Getting pressure on the quarterback is one of the biggest priorities for any defense. The Dallas Cowboys have taken strides to assure they do just that with their free-agent additions along the defensive front. Six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy signed a three-year deal to be the team’s new starter at the 3-tech, replacing Maliek Collins who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. Right beside him, will be two-time Pro Bowler Dontari Poe, who played alongside McCoy in 2019 with the Carolina Panthers. However, the Cowboys still need help coming off the edge and Florida’s Jonathan Greenard is a mid-round option to consider.
Greenard started his collegiate career at Louisville where he would redshirt his freshman season in 2015. His redshirt freshman a year later saw him provide solid production in a reserved role as he totaled 22 tackles (seven tackles for loss), 2.5 sacks, two passes defended, and an interception, which he returned for a touchdown. He became a starter the next season and produced 48 tackles (15.5 tackles for loss, led team), seven sacks (tied for team lead), a pass defended, and a forced fumble. His 2018 season came to end in the first series of the first game vs Alabama when he dislocated his wrist. After announcing he would transfer at the end of the season, and taking extra courses to graduate early, Granard enrolled in January of 2019 at the University of Florida as a graduate transfer. He would shine in his only season a Gator as he registered 53 tackles (16 tackles for loss), 9.5 sacks, four passes defended, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery (returned for a touchdown), and an interception. He would receive first-team All-SEC honors.
Watch “Florida LB/DE Jonathan Greenard 2019 Highlights 🐊 ᴴᴰ” on YouTube
He isn’t the most polished pass rusher but Greenard does possess a non-stop motor and great bend to defeat blockers. He has good upper body power which allows him to get a good initial punch and set the edge. Four forced fumbles over his last two seasons showed he tackles with the intent to cause turnovers. Very physical at the point of attack and gets upfield quickly with his explosive first step.
Scouting report according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein
“Athletic, intelligent edge defender with enticing flashes as both a run defender and pass rusher. Greenard’s plus get-off and ability to bend and corner the edge are predictive traits for success as an NFL rusher but he’ll need a more reliable go-to counter like a pro. He’s tough and aware at the point of attack and plays with consistent leverage and motor. Edge defenders need forceful hands to set edges and open doors as a pass rusher and his hesitation to unleash his right hand after suffering a major wrist injury in 2018 is a concern. If his hesitation is more mental than physical, he should become an eventual starter in either an odd or even front.”
Greenard may not be the flashy pick like say Chase Young or K’Lavon Chaisson, but he’s definitely an underrated prospect to watch in the third or fourth round.