Position: Edge defender
Weight: 253 pounds
School: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds
Kemoko Turay 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Every year, there are draft prospects who get compartmentalized into the category of “raw” by talent evaluators. They possess many physical and athletic traits desired at the next level but might be a little rough around the edges. All it requires is that prospect getting in with a coaching staff capable of unlocking their untapped potential and molding them into impact pros. Kemoko Turay falls into this category.
The son of Guinean immigrants, Turay grew up in Newark, NJ and played just two seasons of high school football. But he proved a natural in creating havoc on the perimeter with his 19 sacks as a senior at Barringer High leading the state of New Jersey. Despite those exploits, his only Division I scholarship offer came from Rutgers. He subsequently committed to the Scarlet Knights ahead of his senior year way back in July of 2012.
After redshirting in 2013, Turay stepped right in and became a force on Rutgers’ defensive front. In the school’s first year as a member of the Big Ten, only six players in the conference finished with more sacks than his 7.5 on the season which also led the team. He added 8.5 tackles for loss and received FWAA Freshman All-American recognition as well as honorable mention notice from the league’s media.
Turay struggled to replicate those numbers during his sophomore and junior seasons in which he dealt with a shoulder injury. In that time, he registered just 12 tackles, five of which resulted in losses, to go along with four sacks. But he did collect his first career interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a win over Indiana in 2015. His final season in Piscataway represented a return to form, though. As a senior, he finished with a career-high 65 tackles in addition to a team-leading seven tackles for loss. The information technology and informatics major also won the team’s Academic Excellence Award in 2017.
- plus initial burst and lateral quickness to shoot gaps;
- gets hands on blockers early and uses them exceptionally well to separate;
- has the range and accelerative ability to snuff out moves to the perimeter;
- diagnoses and contains with impressive reactive athleticism;
- capable when dropping into coverage;
- able to disguise his stunt moves inside on delayed blitzes;
- a “moldable clay” kind of prospect with plenty of growth potential;
- possesses a high motor and plays to the whistle.
- thin build which might limit his scheme versatility;
- plays too upright when trying to create pressure from the edge;
- one-dimensional as a pass rusher and needs to expand his repertoire of moves;
- might only be suited to a 3-4 outside backer role;
- can get out-leveraged by bigger tackles when trying to convert speed to power;
- struggles with contact balance issues at times;
- leaves a lot of potential negative plays on the field due to over-pursuit;
- dealt with a recurrent shoulder issue in college that required surgery.
NFL Comparison: Frank Clark
Teams With Need at Position: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins
Projection: Late third to early fourth round
Turay began and ended his collegiate career on a high note. He impressed as a redshirt freshman before injuries limited his effectiveness, then finished strong in 2017. His performance during Senior Bowl week further enhanced his stock as a raw yet coachable prospect. Even though he’s a bit undersized, his quickness and determination more than make up for it. Turay’s best fit is likely in a 3-4 alignment as an outside linebacker which will leverage the strengths he brings to the table. Those strengths give him a higher ceiling than most developmental prospects and it’s why he could sneak into day two of the draft.