by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Alabama, Defensive Line, Justin Eboigbe
Name- Justin Eboigbe
HT/WT- 6’5” 292 lbs.
Home – Forest Park, GA
Justin Eboigbe was tabbed a consensus 4-star prospect and one of the best players at any position in Georgia. He was selected to play in the 2019 Under Armour All-America Game. After 4 years of dominating the high school scene, Eboigbe selected Alabama over offers from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Miami and Tennessee.
He played in 10 games, with 2 starts during his freshman year for Alabama. He collected 10 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. During the 2020 season, he rotated in on the defensive line front and played in 13 games for the Crimson Tide and tallied 19 tackles and 1 interception while playing sparingly in the rotation.
His 2021 season mirrored his 2020 season when he once again played in 13 games rotating in and out on the defensive line and finished with 19 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries.
Last season, he redshirted after playing in 4 games before he suffered a neck injury and missed the rest of the 2022 season.
This season, Eboigbe has taken his game to a new level since being named a starter at defensive end. He has started all 12 games and has career highs in tackles with 57, tackles for loss with 10.5 and sacks with 6.
For a 292 lbs. player, he is light on his feet and moves well off the edge. He’s great off the snap and is violent with his hands to move an offensive lineman laterally in his pursuit of the ball. He is effective at cutting and changing direction and rotating which gaps he attacks. His versatility across the defensive line can only help him and his draft stock. He’s efficient and big enough to anchor up and take space as a nose tackle for the Crimson Tide in his freshman and sophomore years and has multiple moves, helping him get to the quarterback. He can be violent and go through the blocks or beat a blocker on the outside or through gaps. Eboigbe is always hustling and does not quit on a play.
Eboigbe can shoot off the line too upright at times, and his base widens to the point he can lose his balance, which effectively ruins his footwork and mechanics. He prefers directing his pass rush on the inside and rarely tries to beat blockers on the outside shoulder. Though he hustles and never quits, his closing speed is lacking and finds himself getting to the pile after the play has been made. Overall, Eboigbe has a “tweener” feel to him. Too big and slower for an edge, and not big enough to be a force in the middle. He lacks coverage skills and the footwork to effectively drop back off the edge and help out in a zone.
Karl Brooks, a 6th round draft pick out of Bowling Green in 2023, is a good pro comparison for Justin Eboigbe. Brooks was considered a versatile defensive lineman for the Falcons, and he was drafted by Green Bay with versatility in mind. He has lined up at defensive tackle as well as defensive end for the Packers and has filled in nicely when injuries have occurred. Eboigbe’s ceiling will most likely be a depth piece a team drafts who can work his way into the starting lineup.
Upper body strength
Outside pass rush
Justin Eboigbe is a versatile defensive lineman that a team will look at closely in the later rounds. He can play competently at the edge or in the middle and has enough pass rushing skills to make some plays. He should start out as depth but has the ability to one day in the future challenge for a starting job.
Draft 412 Projection- 6th round or 7th round