Ross Blacklock Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Effective interior pass-rusher
Quick at the point of attack
Closes on quarterbacks in a hurry
Uses hands and feet at same time
Ability to shed blocks
Generally strong at the point of attack
Solid run defender
Carries weight well
Has durability concerns
Already had a torn Achilles
Plays too high
Playing high loses height and speed
Summary: Entering the 2019 season, Blacklock was not a top prospect after he missed his 2018 season with a torn Achilles. Blacklock, however, broke out in 2019 with 40 tackles with 3.5 sacks. He flashed a little bit as a freshman totaling 27 tackles and two sacks. While the junior could have used more developmental time in college, he decided to skip his senior year and enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
For the next level, Blacklock has three-down starting potential. It can be hard to find interior defenders with pass-rush skills, and Blacklock has them. He has quickness off the snap and the athleticism to adjust in the short area. Blacklock can fire his gap to get upfield and penetrate the backfield. Due to his compact and thick build, offensive linemen struggle to tie up Blacklock, who has the functional strength to fight through blocks. With his size, strength and athleticism, Blacklock is a dangerous interior rusher who could contribute to a good pass-rushing unit in the NFL.
In the run game, Blacklock has strength and size at the point of attack to hold his ground. He shows the ability to get off blocks and get in on tackles with quickness and athleticism to make tackles outside of his gap.
Some team sources feel that Blacklock should have returned to school because he could use more development and experience. Considering he missed the 2018 season, that's understandable. One issue he needs to improve is playing too high. Blacklock has a tendency to stand up too high off the snap, and that lets offensive linemen get underneath his pads and control him. When Blacklock plays high, he loses his power and quickness. That could be seen at times in 2019, including against Iowa State, so he needs to significantly improve that for the NFL.
Some have projected Blacklock to be a first-round pick, and he could go late in the first round. Some team sources say they graded Blacklock on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft. They feel he is a bit of a 1-year wonder with some medical and injury concerns. Perhaps the team that likes him enough to draft him does it in the first round, but he should not fall out of the second round if he makes it to Day 2.
Player Comparison: Nick Fairley. Blacklock reminds me of a poor man's Fairley. Fairley (6-4, 308) and Blacklock are almost identical in size with quickness, athleticism, and an ability to contribute to the interior pass rush. Injury issues are also something both players have in common. If Blacklock improves, I could see him being similar to Fairley, but maybe not quite as good.