Drafted: ROUND: 1 - Pick Number: 19 (TB)
Draft Profile: BioCalijah Kancey from Northwestern High School was rated a 3-star recruit by ESPN and handed a 3-star grade by 247 Sports. After high school, Kancey joined Pittsburgh.
After redshirting the 2019 season in 2020 Kancey saw action in 11 games and played a total of 398 snaps for the Panthers. He recorded 22 tackles, 4 assists, while adding 18 stops. As a pass rusher, he added 26 total pressures, which included 15 QB hurries, 9 QB hits, and 2 sacks on the season.
As a sophomore for the Panthers in 2021 Kancey played in 14 games and took part in 577 snaps for the Panthers. He recorded 22 tackles, 5 assists, while adding 26 stops. As a pass rusher, he chalked up 38 total pressures, and 19 QB hurries, 10 QB hits, and an excellent 9 sacks during the year.
In 2022 as a junior Kancey played in 11 games and contributed on 454 snaps. He recorded 19 tackles, 4 assists while making 21 stops. As a pass rusher, he produced 47 total pressures, which included a huge 30 QB hurries, 9 QB hits, and an impressive 8 sacks on the year.
Honors & awards
- 2022 - American Football Coaches Association All-American (first team)
- 2022 - Associated Press All-American (first team)
- 2022 - Football Writers Association of America All-American (first team)
- 2022 - Sporting News All-American (first team)
- 2022 - Walter Camp All-American (first team)
- 2022 - CBS Sports All-American (first team)
- 2022 - ESPN All-American (first team)
- 2022 - Pro Football Focus All-American (first team)
- 2022 - College Football Network (CFN) National Defensive Tackle of the Year
- 2022 - Bronko Nagurski Trophy Finalist
- 2022 - Outland Trophy Finalist
- 2022 - Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalist
- 2022 - ACC Defensive Player of the Year
- 2022 - First Team All-ACC
- 2021 -First team All-ACC
- 2021 - Third team Associated Press All-American
- 2020 - Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Rivals and The Athletic
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Hugely productive and experienced one-gap defensive tackle - who has experience both at nose tackle and DT. Made massive19 sacks over the past three years from the inside
- Kancey is strong enough in the lower body to hold up at the point of attack, and displays a good feel as a grappler in the phone booth, consistently getting blockers off-balance before sending them to the ground
- Has outstanding overall body control - and uses his limited stature to his advantage. Plays with a low pad level and creates impressive leverage
- Has all the pass rush moves you would expect from a seasoned NFL vet
- Elite athletic skills -- Made Bruce Feldman's 'Freaks List' at number 7. He wrote: "This was a great find by Panthers defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, who has deep ties around South Florida. In 2021, Kancey earned first-team All-ACC honors after producing 13 TFLs and seven sacks. Pat Narduzzi says Kancey reminds him of Panthers legend Aaron Donald, and while that is pretty hefty talk, no doubt this guy is special too. Narduzzi told The Athletic this month that Kancey has been clocked running a 4.69 40. Kancey also has vertical-jumped 31 1/2 inches and bench pressed 425."
- With the ability to hold up at the point of attack as a run defender, he is remarkably instinctive.
- He explodes off the line with a quick first step, with agile feet to counter inside and closing burst to finish plays.
- Despite his size he’s strong at the point of attack against the run, able to hold his own when asked to play inside and battle double teams. Kancey has outstanding lateral movement skills and is quick to slip blocks with the speed to cover a lot of ground in pursuit.
- Challenges inside with quickness and strong hands. Run-and-chase defender who can leave a mark.
- He’s a high-effort pass rusher who shows good initial quickness and the ability to beat blockers to the inside
- While he has been exclusively an interior at the college level - he could be seen as a possible outside rusher at the NFL level
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Biggest issue by far with Kancey is lack of size for the position - standing at just 6-0 and 280 lbs he going to get pushed around by bigger offensive lineman. May be viewed as a pass rush specialist on the inside
- While he has elite upper body strength he will always be limited by his overall size and could be a liability in the running game
- Despite playing NT at the college level for roughly 25 percent of his college snaps - he'll be looked at as a strict DT in the pros due to his lack of size
- Stands up well against the run but is very pursuit-conscious and does take unneeded wide angles.
Scouting Report: SummaryCalijah Kancey will predictably be viewed as the second coming of Arron Donald coming from Pittsburgh and playing the same position. However, the similarities are striking, both were measured at 6-0, weighed in at roughly 280lbs, and have been timed at 4.69 in forty. In addition, when compared their total pressures and sacks are in the same ballpark. Now we are not saying that he is going to be a perennial all-pro like Donald, however, it's pretty apparent Kancey has the athletic ability, speed, technique, and instincts required for the position to overcome his lack of size.
Kancey should be an easy first-round selection in the 2023 draft who'll likely be a first-year pass-rushing specialist and quickly develop into a long-term starter on the defensive line.
Calijah Kancey percentiles vs other Defensive Linemen (NFL Combine historically - higher value represents better perfomance)
Update - 03/27/2023Performed as expected at the combine running an elite 4.67 forty, and checking in at 6-1, that's an inch taller than expected. This is hugely significant considering that that were rumors he was actually 5-11!
Kancey could very easily be selected as high as the mid-first round as a result.
Calijah Kancey Three Minute Video Review
Courtesy of NFL Draft Buzz contributor Steven Wright
How other scouting services rate Calijah Kancey (Overall Rank)
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