Ronald Blair III
College: Appalachian State
Position: Defensive End
Height/Weight: 6'2", 284 lbs
Stat Highlights: 114 tackles, 32.0 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in two FBS seasons
The 2015 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Ronald Blair was recruited to Appalachian State back when the Mountaineers were an FCS and Southern Conference program. But in moving to FBS and the Sun Belt, Blair faced a new set of challenges on the field. Those challenges were met and expectations were exceeded as Blair became the top defensive lineman in the entire conference.
Blair burst onto national draft boards in the second week of the 2015 college season with a stand-out performance against eventual CFB Playoff runner-up Clemson. Blair racked up seven solo tackles, two of which for loss as well as two sacks against the high-powered Tigers' offense.
Blair can demonstrate great explosiveness off the edge and is an exceptional tackler in space. An ability to pursue runners to the outside, as demonstrated with seven solo tackles, three of which for loss against option-heavy Georgia Southern. Was able to show out on a big stage at Clemson against one of the best offensive lines in the country. Exceptionally strong, as showed with his 32 bench-press reps at the NFL Combine.
When moved inside on the defensive line, Blair has shown a difference set of skills and great football IQ to evade blockers and used his explosiveness to get to the QB.
Being 6'2" keeps Blair away from the first round and is the biggest question mark, as his hampers his ability to pass rush in the NFL. Blair's weight has fluctuated in the last few months, going from his playing weight of 270 last fall to 284 at the Combine, back down to 276 at App State Pro Day. His 5.15 40-yard dash didn't help, although it improved to 4.81 at Pro Day in front of 21 NFL scouts.
Being in a 3-4 Defense at App State worked well for Blair, but NFL teams will look at him to see if he can fit in a more conventional 4-3 alignment. Also, while his games against Clemson and Georgia Southern were stellar, many scouts will look down at the Sun Belt just on name value.
Where Will Blair Land?
While it seems unlikely he'll get as high as former Mountaineers Brian Quick, who was taken 33rd overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Rams, Blair is more likely to go on the second day of the draft, the second and third rounds. Blair could go as high as the late second, but the likely result will be in the third round. Dropping to the fourth isn't out of the question, but it would be a disappointment.