In the third of many Arizona Cardinals NFL draft profiles, we look at edge rusher Chase Winovich, a leader and productive edge rusher for the stout 2018 Michigan Wolverines defense.
Alongside adding offensive weapons to whoever is playing quarterback in 2018, the Arizona Cardinals could undoubtedly stand to use some edge rushers. If they decide to not draft Ohio State’s Nick Bosa with the first pick, the Cardinals could look to their foe in Michigan, specifically, Chase Winovich.
Winovich would be a nice fit alongside Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs. While he does need to work on some aspects of his game, Winovich was a 6-3, 256-lb problem for the opposition in the Big 10 as he tallied 21 sacks, 36 quarterback hits, and 80 hurries while with at Michigan, per Pro Football Focus.
At the 2019 NFL Combine, Winovich posted some solid numbers, including a 1.57-second 10-yard-split time, and 6.94-second three-cone-drill performance — .31 second better than the average. His 4.59 40-yard-dash performance was also rather impressive.
While watching his tape, one of the most notable traits to Winovich’s game is his technique while rushing the quarterback. He has uncanny ability to knock down offensive lineman’s hands quickly and cleanly. His bend while careening the edge, and outstanding technique are more developed than other pass-rushers in the ’19 class.
Because he was so successful while rushing the passer, Winovich posted some outstanding advanced statistics while donning blue and yellow. His Pro Football Focus grade finished at a 90.2, which puts him in the likes of Nick Bosa and Josh Allen. In terms of pass rushing efficiency, Winovich ranks 22nd in the class with a 9.2 grade, and 13th in snaps per inside pressure with 17.3, per Pro Football Focus.
But Winovich isn’t just a productive pass rusher. In terms of run defense, he has excellent gap control and is quick to the ball. Per Pro Football Focus, he ranks second in run stop percentage with 11.8% rate. During his 2018 campaign, he tallied a total of 40 solo tackles (98 in his career) along with ten assisted tackles (31 in his career).
However, there are doubts with Winovich’s game. He isn’t an explosive athlete, and will not be the guy to overpower linemen, as he wins a bull-rush once in 115 snaps, per Pro Football Focus, which is 100th out of 115 eligible edge rushers. Although he did perform well at the combine, Winovich’s burst and power off the first step will need to be improved once he gets to the next level.
For the Arizona Cardinals, Winovich would be an excellent prospect to groom under Jones and Suggs as an edge rusher isn’t the top need for the team. Winovich could certainly use a year as a redshirt player for the Cardinals, but with a little work, Vance Joseph could have an ideal outside linebacker for the 3-4 that plays hard every single snap.
Final verdict: Chase Winovich can be a ‘diamond in the rough’ prospect if he does add to his already developed game. But, he is a developmental prospect, so I see him as a third to fourth round pick. The Arizona Cardinals would be wise to give him a look.
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