Jihad has amazing potential to be a complete defensive lineman for the team that
selects him. He has the long arms and legs that make him a natural pass rusher
and is the quickest defensive lineman in this draft shedding blocks and making
tackles. He has excellent feet, balance and change of direction skills. His
burst off the line and change of direction speed is as good as any linebackerís
in this draft. Jihad is playing in a 2-gap defense and being moved all over the
line because of his ability to shed blockers and make tackles, but donít be
fooled, this kid can rush the passer with the best pass rushers in this draft.
His burst and length make him a natural pass rusher. Jihad is very smart and has
excellent confidence and makes the players around him better. He has the
maturity and work ethic you look for in a complete player. He reminds me a lot
of Fletcher Cox and has the same potential to impact as a complete defensive
lineman as Fletcher has in any style of defense front.
There is no doubt of Jihadís talent, size, football intelligence and work ethic
to play the game so what are the concerns? I liked to see him finish better when
pass rushing, learn more second moves after he engages and learn how to set up
his opponent when pass rushing. In his defense, being moved around the defensive
front with the priority to stop the run first, doesnít allow a player to learn
just one position and become a better pass rusher. I have no doubt that he will
learn like a sponge and improve in this area once he gets into the NFL.
TALENT BOARD ROUND: 1
Fletch Cox was drafted in the 1st round as the 12th pick in the 2012 Draft. If
Iím looking for a complete defensive lineman, I would not hesitate to draft
Jihad at the same point in this draft. He will have to learn to deal with double
teams more effectively and learn more complete pass rushing moves, but there is
no doubt in my mind of the impact Jihad can have in the NFL. I really like his
on field maturity, confidence and leadership skills and that along with his
natural talent, strength and ability to shed blockers and tackle makes Jihad
potentially one of the better defensive linemen in this pool of very talented
defensive lineman for this draft. Tell me, if you had the chance to draft a
clone of Fletcher Cox how long would it take you to select him? Well nowís your
chance. Jihad Ward is a clone of Fletcher Cox.