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How IK Enemkpali Fits with the New York Jets

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How IK Enemkpali Fits with the New York Jets
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

After using most of their Day 3 resources on offensive talent (and rightly so), the Jets have invested another pick to solidify their linebacking corps with the addition of Louisiana Tech product IK Enemkpali.

Enemkpali is built like a bowling ball with a short, stock frame that is packed with muscle. He wins at the point of attack with strength, throwing offensive lineman aside with relative ease. 

Enemkpali is a highly competitive player and plays with an outstanding motor, never taking a play off. He is also known as a film junkie. He would bring an element of toughness and physicality to the position that few in this draft can match.

However, Enemkpali's enormous muscle mass may actually be a detriment to him on the field. He struggles to move laterally, making him very one-dimensional as a pass-rusher and vulnerable in coverage and when setting the edge against quicker running backs. 

His stiff hips make him a liability when running with tight ends as well, which makes him even more limited as a two-down run-stuffer—something the Jets already have in Calvin Pace. 

Players of Enemkpali's build and style are a dying breed—strength is stopping the run is now secondary to finesse and pass-rushing ability. The Jets likely brought on Enemkpali as much for his off-field character as his on-field skills. 

Eugene Tanner/Associated Press

Every player the Jets have brought in during the draft has been noted as a high-character player, and Enemkpali is no exception. Along with the rest of his rookie classmates, Enemkpali will set a tone with his physicality and attitude. 

Here is what NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki had to say about Emenkpali:

A strong, tenacious, tightly wound leverage-power rusher most ideally suited for a 3-4 outside linebacker role. Will require patience to develop. Has a high-collision special-teams temperament to contribute in coverage if he can learn to unlock his hips. Best chance will come in Blitzburgh.

Enemkpali will have to make the team through the special teams route, which is an area he could excel in. Toughness, strength and physicality is key for quality special teams play, and there is no question that he has all of those traits. 

If Enemkpali is ever going to earn a spot on the regular defense, he may be better suited to change positions to inside linebacker where he will not have to move in space. Being a cerebral player, he will be able to pick up an NFL defense quickly, making him an even better fit at "Mike" linebacker. 

Enemkpali is going to have to overcome a lot to make a career in the NFL, but the Jets are going to give him every chance possible to prove that character and toughness wins out over natural talent.

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