The Dallas Cowbodys selected Jalen Jelks in the seventh round with the 241st pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Here is what the Cowboys are getting with the ProDuck and how Jelks fits the team’s needs.
TEAM NEEDS Dallas entered the NFL Draft knowing that the defensive line had to be the priority and starving for pass rushers. With Randy Gregory suspended, the Cowboys needed to find a complement to pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Jalen Jelks, a relentless edge rusher eager to improve, could be their guy. With his ability to use his length as a weapon in pursuit of the quarterback, Jelks could challenge for reps early in his career or become an every-down player with development.
YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW THAT Through his five seasons with Oregon, he experienced a Rose Bowl victory, a National Championship run, a 4-8 losing season, three different head coaches and three different defensive coordinators.
AT OREGON Jelks flourished in 2017 during a breakout junior campaign, setting career-highs with 59 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. As a senior, he switched from defensive end to linebacker and was a nightmare for Pac-12 offenses. Although his sack (3.5) and tackle for loss (7.5) numbers dipped, he finished the season with 57 tackles, which led all Pac-12 defensive linemen and earned him first-team all-conference recognition.
PRAISED FOR Jelks has the intangibles: the try hard attitude and a relentless fighter who exudes competitiveness and aggression. Reportedly, the former Duck was an engaging interviewee at the NFL combine. Multiple reports said NFL teams were impressed by his leadership and personality.
STRENGTHS Jelks is a versatile chess piece that lined up all over Oregon’s defensive front and has the length most GMs dream about. His wingspan measured in at 83 inches at the NFL Combine. His initial quickness and lateral twitch are impressive while his point of attack has proven to be disruptive. Skilled in hand-to-hand combat. He saw action at both linebacker and at defensive end at the Senior Bowl.
NEEDS TO WORK ON Some teams will struggle with where he fits from a position standpoint. He needs to add mass and strength to his long frame to withstand play in the NFL, as sometimes he tries to play more powerful than he’s capable of.
FUN FACT Would he rather be the Oregon Duck mascot for a day or sing and dance to “Shout” in the middle of Autzen Stadium with fans watching? “Definitely sing and dance in the middle of Autzen!”
BEST SOCIAL POST Can we all just appreciate the slow-motion video Jelks took of a dog going down a slide at a play ground? Social media needs more of this.
MEASUREABLES 6' 5", 256 LBS, 34 5/8” ARMS, 9 5/8” HANDS
HOMETOWN Phoenix, AZ
NFL COMPARISON George Selvie