Over the past few months, we’ve been taking an in-depth look at each of the Jets’ rookies. We continue today with defensive lineman Michael Dwumfour.
The 23-year old Dwumfour is listed at 6’1” and 296 pounds and was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection in 2020 after having transferred from Michigan to Rutgers. He recorded a total of 3.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss in his career.
Dwumfour was a three-star prospect from the New Jersey area who originally committed to Penn State, only to later change his mind and follow his friend Rashan Gary to Michigan.
In his freshman year, he saw action in garbage time during the opening day blowout of Hawaii, making a few plays including a tackle for loss, but then redshirted the year. He recorded four tackles and a half sack in a reserve role in 2017.
Dwumfour’s role increased in his redshirt sophomore season, as he started two games and played in all 13. He ended the year with 19 tackles, including three for loss, and added two sacks and an interception.
In his fourth season, he again made two starts but ended up with just nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, two passes defensed and a half-sack. However, he got season-ending surgery before the team’s bowl game and opted to enter the transfer portal after the season.
Having made the decision to join Rutgers as a graduate transfer, Dwumfour started all eight games and had a career high 25 tackles as we was named as an all-Big Ten honorable mention. He added 2.5 tackles for loss and half a sack.
Dwumfour wasn’t officially invited to the scouting combine but had a decent pro day workout. The Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent after he wasn’t selected in the 2021 draft.
Now let’s take a look at what Dwumfour brings to the table, divided into categories.
Dwumfour is an undersized interior lineman who lacks ideal length but has a low center of gravity. He actually weighed 325 pounds back in 2016, but had slimmed down to 296 by the time of his pro day.
His athletic numbers were good in terms of speed (5.1 in the 40-yard dash), explosiveness and agility, but he may need to work on his strength after posting just 19 bench press reps.
Had he posted these numbers at the 2020 scouting combine, he’d have been 10th in terms of his vertical, fourth for short shuttle and eighth for three-cone drill among all defensive linemen.
Dwumfour spent most of his time operating as a three-technique tackle, but he did sometimes line up opposite the center or an offensive tackle. He played more regularly at nose in 2018 than in any other year.
Dwumfour works hard in the trenches, even though he had a reputation as having an inconsistent motor when first recruited to Michigan. That probably improved as he shed weight in his first few years.
Here’s a play that showcases his relentlessness. He spins off the block to get pressure and keeps working to get in on the tackle.
He never played 50 snaps in a game at Michigan but averaged over 50 a game as a starter with Rutgers, including one where he played 69 snaps.
Dwumfour needs to attack gaps to be successful in the running game. If he can gain a quick leverage advantage at the snap, it gives him a chance to get off blocks effectively.
If he keeps his pad level low he can be explosive out of his stance, creating penetration to help bottle up runs.
Since he’s undersized, he can sometimes get overwhelmed by double teams, down blocks or if a talented lineman is able to gain initial control of him.
He can be slippery though, giving up ground on the double team here before working off the block to get back into the play.
Dwumfour has decent range in pursuit for his size as he moves well laterally and comes downhill with good effort.
Dwumfour showed some abilities as an interior disruptor who generated pressure at a reasonable clip considering he would line up inside. His quickness can be a weapon here too, giving him early leverage advantages to work his way around interior linemen.
He can also get some push inside and shows patience to work upfield and then disengage when the quarterback is forced to step up.
He can be really effective on stunts, both in terms of occupying blocks so the end can come free up the middle and looping around the outside to get to the quarterback.
As noted, Dwumfour has a low center of gravity and can play with good pad level. He exhibits that here, as he gets right under the guard’s pads and stands him up so he can shed and stuff the run.
He needs to work at his hand usage, but there are some good signs of development in this area.
As a pass rusher, he can win with both quickness and power and seems to have some developing moves in his repertoire. He showed signs of being able to jab inside and rush hard off the outside shoulder, using an arm-over move to separate and spinning off a block as a counter.
Dwumfour wasn’t a particularly productive tackler at Michigan although his rate improved slightly as he moved into a full time role at Rutgers. A lot of his production came from bottling up runs or assisting on a runner who had been held up.
He didn’t miss many tackles at Michigan but missed seven in eight games last season. When he did miss tackles, the majority were in the backfield as he dived or overextended to try and make a big play.
Dwumfour didn’t really drop into coverage with Michigan or Rutgers although he looked good on one play where he dropped off the line to disrupt a crossing route.
He batted down two passes at the line at Michigan and also reacted well as he recorded this interception.
He shared some practice footage of a play where he dropped off the line into a passing lane and made a one-handed interception that he returned for a touchdown so he perhaps has some hidden talents here.
Dwumfour was a good student and did well to get to grips with a new defense after transferring even though his role was similar.
There can be times where he is preoccupied with his battle in the trenches and disengages too late to play the ball carrier.
He can be prone to lining up or jumping offside, as he did this a handful of times in 2020.
Dwumfour hasn’t contributed much on special teams. He’s rushed punts, field goals and extra points but without any specific success so far.
There were questions about Dwumfour’s work ethic and maturity early on in his career but he seemed to overcome these as he became a rotational contributor in 2018. Gary has been a good influence on him as the pair have often trained together in the offseason.
Nevertheless, he was obviously frustrated at not getting many chances to start so he finished his degree and got that opportunity at Rutgers.
On the field, he’s a fiery player and can sometimes let this affect him. He had a few unsportsmanlike personal fouls at Rutgers.
Dwumfour’s exit from Michigan was a little controversial as there was confusion over his status for the team’s bowl game which he eventually cleared up by saying that he’d been playing with an injury all year and opted to get surgery. He had missed time early in the season with what appeared to be a shoulder issue.
In 2018, there had been a similar incident as he missed the bowl game due to a plantar fasciitis tear which the team said had occurred shortly before the game but Dwumfour corrected this on social media by saying that he injured it earlier in the season and had been playing through it.
There was also an incident where he was carted off with a suspected Achilles injury, only for it to eventually turn out not to be as serious as expected.
He was also wearing a brace or cast on his hand/wrist in 2019.
Dwumfour’s abilities as an attacking interior presence would seem to make him a good fit for Robert Saleh’s system, or at least worth giving a look at as a potential longer-term project.
He was a teammate of fellow undrafted free agent Brendon White while at Rutgers last season.
Unlike most of the other undrafted free agents, Dwumfour is unfortunate to be battling for a role at a position where the Jets have a ton of depth. There’s almost no chance of him earning a roster spot this year unless a few players get injured.
However, he could aim for a spot on the practice squad and try to stick around until next year when Nathan Shepherd, Foley Fatukasi and Tanzel Smart will all be out of contract.