Arnold Ebiketie - EDGE - Penn State
Welcome to the rookie profile for Arnold Ebiketie. Ebiketie made a jump in class in 2021 as he transferred from Temple to Penn State, whilst he had solid numbers for Temple his move to Penn State has done wonders for Ebiketie’s draft stock and seen him rise up many experts’ draft boards. Ebiketie is a monster pass rusher off the edge.
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 256 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.65s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
Ebiketie was born in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon and moved to the USA to pursue a sporting career. Ebiketie first started at Richard Montgomery High School before transferring to Albert Einstein High in his high-school sophomore year. A good athlete who played basketball as a power forward and was also a part of the track team (mainly high jump and sprint team) however it didn’t take long for everyone to take notice of his footballing abilities, it was very clear where his future would lie. In Ebiketie’s junior and senior years at high school he put together an impressive 30.0 sacks and 50.0 tackles for a loss. However, that wasn’t enough for Ebiketie to catch the attention of recruiters as he was an unranked recruit coming out of high school – signing for Temple.
Ebiketie’s freshman year in 2018 was a slow burner as he played 3 games and put-up a rather underwhelming 4 tackles for the year followed by another sub-standard year in his sophomore season as he played 7 games and contributed with 12 tackles, 2.0 tackles for a loss and 2.0 sacks in the stats column.
In Ebiketie’s junior year he finally began to show us why he’s become one of the top talents in this year’s draft. In 2020, Ebiketie played just 6 games in a COVID disrupted season and amassed 32 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, 4.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. This led Ebiketie to second-team All-AAC honors, and more importantly for his career had seen him receive an offer to transfer to Penn State which he accepted.
A big leap in class from the AAC to the Big 10 may be a daunting prospect for most but Ebiketie has more than succeeded in this transition, a move that has well and truly paid off. An impressive season has proved that 2020 with Temple was by no means a ‘fluke’ as he featured 12 times for Penn State and produced an impressive 62 tackles, 18.0 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles – not bad for moving up a gulf in class. This led to FWAA Second-team All-American and First-team All-Big Ten honors, now putting him on the map as one of the best rushers in the class.
Ebiketie has excellent flexibility around the edge, potentially one of the best at this in the class. He will constantly get the edge against offensive tackles and won’t get pushed too far behind the pocket which helps him get to the quarterback, as seen by his impressive 9.5 sacks this past season. On tape you will see that he has a good ability to multitask when bending and accelerating around the edge, he also has a unique ability to turn back into the pocket and accelerate when a quarterback slides up.
I am a big fan of Ebiketie’s hand usage, he has active hands for a pass rusher with a good know how to get rid of offensive tackles hands when he’s rushing the passer. Displays violent hand usage when attacking the edge, he also has other hand moves in his arsenal to offer variation to his game. He can dip and rip to help build on his initial push and can combine this with an aggressive extension – a relentless rusher who has competitive aggression on every snap alongside his playing qualities.
Ebiketie is one of the best pass rushers in the class. He has a lot of energy and a good motor, but just as importantly his good footballing IQ allows him to make intelligent plays especially when impacting opposing blockers. Combine all of this with his impressive frame and a guy that is very nimble on his feet for a player of 250lbs, the ceiling for Ebiketie is through the roof. We’ve also seen glimpses of the bull-rush through offensive tackles, this is by no means a heavy feature part of his game but a great move to add in to his impressive arsenal.
Ebiketie may well be one of the top edge players in the class but he still has room for improvement, especially at the next level in his career. When he rushes around the edge, at times he can lose his balance and shows an inability to finish moves. Can often play a little too high and impacts his ability to gain as much leverage as we’d typically like to see.
As a pass-rusher his strength can be a bit of a mixed bag, if he meets a stronger offensive tackle early in the rep it’s unlikely that we’ll see Ebiketie escape from this, limiting his opportunities at getting to the quarterback. On the strength side of things he’s struggled in the rush game at times as offensive tackles can turn him out of gaps to carve clear open spaces, whilst he’s more than willing to play this part of the game I don’t think we’ll see much usage in the NFL, at least for the foreseeable future.
Ebiketie may not be slow off the ball but his first step is underwhelming and stops him from flying out of the snap as we see with the NFL’s elite pass-rushers.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 1
Arnold Ebiketie should more than likely be a mid-1st round selection, I think that we will see Philadelphia Eagles using one of their three 1st round picks to acquire him. The Eagles defense had a poor showing and finished the year 31st in sacks (29 in total, 11 coming from Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox) – simply put, this isn’t good enough. Therefore, I think we’ll see the Eagles selecting an edge rusher. We will see the players at the top of the class selected before the Eagles are even on the clock and they could do a lot worse than selecting Ebiketie, a player who is explosive from the snap and possesses long arms whilst able to set the edge should be a great fit for the Eagles – Ebiketie’s ceiling could make him one of the best value picks in the draft.