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Merrick, New Yor
Jonathan Welsh, DE+OLB, Wisconsin
Height: 6:03.1 Weight: 233
Overview: Jonathan Welsh is a smart, instinctive edge rusher with excellent quickness off the snap. His lack of size will probably see him shift to outside linebacker at the pro level, but he has the speed and agility to make the possible switch. The two-year starter was part of one of the top defensive lines in college football that also featured Anttaj Hawthorne and Jason Jefferson. Welsh was an All-State and two-time All-District choice as a linebacker at Booker T. Washington (Houston, Tex.) High. He only played football in his last two years, but still recorded 88 tackles with 21 sacks. He also lettered in basketball and ran cross-country for the track team. Welsh sat out the 2000 season at Wisconsin, but played in nine games, starting twice, as a defensive end in 2001. He posted 21 tackles (11 solo) with a pair of sacks and three stops for losses. In 2002, he appeared in every game as a reserve at right end, registering 32 tackles (18 solo) with a 9-yard sack, three stops behind the line of scrimmage and a forced fumble. Welsh garnered Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2003, his first year as the starting right end. He recorded 50 tackles (19 solo), eight sacks, 11.5 stops for losses, five pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, despite playing since late September with a partially torn meniscus in his right knee vs. Illinois. In 2004, his production dropped off considerably. The coaches say it was because of an ankle sprain suffered in the seventh game vs. Purdue, but his game totals were dismal vs. Central Florida (one solo tackle), Nevada-Las Vegas (two assists), Penn State (two tackles), Illinois (three hits) and Ohio State (one solo stop) before then. He finished the season with 31 tackles (18 solo), two sacks and 5.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. In 48 games, he totaled 134 tackles (66 solo), 13 sacks for minus-101 yards, 23 stops for losses of 117 yards, six pressures, a fumble recovery, three forced fumbles and three pass deflections.
Analysis: PositivesWelsh is a two-year starter who is an undersized defensive end and may be better suited to play outside linebacker at the pro level. As a 230-pound defensive end, he lacked not only bulk, but also the strength needed to face up to the offensive linemen. He has adequate strength in the weight room, but because of poor hand placement and size issues, he was constantly getting washed out of the play at the line of scrimmage. Welsh knows that even if he moves to linebacker in the NFL, he is going to have to increase his bulk and strength. Welsh is an instinctive edge rusher who can flush the quarterback out of the pocket when he takes a clear lane to the passer. He is a quick athlete, who has good balance, flexibility, agility along with good quickness, change of direction agility and playing speed. He is a solid competitor who plays with good pursuit effort despite his lack of size and play strength. He plays with above average instincts, awareness and recognition. Welsh has good closing speed and lateral agility to make plays in space. When lined up vs. the slower offensive tackles, he does a nice job of dipping his shoulder and slipping past the block. His problems occur when he has to step up and take on the lead block, as he will get stonewalled and rocked back on his heels. Against the run, he lacks the bulk and strength to hold the point of attack and is just adequate defending his edge. He is an upfield, one-gap style of bull rusher who has to be unblocked to be productive, but shows good effort. He is easily overmatched when put on an offensive tackle, but has some backside production with good lateral movement, if given a free lane. Welsh is usually stymied in any attempts to defend vs. the inside run, as he fails to provide any type of anchor and is easily turned. Welsh gets run over quite a bit taking on a pulling offensive guard on the edge and he appears conscious of his lack of playing strength, as he will usually try to step around the block. Against the pass, he has decent initial quickness and will flash good suddenness, but lacks the size to be an edge rusher. He is more of a finesse guy who uses his athletic ability and quickness to play off and around blocks. He has long arms and uses them to keep his distance and work to redirect off blocks. He is not used much in pass coverage, but shows the lateral agility and burst out of his backpedal to stay on the hip of a receiver through the routes. He handles the switch-off effortlessly and has the vision to see plays developing in front of him. Welsh flashes ability to drop and has the agility to play in space. For a player with 48 games under his belt, you would hope for better production than 134 tackles. Welsh is simply not big enough or strong enough to play on the defensive line. Unless he is moved to linebacker, he will soon find that only the Arena or Canadian Football Leagues will have a home for a 230-pound down lineman. He lacks a great first step to be a top-end pass rusher but is a good finesse style of player who may improve.
Agility tests: 4.66 in the 40-yard dash...360-pound bench press...515-pound squat...315-pound power clean...39.5-inch vertical jump...33 3/8-inch arm length...10 1/8-inch hands... Ambidextrous...18/49 Wonderlic score.
High school: Attended Booket T. Washington (Houston, Tex.) High, playing football in his last two years for coach Joel North. ... Chosen to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Top-100 All-State squad and was a two-time, first-team All-District pick. ... Captain of the football team, making a career-high 88 tackles as a senior. ... Had 21 career sacks. ... Lettered in football, basketball and cross country. ... Listed in the Who's Who Among American High School Students. ... Ranked in the top 10 percent of his class academically.
Personal: Business major...Son of Elizabeth Welsh...Born 6/9/82. ... Resides in Houston, Texas.
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