The unique Kemoko Turay has a new NFL comparison that he won't mind hearing.
Greg Cosell, an analyst for ESPN's NFL Matchup, is reminded of Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue when he watches film of Turay. Both are new-age Big Ten alums, with Ngakoue starring at Maryland and Turay at Rutgers.
Nagkoue was a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft who has blossomed into one of the NFL's top pass-rushers. He has started 31 of 32 career games and made his first Pro Bowl in 2017 after registering 12 sacks and leading the NFL with six forced fumbles for a ferocious defensive line.
The comparison exists mostly in the skepticism of both players as every-down players. Cosell is "fascinated" by the 6-foot-5, 252-pound Turay, who played only one year of varsity football at Barringer High School and was an overlooked two-star recruit.
"He is not the same build (as Ngakoue)," Cosell told NJ Advance Media on a pre-NFL Draft teleconference, "but I think back a couple years ago to when Ngakoue came out of Maryland: I really liked him as a pass-rusher. A lot of people talked about him like he's not going to be a full-time player."
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Turay's most productive season in the box score was as a redshirt freshman in 2014, when he had 7.5 sacks and three blocked kicks en route to All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors. With freakish athleticism, he earned the nickname "Kemoko Dragon."
After two injury-plagued seasons took him off the radar, the savvy football analyst saw Turay had his best season as a redshirt senior because he was more involved in all aspects of the defense. He played against the run as well as the pass, and had a career-high 65 tackles.
"He is a really long kid. He's explosive," Cosell said. "You are going to hear people say, 'He is a little tight in his hips.' That's true of a lot of pass-rushers. We don't see as many benders as we used to."
While Turay could be used as a 4-3 defensive end, it is likely that his future is as a 3-4 stand-up rusher in the outside linebacker position. It's a reason he could be a fit for the Giants or the Jets.
Turay ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds and participated in position drills at the NFL Combine but tweaked his hamstring and did not participate in other timed tests. He sat out Rutgers Pro Day other than the bench press, but held his own private audition for scouts at the on-campus indoor facility on April 2.