2020 NFL Draft Profile: Colorado State DE Jalen Bates
After a year in Fort Collins, the Rams defensive end will hope to earn a shot at the next level.
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Can Bates find a niche?
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Long on potential, short on production. How does the NFL answer that question?
It seems to differ from athlete to athlete, but that’s the quandry in which Colorado State defensive end Jalen Bates finds himself. After a stint at Arizona State, his graduate transfer campaign with the Rams in 2019 didn’t quite go as anyone had imagined but he remains a physical marvel with a fair bit of intrigue. Will NFL teams be willing to give him a shot?
Height – 6′ 4″
Weight – 266 pounds
Wingspan – 84 1/2″
Arm Length – 35 1/2″
Hand Size – 10 5/8″
40-Yard Dash – 4.86 seconds
Vertical Jump – 37 1/2″
Broad Jump – 127″
3-Cone Drill – 7.64 seconds
Bench Press – 24 reps
What’s most interesting about Bates is that, compared to other edge rushing prospects in this year’s class, he is definitely a physical standout. When compared to players who participated in the NFL Combine, only three had bigger hands and no one had longer arms or, at least according to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, a bigger wingspan.
The biggest concern is what you might call the Rashan Gary Problem: How do you reconcile physical gifts with a lack of production? Despite playing 30 total games in college, Bates managed just two sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss (including just 2.5 TFL with the Rams last fall). NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein points to a lackluster base and lower half as potential culprits, while Brugler makes note of “tight hips”. In other words, there’s a lot of projectability, but a lot of work to be done.
With such a rangy frame at his disposal, it’s hard to imagine that the NFL will overlook Bates entirely. Unfortunately, I think there are enough questions here that it’s unlikely he gets drafted. Who knows, though? It isn’t inconceivable that he follows the Shaq Barrett career path.