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Ole Miss at the 2020 NFL Draft: Josiah Coatney put weight on his frame and is ready to grow on the next level

An upfront “tweener” with a lot of upside.

Mississippi v Memphis Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Josiah Coatney - Interior Defensive Lineman / Defensive End

A four-star recruit out of high school, Josiah Coatney spent his freshman year at Holmes Community College under the father of current West Virginia linebackers coach Jeff Koonz. He was named a MACJC first team All-State selection after recording 46 tackles in his freshman season and transferred to Ole Miss in 2016.

Coatney redshirted in his first year on campus, but started 35 of 36 games on the defensive line in the following three years. He earned the starting job as a sophomore and had his most productive season by the numbers. The Georgia native recorded 65 tackles and eight tackles for loss as a sophomore and ranked third on the team in tackles both that season and as a junior. He led the defensive line in tackles as a senior and finished career with 174 total tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss. Coatney was a NFL Combine participant and played in the Reese’s Senior Bowl after the conclusion of the Ole Miss season.

Measurables:

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 308 pounds

Hand: 10”

Arm: 32 3/4”

NFL Combine Results:

40 Yard Dash: 5.21 seconds

Vertical Jump: 27 inches

Bench Press: 22 reps

Broad Jump: 99 inches

3 Cone Drill: 8.07 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.82 seconds

Positives:

Coatney possesses an ideal frame for an NFL defensive lineman and has experience playing a variety of positions. He has proven he can go keep with big blocks across from him, anywhere on the the line.

He has a powerful lower body and does a good job of extending out on his man to hold an edge against the run. Here against Texas Tech, Coatney patiently presses and follows the zone scheme, keeping his eyes on the ball carrier. When he sees that the run is coming his way, he uses his strong upper body to push off the block and get back inside to make the tackle.

One of Coatney’s best attributes is his vision. He does a good job of staying with the play, and doesn’t drop his head or fall for false reads. Once he recognizes where the ball is going, he is strong in one-on-one situations and fights through the offensive lineman’s attempt to lock his arms out on the inside pads.

On this play against Arkansas, he (lined up as the nose tackle) gets off the ball with a powerful bull rush and recognizes the play-action. Coatney uses an outside shoulder punch to catch the block off balance and drops his shoulder with a quick rip to fight through the extended arms. He blows by the pass protection, chases the quarterback out of the pocket and forces an uncomfortable throw.

In an instance where Coatney does get locked up, he is quick to get away from the block engagement with a quick (for his size) spin move that keeps him balanced and gets him right back in the play. Again lined up on the inside here, he gets pushed to the B-gap by the guard, and has the running back break through the A-gap past him. Once the ballcarrier is too far upfield, Coatney spins back to his right and is right back on the attack.

Perhaps Coatney’s best attribute is his high motor and hustle. His tackle production at Ole Miss is largely in part to his ability to rally from uncomfortable situations and keep effort to work back toward the ball.

This play against LSU shows his high-energy and quick recovery after he breaks into the backfield. Coatney is pushed off-balance and onto the turf, but he pops right back up and puts pressure on the quarterback. Being the soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick and Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow takes advantage of a weak second level, but it is Coatney that forces a broken play after he is seemingly out of the picture entirely.

He is a constant irritant for opposing offenses and difficult to force out of the play if it takes an extended amount of time to develop in the backfield.

Negatives:

Coatney has put on some pounds in his time at Ole Miss (don’t we all?), but it seems to have affected his speed and quickness. He came to Oxford in the 250 pound range, and he tipped the scales during the season at 325 pounds as a senior according to the school. That’s a lot of dadgum catfish, boys.

No matter the reason, weight or not, his most productive year came in 2017, which causes concerns as to consistency and growth. Coatney has trouble finding a base and staying sturdy against a powerful run block for someone of his stature. As a result, he will often get caught off balance or on the ground.

Lined up as the three-technique in a 3-4 system on this play, he gets off the ball slowly and is immediately stood up by the double team. He loses leverage and pushed out of the play.

As demonstrated there, Coatney doesn’t have the most explosive burst off the line and his ability to break down and step up as a tackler could use some work.

Bottom Line:

Coatney is someone who could play as an end or interior defensive lineman, which makes it difficult to guess how he will translate to the NFL. He isn’t a consistent winner at the point of contact, but his strength and adaptability makes him a prospect who could develop into an odd-front defensive end. He holds his own against sizable SEC opponents and if he gets with the right system, a coaching staff could work on slimming him down into a lean-muscled power body.

If a front office is willing to take the time to break down his mechanics and build him back up, he could prove valuable as a rotational guy primarily on rushing downs. He won’t have a significant drop off when he gets to the NFL, so if a team takes him this weekend, there is only room to grow. He will likely sign as an undrafted free agent, but should Coatney’s name come off the board this weekend it will be no earlier than the sixth round.