Run Defense - Reliable edge setter and exchanges power with offensive tackles well. Plays with good leverage and extension to squeeze gaps and keep his pads clear. Has a good feel for processing run schemes and finding the football. Can stand to be more assertive as a backside defender.
Pass Rush - Sack machine in college but how much does his skill set translate? His rush is predicated on continuous efforts to find leverage points with his hands and power through angles and play through blocks. Converts speed to power well, snatches and loves to deploy a push-pull. Has modest burst and severe lack of flexibility. I don’t think he’ll be a big number sack guy in the NFL but for a scheme like New England’s where the goal is to suffocate the pocket around the quarterback then he’s a fit. 1v1 wins around the arc will be few and far between.
Burst - Has modest burst and he’s fairly fluid out of his stance. Does well to vary his tempo and stride length to help create rush angles. Won’t be confused as a speed rusher. Patient offensive tackles won’t be challenged to frame him on the edge.
Effort - Never gives bad effort but he certainly has a little something extra on long and late downs and short yardage. A bit lackadaisical in backside pursuit. Works hard to get off blocks as a rusher.
Hand Technique - Never stops working his hands and he plays with good extension to most effectively deploy his moves. Has an array of counters and chops. Highly effective snatching and executing a push-pull.
Flexibility - He’s tightly wound. Looks like his ankles are screwed on when he’s attempting to corner. Extra steps are required at the top of the arc to get around the offensive tackle. Rushes with good tilt but he folds in half when required to bend.
Processing - Block and play recognition look natural to him. Has no issues finding the football. Sound ability to read his blockers set and appropriately attack. Gap savvy run defender.
Play Strength - Functional strength is sound and it shows up when he’s defending the run and converting speed to power. Hands are heavy and he can bully blockers that allow him to get into their frame.
Versatility - Has appeal on run and pass downs from a three-point stance in an even front. Would never consider him stand up duties are ask him defend anything in space. Base 4-3 end exclusively.
BEST TRAIT - Hands
WORST TRAIT - Flexibility
RED FLAGS - None
The NCAA all-time leader in sacks, Ferguson projects as a base end in a 4-3 alignment. While Ferguson is effective with his hands and features good functional strength, his pass rushing upside is softened by modest burst and a severe lack of flexibility. Ferguson is a smart player, that diagnoses plays well and is a stout run defender. Expecting him to duplicate or even come close to his collegiate production is far too rich, but Ferguson can play a valuable role in an NFL defense by effectively defending the run and compromising the width of the pocket.
Round Grade - Fourth Round Value