DE Matt Judon, 6-3, 275, 40- 4.73
Matt Judon is a 6-foot-3 inch defensive end who runs a 4.73 40 yard dash and that is all you need to know. While that’s not really the case, that 40 stat stands out so much that it makes you want to look further into his game tape. By the way, Tamba Hali ran a 4.77 40 yard dash so Judon’s time is relevant.
Matt Judon won the Gene Upshaw Trophy, given to Division II’s top lineman as well as the best defensive lineman in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. NFL.com’s Mike Mayock often says that if a Division II prospect is going to make it in the NFL he should have dominated his competition. Judon led everyone in college football in 2015 with 20 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss, and had 81 total tackles with three forced fumbles. He led everyone… not just Division II.
Matt Judon was also named the Don Hansen Super Region 4 Defensive Player of the Year. That may sound rather regionally biased until you hear that, HERO Sports Ranks Grand Valley State As The Top Football Program In The State Of Michigan.
"“HERO Sports, an online publication, ranked all 671 football teams across the four divisions of college football to come up with the top football programs in the United States, with each state crowning a state title holder. Grand Valley State was named the top program in Michigan, regardless of division.”"
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said this of Judon,
"“Massive production after pulverizing his competition this year. Chiseled body with natural power baked into his compact frame and exceptionally long arms. Was too powerful for many of the tackles he faced. Rushes passer with a plan.”"
Here’s a Matt Judon’s Career Highlights. He wears number 9 (I’ll never get used to linemen wearing numbers like that).
Like Mike Catapano, Judon comes into the NFL with less than the ideal size for a defensive end in a 3-4 defensive scheme. So, you may be wondering why we want to focus on a prospect like Judon and the answer is simple: he’s good, really good. Plus, he appears to have a frame that can take more weight. I don’t think any NFL team would want to ask him to put on 30 pounds but 20 pounds is not out of the question.
Since Judon’s forte seems to be penetrating, I can see him being used as a situational pass rusher initially and then as he grows into his body becoming a full time 3 down player.
I don’t know how some prognosticators feel comfortable with projecting that a prospect has Pro Bowl potential, but I do feel comfortable saying Matt Judon looks like he can be a very good pro.
DraftTek has Matt Judon ranked as the 21st best defensive end in this draft and the 337th best prospect overall. This of course means they don’t anticipate Judon being drafted at all. On the other hand, CBS Sport has Judon ranked as the 133rd best prospect overall and that projects to the 4th round. Rob Rang, from CBS says of Judon,
"“From a technique perspective, Judon is a work in progress but he boasts an NFL-caliber combination of build, burst and bend sure to earn him a draft selection – quite possibly overtaking current Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (fifth round, 140th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008) as the highest pick in GVSU history.”"
If Matt Judon doesn’t get drafted, some team will most certainly snatch him up asap following the draft day weekend.
My Take on Matt Judon
When I watch Matt Judon I see a 3-4 developmental Defensive End with a non-stop motor who will track ball carriers and quarterbacks down all over the field because of his athleticism and speed. He’s raw but he can rush the passer relentlessly. Judon doesn’t have a lot of moves but he reminds me of Dontari Poe in a certain respect: Poe was asked to do too many different things along the defensive line and so his college tape didn’t look that great. With Judon, it looks like he takes it upon himself to pursue until the play is dead and since no one else on the defense is playing at his level he usually ends up being in on a high percentage of stops.
Perhaps the Chiefs could take a flier on Judon in the 5th, 6th or 7th rounds. I think he’d be worth it. He’s actually the exact same size as Tamba Hali and has a motor like Hali as well and would clearly benefit from his tutelage. However, I’m not 100% certain he could make the transition to OLB and learn the coverage skills that Hali has proven to be so adept at. It wouldn’t hurt to insert Matt Judon at defensive end on passing downs in the meantime and then see, over time, if he could make the conversion to OLB.
Next: How about a late round corner who can start now?