard can get over to cut him off. He shows impressive speed and gets on the QB before he is able to make his 2nd read. As in the first clip Crump doesn’t just look for the sack, he secures the tackle but then goes for the arm creating a turnover and a big play.
Crump is an enigma as a prospect, he shows great skills and at the same time has deficiencies that cause you pause. The one thing that Crump is; he is a football player, a baller with natural abilities that don’t always fit into the confines of ordinary positions in the NFL. His power and speed are obvious but so is his hip tightness.
It will depend on Crump’s workouts if he gets drafted or not. I don’t think he will get an invite to the Combine so his pro day will be huge for him. The Jets don’t have a 6th round pick so I would invest a 5th or our 7th round pick on him. It just depends how good he looks in his workouts. You don’t want another team sneaking in front of you and snagging him if he shows he the same desire and natural ability during his pro day.
I know many of the Jet fans really like Avery Williamson as an ILB with his 120 tackles this year. The truth is Williamson was one of the reasons the Jets were so poor on defense in 2018 and why he was so easily signed away from Tennessee. Williamson is a liability in coverage and many plays were made way downfield.
Here are two plays on the same drive from the New England game.
The first play Williamson drops back in the zone and he allows Josh Gordon to cross his face on a long throw without Williamson getting in position to break up the play. This is a tough play for any ILB, but a player with more speed and quickness can make a play on a ball that travels 21 yards in the air. Like I said this is not a bad play by Williamson, but I wanted to point out that another player with betters skills could have made a play here.
On the second play Williamson gets sucked way up on a run fake and is way too slow dropping into his zone. He should have seen the Patriots offensive linemen go into their pass sets off the snap. If it’s a running play the linemen will fire off the ball trying to create a running lane. This does not happen off the snap, and Williamson takes his sweet time dropping back into coverage. This leaves a gaping hole in the Jets defense, and Williamson is over ten yards away from the play when the catch is made by Hogan. This is Williamson’s zone, and that play would have not been made had he been in the passing lane.
The next play is so obvious that when it happened even my wife was upset at Williamson’s poor movement skills. By the way, this is still the same drive as the last two plays. With Williamson as the ILB, Brady (or any competent QB) will always torture us through the air.
This is just horrible coverage skills and against a Gronk that is a shadow of his former self. You can see at the snap that Williamson is five yards off the ball and is covering Gronk the entire way down the seam. This is a 35 yard play, and Williamson had a five yard head start. Still in less than four seconds Gronkowski beats Williamson down the field by five yards for the score. Brady never looks at anyone other than Gronk because he can see the coverage, and he knows that even though Gronk is not as fast as he once was, he is still so much faster than Williamson. If Brady sees this than every team sees the exact same thing.
This is not an effort thing, well maybe the second play Williamson loafed back in coverage; this is a talent thing. Why Bowles had Williamson in there on a 3rd and 12 play is beyond my comprehension. These are just three plays are on one single drive. This wasn’t an exception. There were too many drives like this and was the reason the Jets gave up so many points on defense. Williamson is a two down thumper in the run game and missed a grand total of six snaps (all in the first game) all year. The problem with that is the lack of splash plays, he had 1 INT and 6 TFL in 1.115 total plays. In today’s NFL your starting ILB has to get you more big plays than that.
In order to help the defense you need speed at the LB position, speed and the ability to make plays. Imagine a defense that had (just from this Draft) Devin White and Devin Bush inside and players like Crump and Vosean Joseph on the outside. These are all players who can run. All are menacing tacklers and all can play in space. You would need some large defensive linemen to keep them clean but it could be glorious.
I will try and bring you some more players who have the skill set to help the Jets in the coming weeks and months. The draft is our only hope now so it is time to start figuring out who we need to help us. I will definitely bring you some quality offensive linemen that we also desperately need, but other aspects of the team are in need of upgrades as well.