The Colts prospect interviews are rolling along as we approach the NFL Draft. Today’s player interview is Georgia Defensive End Jonathan Ledbetter. The Colts need more depth at the on the defensive line, and the energetic Ledbetter would be an excellent fit.
The interview will be towards the bottom of the page, as he interviewed exclusively with Stampede Blue to talk about playing for Kirby Smart, his Senior Bowl experience, and his go to pass rushing move.
6’3” 280 pounds with 34.5 inch arms
40 Time: 5.14 / 10-yard split: 1.77 / Bench Reps: 22 Reps / Vertical Jump: 26.5 inches / Broad Jump: 108 inches / 3-Cone: 7.72 seconds
122 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in his college career.
Fit with the Colts:
Ledbetter is a not a star player who would come in and drastically change the Colts’ front four. What he is though is a versatile, hustle player who could provide quality depth on a young team. His best fit with the Colts would likely be as more of a defensive tackle who could occasionally play on the end in obvious rushing downs. His strength and hustle would make him a quality run defender and he could spell Margus Hunt and Denico Autry when they are due for a substitution. He is a solid football player who would be a very good fit in the Colts’ locker room.
Effort and hustle stand out immediately on film. He rarely gives up on plays and pursues relentlessly until every whistle.
Strong and heavy hands to control run defense at the point of attack. Drives lineman back at the snap.
Nagy hits the nail on the head here overall. High effort player with strong hands. Quality depth that could be found in the mid-rounds.
As a scout, I always placed great value on guys that practiced hard because it’s good indicator of how much they love football. Last year, @FootballUGA DE #13 Jonathan Ledbetter (@LedbetterDE15) stood out with physicality and hustle. Heavy-handled and versatile DL prospect. pic.twitter.com/tUMdO3Nsq8— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) October 13, 2018
ZH: Before we get to your on field play, you were named Team Captain before this final year. How did it feel to receive that honor?
JL: Honestly that’s like the biggest honor you can get being a Georgia football player. Just cool to not only be picked by your coaches but by your peers. That speaks volumes by what they think of you and how the team dynamic works so that is one of my greatest accolades and I’m forever grateful for them just allowing me to lead them into the final stretch of the season.
ZH: You played for one of the better coaches in college football in Kirby Smart. What was it like playing for him at Georgia?
JL: He knows ball man. He’s a ball coach and he’s defensive oriented. On the defensive side of the ball, he’s with us and he’s running with us everyday. He’s not just going to let the positional coaches coach, he’s going to chip in and make sure everybody is on their P’s and Q’s all the way from the main coaches to the grad assistants. He’s in the dline room, he’s in the linebacker’s room, he’s in the offensive line room and he’s coaching. He’s not just standing in the back. He is very hands on and he’s going to let a fire under you to produce and perform.
ZH: You were invited to the Senior Bowl this offseason after an excellent final season. How was that entire experience for you?
JL: It was a blessing man. Jim Nagy let me know that I got my invite and came to see me at practice a few times to look at my work ethic and stuff like that and he was excited to have me on board and I was excited to be a part of it man. A lot of guys want to be invited to the Senior Bowl just because it gives them an opportunity to showcase their talents in one more game with the best of the best in college football. I was just fortunate enough to participate in that and then go out there and compete. That is the best thing man, just competing against the best of the best. You also get to do interviews with NFL teams and NFL coaches and knock it out early and it is kind of a refresher that prepares you for that stuff at the NFL Combine because it is pretty much the same thing except without a game.
ZH: What would you say is your go-to pass rushing move?
JL: The long arm stab man and really just locking that down then stepping through right after that. Just that long arm step through then stepping through and really just that long arm though. I’m a powerful guy and a lot of teams see me as a run stopper but when I’m allowed to pass rush, we were a run stop team first at Georgia, I was in on dime rush packages and I loved doing that man. Everybody loves getting after the QB.
ZH: That leads to my next question. You are a great run stuffer. What is the key to being so good in this area?
JL: It really has a lot to do with pre-snap indicators and knowing the backfield. Also striking, you have to make sure you are striking. You have to make sure you know your alignment and what gap alignment you are in. Are you one gap or two gap? Whether you are going to put your hands straight in his chest or one hand on his shoulder and one on his sternum you know. It comes down to just being powerful with your hands and exploding off and knocking back the lineman. Once you do that, you just gotta control your gap man and if you control your primary then you can move to your secondary.
ZH: The first thing that pops on your film is just your hustle and energy. Is that effort a thing you pride yourself in?
JL: 100%. That is the type of player I am, I am a hustle player. I grind and I want to hunt. That is just me, I’m bringing energy into your locker room with whatever team I’m on. That has been what I’ve been trying to tell these coaches and these scouts, I’m a guy who is going to grind no matter what. It can be one play I’m in or two plays I’m in or even special teams, every play I’m going to grind and I’m going to give you everything I got with all my effort.
ZH: Who was the toughest offensive lineman you had to face in your time at Georgia?
JL: In my time at Georgia, we had him on our team and that was Isaiah Wynn. He was the best offensive lineman that I’ve ever seen in my life. He was on my practice team and he made me better and we made each other better. He was a guy who was fundamentally sound but also worked to perfect his craft. That is just the type of player you want to be around and you want to work with. I’ve seen some great players though. There’s Jawaan Taylor from Florida. He’s physical and he’s fast and agile. Also Jonah Williams from Alabama. He’s fundamentally sound and he’s got a good first step back and he’s athletic and strong up top. Those are the worst type of lineman to face (laughs). Huge, agile, and quick.
ZH: Who in the NFL do you compare yourself most to/model your game after?
JL: I don’t really like to model my game after anyone. I just like to watch teams and watch good football. I don’t want to go to the NFL and be someone else. I want to be me. I want to go in and make my name and make my legacy. There’s molds and techniques that I watch people do, and some people do them better than others, so you just go to the best person. I study everybody across the board in order to be a successful player. If you do one thing well, I’ll study that one thing that you do well to see if I can do it better.
ZH: Final question for you. What is my team getting if they spend a draft pick on Jonathan Ledbetter?
JL: First of all, you are getting a leader. I think that is the most important thing. You are getting a person who is trustworthy and a hard worker. My work ethic is unmatched especially once I step on the field. You can see on film that I play with more effort than anybody else out there. There is not many people who put in that kind of effort, a lot of people say that success in the NFL is straight effort. There’s guys grinding in the league who fail on the first move or second move and they grind to get sacks for effort sacks and effort plays. That is what the NFL is about, bringing effort and energy and being explosive. I’m that type of player and that’s what I’ll bring to every locker room. I’m not afraid to speak up and be a leader.