The Carolina Panthers owned one of the league’s best overall defenses in the 2013 NFL season, but also owned one of the league’s more ferocious pass rushes tallying 60 sacks on the season. That defensive line is about to get even more disgusting with the addition of second round pick DE Kony Ealy.
Ealy, whom was thought to be a mid to late first round pick, lasted until the 28th pick in the second round where Carolina decided to pull the trigger on the stud pass rusher. While his size is definitely intriguing at 6-foot-4, 273 pounds, his stock took a dip due to an unspectacular showing at the NFL Scouting Combine where he ran a 4.9 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times.
Ealy has the ability to become a dominant pass rusher, however, and definitely fits the mold of what Carolina desires in their stud pass rushers. Ealy has a very similar skill set to Carolina DEs Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, both of whom are incredibly athletic as pass rushers but also defend the run quite well.
Ealy definitely needs some work, however. The stud pass rusher needs to work on his technique in staying much lower and getting much stronger in the weight room to handle the double and potential triple teams he may face at times in the pros. If Ealy can keep his speed off the edge and get much stronger he could definitely be a force for this Carolina defense.
Ealy will likely be competing with DEs Frank Alexander, Mario Addison, Wes Horton and Craig Roh for the opportunity to back up what may be the league’s best pass rushing duo in Hardy and Johnson. Due to Ealy’s upside and ability, he should have no issues winning that battle and becoming Carolina’s go-to back up to spell both Hardy and Johnson from time to time.
Ealy may not have an immediate impact such as a Chris Long or a Jadeveon Clowney, but Ealy definitely has the ability to work in to the rotation as a rookie and become a dominant force for years to come on this Carolina defense.