John Franklin Myers is a soon to be 23 year old defensive end from the college of Stephen F. Austin. He was selected by the L. A. Rams in the 4th round (135th overall pick) in the 2018 NFL draft. He has really good size at 6’ 4” 288 lbs with good strength (26 bench reps), speed (4.75/40) and lateral quickness for his size. He has an extra long wingspan (over 82”) which allows him to use his hands against OTs, keeping them from controlling his body. He also does a good job of smacking the ball from players, forcing fumbles.
He is from Texas, which is a hotbed for football talent, but he was not heavily recruited mainly because he was a skinny kid in high school and his football team never won a game the entire time he was there (0-40). He did show talent and was an All-district pick which got him noticed by SFA.
In college he had 130 tackles, 38 TFL and 18 sacks but only 3.5 in his senior year. Myers is a smart kid and was a 3-time Southland All-Academic Honoree as well as a 3-time Southland football selection. He forced 5 fumbles and had 22 QB hurries in his 4 years even though he played sparingly as a freshman. He was one of the few FCS players who were invited to the NFL scouting combine, where he tested very well.
As a pro Myers has only played on 227 defensive regular season snaps, so he was a situational rusher usually on third down. He does show the ability and strength to play much more but will probably only double his defensive snaps this year as Gregg Williams likes to rotate linemen. He has the strength to hold the edge and the speed to chase down RBs as well as QBs. He doesn’t have a lot of bend like a superior pass rusher but he is not totally inflexible and makes up for it by using good leverage and good power. He needs to work on his technique, develop better pass rush counters and use his hands better against OTs.
Here are just a few of JFMs plays from last year. He was active for all 16 games last year but only got snaps in 10 games total. On this play from the Chargers game you can see the good movement skills he has as he gets a QB hit on Philip Rivers. Myers is #94.
You can see how he uses his length well as he creates separation from the LT by getting his arms out to push him off. He then quickly loops around on a T/E stunt, you can see right at the end of the clip he makes Philip Rivers rush his throw and then gets a hit on the QB.
This next clip against the Vikings (which was an amazing game) he fakes a stunt to get a hit on the QB again. He starts to go inside like he is going to loop around the tackle but instead comes back outside which totally gets the LT wrong footed.
He forces a hit on Cousins as the left tackle had to leave his feet to try and push JFM far enough away so there wasn’t a crushing blow on his QB. On this play he was a little slow off the snap which could have been the difference in a sack or just a QB hit. He needs to learn to come off the ball faster if he wants to make a splash play on defense.
Here is where JFM uses that great length to help win a game. Both teams in this game went up and down the field scoring points. JFM played in a season high 35 snaps in this game with a few QB hits and this game clinching sack fumble.
This time JFM is not late off the ball and is able to get good leverage under the tackle Riley Reiff. JFM gets Reiff slightly off balance. That allows JFM to get enough of an edge to reach around Reiff to get a hand on Cousins. There is another view which shows just how he is able to dip down and get around then slap the arm on the way by.
This starts just after JFM gets Reiff off balance; you can see how he dips down to gain the edge and comes out on the other side. It’s a heads up play for a player who is still learning and played less than half the defensive snaps in this game.
This next clip is against the Bears who were running a read option and RPO plays the entire first quarter. Trubisky had also run two QB draws in the series before this so JFM is leery about the QB run. He is going up against Charles Leno who was a Pro Bowl tackle last year.
He just basically stays at home and waits until he sees an opportunity to attack and makes an easy sack. Dante Fowler did most of the work on this play but JFM stayed home and made the smart if unspectacular play.
This last clip is from the Super Bowl and once again JFM makes good use of his length and pops the ball loose from the self proclaimed goat. Again he does his job as he doesn’t just rush crazily, he makes sure the RB didn’t get the ball then rushed the passer.
John Franklin Myers is an impressive kid who should get better with more experience. He is not even 23 years old and has already been in a Super Bowl; he expects to win. I have watched numerous interviews with him. I have come away knowing that he is the type of kid who will work hard, be a good teammate and not get into trouble. He is definitely an ascending talent who could turn into another young building block for the future. This was a nice pick up.
What do you think..?