Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State DE | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie has broken out this year, but does he have the 2022 NFL Draft scouting report to rise into the early rounds?

This edge-rusher class is absurd. We don’t need any winding streams of prose to hype it up. This NFL Draft class speaks for itself. Over a dozen defensive ends could find their way into the Day 2 range of the 2022 NFL Draft, and Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie is one of them with his scouting report. Ebiketie has exploded onto the scene in 2021, and he has a skill set that translates well to the next level.

Arnold Ebiketie NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Defensive End
  • School: Penn State
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 256 pounds

Arnold Ebiketie Scouting Report

There are almost too many edge rushers to keep track of this year. At first, it was the top group of Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, George Karlaftis, and Drake Jackson that drew the most attention. Now, however, other edge rushers have entered the fray.

David Ojabo and Jermaine Johnson II are massive 2021 risers. Kingsley Enagbare has begun to realize his potential and complete his game. Sam Williams has been a menace in the SEC, along with others like Tré Williams and Tyree Johnson. There are well over a dozen defensive ends to know in the early-round conversation, and Penn State’s Ebiketie is one of them.

Arnold Ebiketie’s athletic profile

Although he’s listed at just 6’3″, Ebiketie has a burly, high-hipped frame. He also possesses elite proportional length, with arms that will likely measure over 34 inches long. In that frame, Ebiketie stores ample power. His length also provides an excellent conduit for speed-to-power moves, and he can use his length and strength to pry open lanes.

Athletically, Ebiketie has many impressive traits as well. The Penn State DE is fairly explosive. Though his first step might not be elite, he has a good enough get-off to create some displacement off the snap. He also has good long-track explosiveness and lateral agility. He can go inside-outside and manipulate attack angles. Furthermore, Ebiketie can transition from attacking vertically to attacking laterally in a very short span.

Going further, the Penn State product is a surprisingly twitched-up pass rusher. He can generate quick momentum at a moment’s notice, and with his twitch, he can coax tackles into over-setting. Once he has separation on the edge, Ebiketie can cover a lot of ground with his long, energetic strides. He also has good closing speed, lateral mobility, and range in pursuit. Moreover, his length helps him envelop ball carriers.

Perhaps most intriguing, Ebiketie possesses great ankle flexion. The Penn State DE can lean and reduce his surface area while keeping his hands active. He also has the flexibility and core strength necessary to absorb power and take control of reps.

Execution beyond the physical traits

Ebiketie clearly boasts a great deal of physical upside — but even more exciting is the operational ability that he’s flashed time and time again this year. A big reason for Ebiketie’s production is his mix of physical and operational traits, and it starts with his multitasking ability.

Ebiketie has shown he can multitask while bending and accelerating around the edge — one of the most important traits for edge rushers. With his twitch, he sets up leverage well, and he can establish a strong anchor while leaning and searing around the corner.

While attacking around the edge, Ebiketie displays the capacity for heavy, violent hand usage. He has a powerful bull rush, as well as moves like cross-chops in his arsenal. Additionally, he’s shown he can stack counters like chop-and-rip moves and build on his initial push. Ebiketie can supplement violent extensions with prying hand moves. He’s a relentless motor rusher who doesn’t let up on reps.

Overall, Ebiketie is one of the more proactive rushers on the draft circuit. He’s energetic but also calculated in how he impacts his blocker’s positioning. Among other things, the Nittany Lions’ star defender has the strong base and length necessary to set the edge in run defense.

Areas for improvement

Right away, it’s clear that Ebiketie is a legitimate 2022 NFL Draft prospect. However, even he has room to improve.

Most notably, Ebiketie’s balance can be an issue at times. The Penn State DE sometimes loses his balance after unleashing his initial moves. He can also lose his balance when bending around the edge, inhibiting his ability to finish reps. Going further, Ebiketie can play too high at times. This can impact his ability to attain superior leverage.

The Penn State DE sometimes recoils a bit too much after his first move. He can be more controlled and coordinated at times. To that end, Ebiketie doesn’t always time his extensions properly. More precise timing can help him avoid sacrificing leverage to opposing blockers. On a related note, he can better work to reach proper depth before extending. He doesn’t always time his breaks inside effectively.

Moreover, Ebiketie can carry more force with his hands. He’s generally good here, but his hands don’t always strike cleanly. He can also overshoot attack angles when stunting inside. Finally, Ebiketie can sometimes be a bit late to flip his hips and set his base in run defense.

Ebiketie’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

Being a redshirt senior, Ebiketie may be a slightly older rookie. But that’s the least of anyone’s concerns because it’s clear that he can play. Even at Temple, Ebiketie flashed next-level ability. But this year at Penn State, he’s taken his game to another level.

Ebiketie isn’t the level of athlete that Odafe Oweh or Shaka Toney were for Penn State last year. Yet, that’s a high bar to clear. At the very least, he passes the necessary athletic threshold.

He has good explosiveness off the line, as well as great bend and mobility. On top of that, Ebiketie has a strong frame with dangerous length, and he’s shown he can tie it all together with power and quick, aggressive hand usage.

Ebiketie can still refine his game — namely, his balance and timing. Nevertheless, he isn’t lacking in any physical department. Able to play standing up or from one-point and two-point stances, Ebiketie has the proven production, all-around ability, and modest scheme versatility to be a popular option in the Day 2 range.

Arnold Ebiketie’s Player Profile

Some players have longer paths to stardom. This was the path that Ebiketie had to take. Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Ebiketie eventually made his way to the United States, getting his start as an athlete. He started at Richard Montgomery High School before transferring to Albert Einstein High as a sophomore.

Ebiketie was an active athlete. He played basketball, starring at power forward, and participated in high jumps and sprints on the track team. But Ebiketie’s future was brightest in football, and that quickly became clear. He played wide receiver and linebacker, but he was a tier above on defense. In his junior and senior years combined, he amassed 30 sacks and 50 tackles for loss — including 21.5 sacks in his final campaign.

Despite his dominance, Ebiketie went overlooked in the recruiting process. He signed with Temple as an unranked recruit, using his chance with the Owls to slowly build himself up. After redshirting in 2017 and playing sparingly in 2018 and 2019, Ebiketie broke out in a truncated 2020 season.

In 2020, Ebiketie amassed 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles in just six games. He earned second-team All-AAC honors and leveraged that success into an opportunity with Penn State in 2021.

Ebiketie’s career at Penn State

The leap from the AAC to the Big Ten might be daunting on the surface, but Ebiketie has taken it in stride. Not only has Ebiketie looked right at home, but he’s dominated week in and week out against some future NFL tackles. In 10 games, the Penn State DE has accumulated 53 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.

Ebiketie has been a menace for the Nittany Lions, leading a defensive end rotation that includes Adisa Isaac, Jesse Luketa, Nick Tarburton, and Zuriah Fisher. But more than that, he’s quickly distinguished himself as one of the top edge rushers — not just in his conference but in the entire 2022 NFL Draft class.

Ebiketie’s NFL Draft ascension

The Nittany Lions have shown they can find and develop talent on the edge. Though Ebiketie’s path to Penn State was somewhat unorthodox, his rise within their halls has been all but expected. On the stat sheet, Ebiketie passes the production test with flying colors. And on tape, he boasts an enticing mix of traits as well — most notably his combination of burst, length, ankle flexion, and natural power.

Ebiketie has the necessary physical traits, and he’s shown he can channel them well. His age may be a separating factor in an EDGE class that’s absolutely stacked at the top, but nothing more. There’s no reason that Ebiketie shouldn’t be in the Day 2 conversation in the 2022 NFL Draft. And if a team likes him enough after testing and offseason events, he could be an under-the-radar first-round candidate.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.