Illini Inquirer's Jeremy Werner took some time to talk with Silver & Black Report about what the Raiders are getting with their second-round selection and defensive lineman Jihad Ward.
Werner on how Jihad Ward fits in with the Raiders defense:
Jihad is very versatile. Can play run-stuffing SDE in a 4-3, is best as a 3-4 five-technique end but also played inside on passing downs, and started the last few games at 4-3 three-technique. He fits perfectly for what you're talking about.
Jihad had a good year but didn't put up big sack numbers. I don't think he's a great pass rusher, more of a disruptor. He's at his best setting an edge and scraping down the line of scrimmage. He was dominant against Iowa. Watch that film.
Pros: Really athletic, huge frame, hard worker, high character, takes up a lot of space and can chase down the line of scrimmage really wellCons: Just scratching the surface, raw, only played DL for four years so far, not a great football player yet (needs technique work, more of a mean streak)
He has a high ceiling so in that way he's developmental but I do think he can contribute early in the rotation. Might need a year before becoming a starter but he's a quick learner.