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?

The NFL Draft scouting report of Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie is just the latest to come from the ranks of the Nittany Lions. A couple of years ago, Yetur Gross-Matos was viewed as a worthy early-round selection. And in 2021, the Ravens selected Odafe Oweh in Round 1. At this point, Penn State is a reliable producer of quality EDGE talent, and Ebiketie is the next player up in the pipeline. One could also argue he’s the most complete player yet.

Arnold Ebiketie NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Defensive End
  • School: Penn State
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height: 6’2 3/8″
  • Weight: 250 pounds
  • Wingspan: 82 1/8″
  • Length: 34 1/8″
  • Hand: 10 1/4″

Ebiketie’s Combine/pro day results

  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.66
  • Bench Press: 21
  • Broad Jump: 10′ 8″
  • Vertical Jump: 38″
  • Three-Cone: 6.95
  • Short Shuttle: 4.24

Arnold Ebiketie Scouting Report

The 2021 class of EDGE defenders may go on to be a historic group when we look back in 5-10 years. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Aidan Hutchinson, George Karlaftis, and Drake Jackson had the most buzz early on. But now, after a long and tumultuous NFL offseason, several other edge rusher have tossed their hats into the ring.

Michigan’s David Ojabo and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II are massive risers. Kingsley Enagbare has fans stylistically as well. Sam Williams was a menace in the SEC and could be drafted surprisingly high if his character checks out off the field. All these prospects and Ebiketie, undoubtedly, deserve to be in the conversation with them.

Ebiketie’s athletic profile

Although he’s listed at just 6’2 3/8″, Ebiketie has a burly, high-hipped frame. He also possesses elite proportional length, with arms that are over 34″ long. In that frame, Ebiketie stores ample power. His length also provides an excellent conduit for speed-to-power moves, and he uses his length and strength to pry open lanes.

Athletically, Ebiketie has many impressive traits as well. The Penn State DE is very explosive. With his fiery first step off the line, he can create displacement off the snap. He also has great 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 generates quick momentum at a moment’s notice, and with his twitch, can coax tackles into over-setting. Once he has separation on the edge, Ebiketie covers 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 establishes 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 to 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 sometimes be an issue. 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 sometimes overshoots attack angles when stunting inside. Finally, Ebiketie at times is 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 will 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 in 2021 at Penn State, he took his game to another level.

Looking at Ebiketie’s profile as a whole, it’s hard to see what he lacks. The Penn State DE may be a bit smaller than preferred for some evaluators, but the composite proportions play very much in his favor. At 6’2 3/8″, 250 pounds, he’s very dense, with elite proportional length, which he can use to generate great amounts of power.

Going further, with his length in conjunction, Ebiketie is very explosive and twitchy off the snap. He has ruthless, violent hands, and has shown to generate force and stack counters in rapid succession. Moreover, he can capitalize on displacement around the edge with sustained acceleration and great bend capacity.

Ebiketie could still refine his game a bit more — 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 proven production, all-around ability, and modest scheme versatility. In my opinion, he’s a top-15 prospect and a top-five edge rusher. I’d take him in Round 1, and he’s phenomenal value on Day 2.

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 Ebiketie 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 seem daunting on the surface, but Ebiketie took it completely in stride. Not only did he look right at home, but Ebiketie dominated week in and week out against some future NFL tackles. In 12 games, the Penn State DE racked up 62 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a pass deflection.

Ebiketie was a menace for the Nittany Lions, leading a defensive end rotation that included Adisa Isaac, Jesse Luketa, Nick Tarburton, and Zuriah Fisher. But more than that, he 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. 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 to 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 early-to-mid Day 2 conversation in the 2022 NFL Draft. And if a team likes him enough, he could be an under-the-radar first-round candidate.

Tony Pauline’s scouting report on Arnold Ebiketie

Positives: Undersized pass-rushing linebacker who plays with a relentless style. Breaks down well, consistently gets leverage on opponents, and keeps his feet moving. Strong, fires his hands into blockers, and knocks offensive tackles back off the line. Fast off the edge, relentless, and does not give up on plays.

Displays good change-of-direction skills, nicely flows down the line, and slides laterally to defend the run. Remains patient with assignments and does more than just mindlessly rush up the field.

Negatives: Primarily used out of a three-point stance at Penn State and rarely asked to drop back into coverage. Slowed by blocks and out-positioned by bigger linemen.

Analysis: Ebiketie was a terrific pass rusher for Penn State and had moments of dominance during Senior Bowl practices. He’s a pass-rush specialist at the next level who can be used out of a three-point stance or standing over tackle.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.

FEATURED
PFN NEWSLETTER

Every day, get free NFL updates sent straight to your inbox!