Mekhi Wingo’s Draft Profile | LSU, DT Scouting Report

With his 2024 NFL Draft scouting report, can LSU's Mekhi Wingo be the next undersized defensive tackle to take over the NFL with his tools?

In the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, Calijah Kancey and Kobie Turner strengthened the reputation of the undersized DT prototype. Can LSU’s Mekhi Wingo carry on their work in the 2024 NFL Draft with his scouting report?

Mekhi Wingo’s Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’0 1/4″
  • Weight: 286 pounds
  • Length: 32″
  • Wingspan: 77 1/8″
  • Hand: 9 1/4″
  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • School: LSU
  • Current Year: Junior

Just 21 years old, Wingo already has the look of a future contributor at the NFL level. In fact, there were whispers that he had that kind of potential as early as his high school days, when he was a three-star recruit from DeSmet Jesuit High School in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Wingo stayed in-state with the Missouri Tigers for the 2021 season, putting up 27 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, and a big man pick-six as a true freshman. He leveraged that season into an opportunity with the vaunted LSU Tigers, and he didn’t let it go to waste.

In 2022, Wingo racked up 46 tackles, six TFLs, three sacks, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble. The next year, earning the title of team captain as a mere true junior, he racked up five more TFLs and notched a career-high 4.5 sacks.

Wingo is young, with room to keep growing. But the floor, both as a player and a competitor, is already very impressive. With his work ethic — he was given LSU’s legendary No. 18 jersey for this reason — the ceiling is simply tantalizing. The NFL Combine drove that point home.

In Indianapolis, Wingo logged a 4.85-second 40-yard dash with a 1.63-second 10-yard split, a 31.5″ vertical, and a 7.33-second three-cone. His 10-yard split — an effective illustration of a DT’s first step off the line — was near the 99th percentile.

NFL teams always look for ascending players to invest in at the start of their developmental curve. Looking through that lens, Wingo has a lot to offer.

Wingo’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Extremely explosive athlete with a lightning-quick first step off the line.
  • Squatty, compact defensive lineman with good frame density and natural leverage.
  • Easily wins the pad-level battle, and from there, can weaponize his tools and tenacity.
  • Can use his elite explosive capacity to rocket through gaps and be a disruptive presence.
  • Effervescent, twitched-up rusher who can widen tackles with his untethered energy.
  • Has decent proportional length for his size, which allows him to channel speed-to-power.
  • Can effectively sustain power exertions with his fast, urgent leg churn after contact.
  • Can supplement euro-steps with chop moves to widen rush angles, then stack rips.
  • Able to displace OTs with initial rush angles before countering inside with double-swipes.
  • Has the ankle flexion to sink and bend around extensions while sustaining acceleration.
  • Has the versatility to rush as far outside as 7-tech. with his speed, agility, and twitch.
  • Explosiveness, agility, and bend capacity enable him to stunt across alignments.
  • Can use his quickness to teleport across-face in run defense and obstruct gaps.
  • Has enough upper-body strength to establish half-man relationships and one-gap.
  • Team captain and defensive leader who consistently shows off a hot motor in pursuit.

Weaknesses

  • Has a narrow frame and wingspan, and below-average length for the position.
  • Lacking length can impact his ability to pry through double-teams and invade gaps.
  • Isn’t always able to quickly deconstruct run block anchors and enter pursuit.
  • Without elite length, sometimes struggles to re-exert and sustain bull rushes inside.
  • Lacks high-end mass, and can be easily re-routed by combo blocks on the interior.
  • Lower-body and leverage maintenance can be a bit uncontrolled versus duo blocks.
  • Sometimes diverts too far upright with his pads on stunts, exposing his frame to help.
  • At times comes off the snap with pads too high, nullifying base load on power rushes.
  • Torso is a bit stiff and tightly wound at times, which can impact his prying flexibility.
  • Doesn’t have the torso flexibility to shrink around gaps and squirm free from anchors.
  • On occasion, is a tick late off the ball at the snap, losing valuable time.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Wingo grades out as a top-100 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s worthy of mid-to-late Day 2 consideration, particularly from teams that employ more odd and hybrid-front looks. Early on Day 3, he’d be an especially good value acquisition.

Undersized but effective disruptors always have a place in the NFL, and Wingo fits that mold to a tee. He’s a narrow-built, sawed-off interior defensive lineman who only has middling length — but he more than compensates with his bristling explosiveness, speed-to-power, pass-rush arsenal, and relentless motor.

For an undersized lineman, however, Wingo doesn’t have all of the boons you’d want such players to have. While he has good ankle flexion, he exhibits torso stiffness at times, which can impact his finishing ability, and he can still improve at managing his pad level.

Going further, Wingo’s lack of high-end length and mass naturally limits him in certain phases. He has the motor, leg drive, and compact play strength to hold up as a one-gapping lineman, but he doesn’t absorb combos well and can be washed out of plays when over-encumbered.

KEEP READING: Top DTs in the 2024 NFL Draft

All this being considered, Wingo is still an ultra-dynamic pass-rushing threat with a full hand usage arsenal, wicked one-step burst and lateral agility, a formidable speed-to-power profile, and an unyielding motor that makes him not only a constant threat in pursuit but also an emotional leader for the defense.

In odd and hybrid-front schemes as a versatile 3-tech, Wingo has quality-starter upside, and he could go on to be an impact player on passing downs.

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