2017 NFL Draft

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Jonathan Welsh

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 245 | College: Wisconsin
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Welsh 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.

Injury Report

2003: Suffered a partially torn meniscus in his right knee vs. Illinois (9/27). He continued to play, but finally had to sit out the Minnesota contest (11/08) to let the injury heal.

2004: Suffered a severe ankle sprain after he had his leg bent backwards while making a sack of Kyle Orton in the second quarter vs. Purdue (10/16). He played, but saw limited action the next two weeks vs. Northwestern and Minnesota, but the injury would hamper him the rest of the season.


Business major … Son of Elizabeth Welsh … Born 6/9/82. … Resides in Houston, Texas.

High School

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.


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.


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