2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Pitt OLB Ejuan Price

We’re back again breaking down prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, set to kick off on April 27th through the 29th. Our goal this season is to write reports on at least 150 players and hopefully, as many as 200. It will, of course, have a focus on Pittsburgh Steelers’ wants and needs but we will look big-picture too at the best players in this year’s draft.

If there’s a player you would like us to breakdown, let us know in the comments below.

Ejuan Price/OLB Pittsburgh – 6’0 255

The Good

– Explosive first step, quick out of stance
– Shows hip/ankle flexibility around the edge, ability to corner and not get run up the arc
– Uses lack of height to advantage and able to rip under linemen
– Wins with a variety of moves (speed, rip, spin)
– Has a plan as a pass rusher and capable of reading OT and reacting based off his set
– First step allows him to one-gap and penetrate against the run
– Stastically gaudy career, dominant level of production

The Bad

– Lacks height and length
– Doesn’t have functional strength and struggles to produce much power
– Leg drive needs work as a pass rusher and is often unable to convert speed to power on bull rushes
– Gets stuck on tackles if he can’t win initially and becomes useless
– Unlikely to be able to two-gap and hold the point of attack, limiting role and potential
– Played with his hand down, little to no experience with hand up and dropping into coverage
– Length injury history for first three seasons of college

Bio

– Two year starter for the Panthers
– 2015 and 2016: 42.5 TFL, 24.5 sacks
– 2016: 23 TFL, 13 sacks
– Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC senior season
– 4th all-time in Pitt history in sacks
– Played linebacker freshmen year before moving to defensive end
– Suffered two chest injuries and a back injury from 2012 to 2014, missing 2012 and 2014 entirely while limiting himself to six games in 2013
– 2014 injury was torn left pectoral muscle
– Originally committed to Ohio State, part of same class as Ryan Shazier, but was granted release and joined Pitt
– Attended Woodland Hills (PA) High School
– Prefers to be called “Juan”

Tape Breakdown

Price was someone who garnered comparisons to Haason Reddick. In that, “if you liked 21 Jump Street, you’ll love 22 Jump Street.” Unfortunately, to me, I see more of a Die Hard vs A Good Day to Die Hard. Which is to say, one of those is really impressive and the other is nothing more than disappointing imitation.

On the good side, Price is an explosive player who should post a strong 10 split at this upcoming Combine. He wins with his quick first step and ability to bend the edge, using his lack of height to his advantage. Like here.

He can win in several ways as a pass rusher. He has an effective spin move that he’ll use if he can’t win with speed.

But if he can’t win immediately, he struggles to disengage. Hand use is inconsistent, again, can’t shed if tackles get their hands on him initially, and he lacks the strength/power to get away.

 

Price wasn’t asked to two-gap against the run very often, which is good, because he’ll struggle there. Lacks the functional strength to hold the point of attack and he’ll get pushed around at the next level.

On tape, I didn’t see any evidence of him playing with his hand up or dropping into coverage. He served as Pitt’s field side defensive end and had one job – go forward and get after the QB. That’s one key difference

Essentially, and you may have already figured this out, Price is a situational, third-and-long pass rusher. His ability to succeed is limited and reduces his value and upside. Don’t ask him anything to do other than get after the quarterback and even then, he’s going to go through hot and cold spells. He’s a quick and a smart pass rusher but he isn’t a good one in terms of strength, making it easy for tackles to plan for him.

There is some value there with Price and he’s a draftable candidate because hey, pass rushers get collected like pots of gold, but at best, he’s very much a situational piece.

Projection: Late Day Three (Late 5th-Mid 6th)

Games Watched: at North Carolina, vs Virginia Tech, at Miami (FL)

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge Kittle

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • falconsaftey43

    I think the 5th round is right about the spot for him. I think he is an excellent pass rusher. I’ve seen instances of an effective bull rush, but not consistently. He hasn’t dropped in coverage, but appears to have the athletic upside to do so without a problem. If you want to fall in love, watch the North Carolina game. I’d love him as a double dip OLB guy.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Where is he?

  • falconsaftey43

    #5.
    1st GIF LDE (from defensive perspective)
    2nd GIF LDE
    3rd GIF RDE
    4th GIF RDE

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    He’s fat

  • Ike Evans

    Hes deebo lite…..Kent state deebo…gonna have to buss his a** similarly to be as productive in the pros

  • steelburg

    I don’t know a ton about this guy but he has that James Harrison build to him I’m not a fan of drafting him based off what I know about him. But I wouldn’t mind making him a high priority UDFA if he doesn’t get drafted. That’s a ton of sack and TFL production in a solid conference. Alex I love the add of the actual round to the projection the late 5th, mid 6th that gives be a better idea rather then just the day.

  • falconsaftey43

    Alex, I’ve seen comparisons to Yannick Ngakoue from last years draft. What do you think of that comparison? Seems to fit, good finesse pass rusher, struggles holding POA, smaller, played hand in the dirt without much coverage experience. Ngakoue went top of the 3rd, and was extremely successful his rookie year (8 sacks). What do you see Price missing that holds him back from being the next Ngakoue?

  • Spencer Krick

    He’s I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes undrafted.a pretty productive pass rusher, but that’s all that’s really going for him.

    Could he carve out a spot on ST’s?

  • Spencer Krick

    Better length and no injury history?

  • Steelers12

    Joe Mathis is better

  • Aj Gentile

    He is but I just dont have any idea when he might go.

  • Steelers12

    im guessing late round 2 or mid 3

  • VinHuddle

    As a Heels fan…yeah I hate to say but you picked a great gm to use an example lol. I was gonna say the same thing about him being the 2nd olb with a 4th rd but after reading the article, 5-6th rd seems more accurate. Plus I dig that it looks as though he’s playing in shorts ha.

  • falconsaftey43

    Not sure what Price’s length will come in at, but Ngakoue has short arms at only 32.5″. Injury could be a factor for draft stock for sure.

  • Alex Kozora

    Nahhhh…nowhere near as strong.

  • Alex Kozora

    Hmm…he was a bit bigger, probably longer, more functional strength.

  • Boots

    Perhaps the best thing that could happen to him is to learn how to workout like a pro from Harrison

  • Spencer Krick

    That’s a good point about not knowing Price’s exact measurables yet. Another factor could be just how deep the Edge class is. Ngakoue might be a 4th-5th round prospect in this class.

  • Ike Evans

    Out of college? Disagree…..not as violent but i think price is prolly stronger then deebo out of college

  • Alex Kozora

    I mean, I don’t have any Deebo Kent State footage around the house, but I’d take that bet. And even if not, I don’t see him ever getting to anywhere near that point. That’s not how he wins.

  • LucasY59

    exactly as a later rd pick (where they have already taken a OLB earlier) they can let him develop (and James would be the perfect mentor) the only thing they would need is for him to show that he wants to put in the (HARD) work to (try and) become a similar player to Harrison)

    he has a similar body type, shorter but bendy and able to get under the OT, he has decent enough speed, he just needs to add some strength (again an area where James excels)

    I think he could be another later rd find that could turn into something special (lighting doesnt strike twice very often, but in this case I would take chance on Price for sure)

  • LucasY59

    combine could help clear it up, but you are right, I have seen projections from 2nd rd to undrafted so he really is a hard to figure out, his limited amount of playing time is has good production, but is a very small sample size, so I think unless he has a really good combine he is a 3rd-5th rd pick

  • LucasY59

    one of my favorite candidates to double up on OLB

    I think he has some potential to develop into a good NFL player, but what he did in college (as well as him being undersized) will make him be a later rd pick which should be good value

    I think if he is willing to work hard at developing as well as contribute on STs he could do well (especially since he could learn from a guy that did the exact same thing and became a great player, with Harrison, Price should have similar measurables to James when he was a rookie, so it should motivate him to try and become a similar NFL player, and James seems to be willing to work with the young guys especially if they are willing to put forth the effort)

  • Keith Evans

    decent pass rusher, not sure those spin moves are going to fool many elite tackles though? Looks to lack a bit of effort when the play isn’t to him.

    I wouldn’t want him below round 6.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    He is a typical late round OLB Steeler pick in my eyes. Very athletic but lacks the size and power. He seems like a guy you stash on the PS for a year or two and hope he develops into a good back up or hopefully a starting OLB. I do like his ability but no question he needs work. Did have him in my first mock.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I saw him do zero plays in space with the tape I watched on him

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I like both guys but Yannick is IMO a way better prospect at this time last year then Price.

  • Boots

    The strengths of this draft seem to fit our biggest needs this year and I believe we need to take advantage of that. Double dip at edge rusher and DB. I’d even be ok with two CB’s and a safety if the board fell that way. If we could secure the next four years or so at those positions I think it would go along way towards getting us over the hump.

  • LucasY59

    I have the same thoughts, and even if they draft one traditional player and one hybrid I would be ok with it, I think they need at least 5 defensive picks this yr

    last yr they picked Feeney who was a bit of a OLB/ILB hybrid, this yr it could be Reddick or Bowser that are similar to Feeney (but should be better)

    I think they could also get a DE hybrid a guy that is more of a edge rusher, but could maybe move inside (or stay outside) on sub package snaps (Tanoh Kpassagnon is the guy in this draft that could play in that role, Taco Charlton and DeMarcus Walker could as well, but not a good idea to use that early of a pick on position they have never used before)

    DBs this yr can be hybrids or at least have extra value if they can play in different roles

    a slot corner is a need for the team but a hybrid guy like Budda Baker could be a good pick since he can cover the slot, but could also be a deep safety that can roam centerfield, a guy like Cam Sutton (or maybe Des King) could possibly do the same

    or a true corner that is inside/outside capable like Jourdan Lewis or Tre White, both are good corners that have good enough cover skills to play either position (but are just a little undersized so slot/nickel is were they would do best, but still could play outside if needed for some snaps)

    or even a S/LB hybrid like Obi Melifonwu or Jabrill Peppers, can play in the box well enough that taking a guy that is suspect in coverage (like LT or VW) is not a liability against the run, having guys that are better at covering TEs would help the D a lot

  • thomas hmmmm

    He will be 6th or 7th due to his injury history.. Might not even get drafted at all. Personally after missing two entire seasons to injury in college if I were a GM I wouldn’t even draft him and would try to sign him as a UDFA.

  • thomas hmmmm

    JH would have him tearing his pectorial muscle again.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Price is 15 pounds heavier so he might be but Harrison still had better numbers than Price. Not just sacks but tackles and all around numbers.
    This guy is, as Tomlin would say “a one trick poney” and we all know how much Tomlin loves one trick ponies…
    He will not even be considered for drafting by Pitt.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Same thing I was thinking UDFA due to his injury history and one trick pony status.

  • Xclewsive

    was Harrison that strong out of Kent State?