Jared Verse’s rise from relative obscurity to the NFL draft stage has been nothing short of inspiring. He turned a no-star high school recruit into first-round hype with stellar performances this season. But is Florida State’s EDGE scouting report as advertised?
Jared Verse NFL Draft Profile
- Position: FRINGE
- School: state of Florida
- Current year: Redshirt sophomore
- Height Weight: 6’4″, 248 lbs
Verse was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, but attended Central Columbia High School in Pennsylvania. There he was a three-sport athlete, competing in basketball, track and, of course, football.
His highlight reel was filled with dunks and blocks as Verse cruised through the competition. Meanwhile, he won the state championship in the 4x400m relay and ran the 100m, 200m and 4x100m.
But what about football, you ask? Well, not much to say. As a senior, Verse caught 15 passes for 385 yards and recorded 14 tackles and three forced fumbles as a part-time defensive end.
Unsurprisingly, he was a non-star recruit with zero FBS offers; production and visibility were not there. Thus, Verse had to take his talents to Albany at the FCS level to continue his football career.
As a 6’4″, 205 pound tight end, the coaching staff had him redshirt his true rookie season to add bulk to his frame (roughly 40 pounds!) and make the transition to defensive end. And with COVID hitting next year, Verse had to wait until 2021 to play on the college stage — the wait was worth it.
He was named the CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year that spring and earned first-team All-CAA honors the following fall. In two seasons with the Great Danes, Verse produced 74 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, 15 QB hurries, two forced fumbles and one pass breakup.
To take his game to new heights, Verse entered the transfer portal… but he didn’t know how sought after he would be. Consensus Top Five Prospect. 30+ scholarship offers, including Texas, LSU and USC. Official visits to Houston, Syracuse, Tennessee and Florida State. And lots of phone notifications.
It was a lot for the young man, which required a break from social media. But after lengthy discussions with loved ones, coaches and players at his future home (Jermaine Johnson II and Keir Thomas), Verse announced his commitment to the Seminoles.
Jared Verse Scouting Report
It didn’t take long for Verse to hit the ground running in Tallahassee. Against LSU in Week 1, he generated two sacks, a blocked field goal and over a handful of QB pressures.
After the game, FSU defensive ends/special teams coach John Papuchis described Verse’s performance perfectly: “There should be no more questions about whether he’s capable of playing at this level.”
Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller also chimed in on the Verse love, declaring, “This is the best defensive lineman I’ve ever coached.”
But what makes the Florida State EDGE a valuable draft prospect and what can he do to further improve his stock?
Where verse wins
Outside of Alabama’s Will Anderson, there may not be an edge with a quicker first step than Verse. He is trained in acceleration, bursting, and overcoming offensive actions. And it does a great job of converting that speed into power.
Verse has the exit, pop on contact, and leg drive to get the OT to rush into the QB’s lap. But what makes him even more dangerous is his suddenness and ability to win on the outside. Few pass rushers can truly win with their arc and arc speed – Verse is one of them.
He lowers his hips into contact, gains leverage and uses his length to create space. Once in position, he only needs a few steps to win the outdoor track.
There are a plethora of plays where opponents almost trap him from getting to the QB.
With FSU leading the charge, Verse also flashed improved hand usage, utilizing chops, floats, rips and long arms. He looked more like a bull in the Albany china, breaking into the pocket by simply beating the opposition.
The Florida State EDGE has demonstrated the ability to string multiple moves together with active arms and legs. Moreover, he knows his strengths and plays with them. After dominating with his speed, Verse will threaten the outside before working the soft shoulder inside to create effortless pressure.
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In run defense, Verse can stun off-balance offensive linemen with heavy hands before throwing them aside to make a play. His exceptional lateral quickness allows him to shoot gaps and slip past multiple blockers right into the backfield.
And his fluidity provides the foundation for the quick flip side that Verse uses to match up with QBs and ball carriers once they beat his man.
In addition, he possesses the finishing burst and pursuit speed to track runners from the backside of the play and even downfield. Just watch him almost wrap up Syracuse RB Sean Tucker roughly 50 yards (!) from the line of scrimmage.
This game also shows the sheer effort that Verse brings down and down. He doesn’t start the playoffs and gives it his all until the whistle blows. As a result, it is not uncommon to see it create a second and even third push.
In addition, Verse provides experience on special teams as he has contributed to the punt return and field goal block units. And while Verse will be 23 during his rookie season (if he comes out this year), he’s relatively new to the position.
The Florida State EDGE played only part-time defensive end in high school and had just one full year of experience on the FCS scene. This is his first year in the FBS (Power Five) and the increase in competition has done nothing but showcase his otherworldly tools.
Areas for verse improvement
Youth is a double-edged sword for many prospects, and Verse is no different. With only two and a half seasons of experience on the D-line under his belt, there are many areas he needs to work on – chief among them his play recognition.
There are many plays where the FSU EDGE reacts late on read options, allowing teams to virtually shut him out of the game. And it can also take him a while to identify the ball handler and calculate his rushing lane.
Against the run, Verse can be overzealous, shooting upfield and playing into the offense’s hand instead of knocking down blocks. This leads to congestion and wide open lanes for runners.
And when the Florida State product gets downfield too quickly, he compounds the problem by straightening his shoulders inside instead of taking a disciplined stance.
As a pass rusher, Verse’s record is below average. While he tends to spin and fire around the arc, his lower body sometimes lags behind and can lose ground.
Even if he blasts a tackle with his bull rush, he can take too long to capitalize on it, giving his opponent time to reset their base.
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Another technical pain point for Verse is its solution. He often leaves his feet before securing the ball carrier and takes poor angles downhill.
His long arms offer a huge tackling surface and his short-yardage athleticism provides some room for error. But the Florida State EDGE needs to do a better job of spreading out and leveling his shoulders to the point of contact. But more pressing is Verse’s penchant for increasing pad levels. He can drift upright into contact, which offers more upper body surface area for the OT to block and stops his leg drive on energy bursts.
Work on his hand placement is also necessary as the FSU quarterback can be inconsistent in his initial placement and counters.
It’s also worth noting that Verse suffered a knee injury against Louisville earlier in the year when a hit from a teammate’s helmet caused it to bend inward. However, it seemed worse than it was as he put on a brace and didn’t miss a game.
Current Draft Projection for Florida State EDGE Jared Verse
Overall, many of the areas where Verse has improved stem from its rawness. He didn’t play much defensive end in high school, switching positions at an FCS program and is just now perfecting his technique.
This should be a scary proposition for offenses as one can only imagine the damage he could cause as a controlled and polished defender. And as a redshirt sophomore who doesn’t even have to report in 2023, he’s the type of package NFL teams pay Priority Express for.
If Verse continues his blistering pace to the finish line, he could hear his name called in the first round. In fact, there’s a chance he goes even higher than Jermaine Johnson did last cycle (26th overall).
With his bending ability, astounding rebounding power and insane output, Verse best projects with his hand(s) in the dirt as a defensive end. Because of its lighter frame and running issues, you won’t want it much further than above the implement. And when they line him up, it irritates his explosiveness off the line.
Yet Verse’s playing has a metrical rhythm that leaves the audience wanting more. And if he makes the jump to the NFL, he could walk through the first-round door and bolster the defensive corps of one lucky franchise. That is, of course, after he finishes his collegiate farewell tour.