Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois #99

6006, 320, 5.22


Notes: From St. Louis, MO. Redshirted in 2014. Played in all 13 games, made 27 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery in 2015. Started all 11 games, recorded 48 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 PBU and 1 blocked kick in 2016. In 12 games, posted 57 tackles, 12 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 3 FF, 1 FR and rushed 3 times for 2 yards and 1 touchdown in 2017. Played in 11 games, made 72 tackles, 13 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR, had one carry as a goal line runner for a 1-yard touchdown and caught a 3-yard pass for another TD in 2018. His fiancée gave birth to a baby girl the week of the Senior Bowl.

Positives: Quick, powerful and athletic. Excellent first-step quickness. Wide power base and can hold the point of attack. Can control and play off blockers. Very strong arms. Good pass-rush technique. Gets upfield and penetrates the backfield. Plays with intensity. Has lined up in the backfield as a short-yardage fullback. Blocks, has carried the ball and caught passes.

Negatives: Lacks great long speed and change of direction. Looks like he could improve his body definition and overall conditioning.

Summary: Doesn’t sound that impressive on paper, but he stands out on the field. Strong, powerful, uniquely athletic and disruptive.

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