NFL Draft: Q&A with Boston College Defensive End Kasim Edebali
By Dan Dahlke
North Carolina State Wolfpack quarterback Pete Thomas (4) throws the ball in front of Boston College Eagles defensive lineman Connor Wujciak (90) and defensive end Kasim Edebali (91). Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2014 NFL Draft only a few months away, we reached out to some of the draft prospects we believe the Green Bay Packers could target in May. We’ve already heard from a couple of great defensive players this week, like Louisville’s Marcus Smith and Syracuse’s Jay Bromley, but today, we hear from German native and former Boston College defensive end, Kasim Edebali.
Edebali had an impressive 2013 season as a third-year starter in the Eagles defense. He not only earned All-ACC honors and was named co-captain of his team, but he also led Boston College in sacks (9.5), tackles for loss (14.5), and forced fumbles (3) as a senior.
Edebali not only brings strong leadership and a certain level of toughness to the field, but he is also an excellent pass rusher and a player on the rise heading into the draft.
At 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, Edebali has the prototypical size and speed (4.75) to transfer to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme at the next level. The German native can also set the edge well against the run and is a physical player that just leaves it all on the field when he plays.
Edebali is an underrated prospect as a DE/OLB hybrid player and could really be a steal for a team like the Packers looking to add another edge rusher to their defense in the draft come May.
To learn more about Edebali’s game and hear what he has to say about possibly playing in Green Bay, I reached out to him and he was gracious enough to take the time to answer my questions.
Boston College Eagles defensive end Kasim Edebali (91). Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Q. Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, and what got you into playing football?
KE: I grew up in Hamburg, Germany, as an only child with my mother, Nesrin. The biggest sport there was soccer, which I never really got into playing. I tried gymnastics, as well as martial arts, but with the rise of NFL European football in Germany, I decided to try it, and loved it. Since we don’t have high school sports in Germany, I joined the Hamburg Huskies football club.
Q. What led you to play for Boston College?
KE: In 2006, I was on the German National Team with current Colts defensive end, Bjoern Werner. Both of us earned a scholarship to go to an American boarding school in the Northeast where my coach suggested that I attend the high school camp at Boston College. Honestly, at the time I did not know much about college, but I was fortunate that Boston College offered me a full scholarship.
Q. You had a breakout senior season at Boston College, recording 67 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 15 TFL, and 3 forced fumbles in 2013. What does it mean to you to finish your college career in this manner, and how will you carryover this success to the NFL?
KE: It means a lot to me, although my playing was never driven by stats. I was just helping my team out wherever I could so we could win games. No matter what my team needs, I take the most pride in understanding my responsibility and devotion to them. This mindset will always continue with me to wherever I am given the opportunity to play football.
Arizona Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker (7) carries the ball past Boston College Eagles defensive end Kasim Edebali (91). Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Q. For those of us that haven’t seen you play, talk a little bit about your game. Are you a speed or power rusher? How would you define your game?
KE: Being only 6’2 and 245lbs, I try to play explosive, elusive, and fast. My defensive coordinator Don Brown always emphasized that the best way to solve problems as a pass rusher is with great get-off times. I took that to heart, especially in the pass game. I just tried to get off the ball as fast as possible and use my speed to get around big offensive tackles.
Q. What are some of your strengths as a pass rusher?
KE: My defensive line coach, Ben Albert, did technique work with us day in and day out. As important as getting off the ball is, he really demanded great technique and great hands, which I think are some of my biggest strengths.
Q. What else do you do well outside of getting after the quarterback?
KE: Besides rushing the passer, I try to just play with a high motor every play by chasing down ball carriers and, hopefully, causing a turnover.
North Carolina Tar Heels tailback A.J. Blue (15) drives past Boston College Eagles defensive end Kasim Edebali (91). Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports
Q. Considering your size, do you anticipate a move to outside linebacker in the NFL, specifically in a 3-4 scheme? Is this something you’ve been preparing for or feel you can excel at?
KE: I am aware of my size. However, whether it is standing up or playing down at the line of scrimmage, I am ready to accept my responsibility and play wherever the team wants me, and I’m ready to just focus on executing plays that I have to execute.
Q. With the college season over, what will the next few months look like for you leading up to the draft, and what parts of your game will you be working on before May?
KE: I think it is important for me to work on my coverage skills. Additionally, working in a space with good pad level and even better hips, as well as being able to rush the passer from a two-point stance. My experience in Martial Arts always helped with my hand speed. In general, I always work on my craft and try to be better at everything I do.
Q. The Packers will be looking for more pass rushers to add to their roster in the draft. How would you feel about being drafted by Green Bay this spring?
KE: I will be grateful to whoever gives me the opportunity to play for them. It has been my ultimate dream to play in the National Football League since I was just a little kid in Germany.
Boston College Eagles defensive end Kasim Edebali (91) wrestles Syracuse Orange quarterback Terrel Hunt (10) for the ball after he blocked a pass attempt. Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Q. What kind of player and teammate would they be getting?
KE: I simply try to be the hardest worker on and off the field. I want to connect with the city where I am able to play. I want to encourage kids that hard work will always pay off. No matter what position or what city, I plan on getting the job done wherever I am needed.
Q. The Packers do play a 3-4, so would you be willing to play upright as an outside linebacker in their scheme if they drafted you?
KE: I want to help any team that gives me the opportunity. I want to excel in every aspect.
Q. Who have been the most influential people in your life?
KE: Growing up with just my mother, she is by far the most influential person in my life. Even though she is over a thousand miles away, I never hesitate to seek advice from her.
Q. Were there any players you watched growing up that inspired you to play football?
KE: Like many other defensive players, I look up to the great Ray Lewis. I took to heart the message he imparted to young players. The main one being that you may not always be the biggest, fastest, or strongest player on the field, but with great effort comes great success. Ultimately, to never let anyone out work you, which is exactly the mindset that I have tried to make my own.
Boston College defensive end Kasim Edebali speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine. Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Q. Tell us a little bit more about yourself. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies?
KE: In the offseason I actually do the most random things that most of my teammates would never expect. I like to play piano, which doesn’t mean I’m really good at it, but definitely a fun getaway from sitting in the film room. I also enjoy the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, and usually join a local gym in the offseason and go box and wrestle.
That’s pretty much it. Obviously I always enjoy going back home to Germany. I like to help out my first head coach, Sebastian Schulz, and show and teach the complex schemes we play in the U.S. Most importantly though, I just love to visit my mother who I only get to see once a year.
Q. Anything else you’d like Packers fans to know about you?
KE: After living in New Hampshire for two years, and in Boston for five, I can truly say I learned to love cold weather. I’m just a passionate guy from Germany, who takes a lot of pride in giving all I got to the people who give me an opportunity to do so.
Career college stats
2013 – 68 tackles, 14 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 3 QB hurries, 5 PBUs, 3 FF, and 2 FR
2012 – 59 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 4 PBUs, and a FF
2011 – 27 tackles, QB hurry, and 5 PBUs
2010 – 13 tackles, 1.5 TFL, and a PBU
Film on Kasim Edebali
Kasim Edebali against Wake Forest: 4 tackles, .5 sack, and 2 QB hurries
Kasim Edebali against FSU: 5 tackles, 2.5 TFL, and 2 sacks
Watch more film on Kasim Edebali and other draft prospects at draftbreakdown.com.