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Yetur Gross-Matos’ Speed, Strength Make Him Attractive Option For NFL

If his Penn State football career is any indication, Yetur Gross-Matos will be a valuable addition to any NFL defensive line.

The defensive end announced that he would forgo his senior season in Happy Valley for the 2020 NFL Draft this past December. Gross-Matos made the decision after putting up 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and seven quarterback hurries and a junior. The stud athlete finished with eight sacks and 20 tackles-for-loss as a sophomore.

Gross-Matos’ truly burst onto the scene as a sophomore when he was considered one of the top defensive players in the Big Ten entering the 2018 season. After another successful campaign, he’s now considered one of the top defensive lineman in this year’s draft.

In many NFL experts’ mock drafts, Gross-Matos is projected to be taken in the mid-to-late first round. If these predictions hold true, the 6’5″, 266-pound edge rusher would be the first Nittany Lion to be selected in the first round since Saquon Barkley went No. 2 overall in 2018.

Gross-Matos’ combination of speed and strength off the edge is what will likely make him an attractive option for teams. While he didn’t run a 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Nittany Lion put up 20 reps on the bench press, had a vertical jump of 34 inches, and finished with a broad jump of 120 inches. He produced the fourth-best vertical jump among defensive lineman at the combine and sixth-best broad jump.

A popular landing spot for Gross-Matos that’s been predicted over the last few weeks has been the Seattle Seahawks at No. 27 overall. Pete Carroll’s team is expected to lose star defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney to free agency in the coming weeks, and many experts believe Gross-Matos could help fill that void.

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson predicted this pick on Saturday, describing Gross-Matos as, “raw,” and “only going to get better.”

While it’s way too early to compare Gross-Matos to as bonafide a star as Clowney, his career in Happy Valley speaks for itself. The defensive end’s pure athleticism off the edge made him a matchup nightmare for opposing offenses. He got to the quarterback and stuffed running backs at an extremely high rate throughout the 2019 season. Gross-Matos forced a total of 85 yards-lost throughout his final season with Penn State.

When he wasn’t making the plays on his own, No. 99 made life easy for the other Wild Dogs thanks to how many double-teams he demands from opposing offensive lines.

Gross-Matos is an NFL-ready prospect who will likely be taken among some of the top defensive players in this year’s draft. Don’t be surprised if he makes an immediate impact on a team’s defensive line.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a sophomore majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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