Every year, several great prospects go undrafted, all to the delight of teams that find these hidden gems. One gem, in particular, may shine brighter than the rest: Ronheen Bingham.
Arkansas State’s Bingham was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Sun Belt at the conclusion of his senior campaign. The Red Wolf racked up 14 sacks in his two seasons to go along with 26.5 tackles for loss. He led the conference in both categories in 2018
The Case for Ronheen Bingham
The 6’2, 241-pound EDGE is versatile and relentless, thrashing even the best offensive lines with relative ease. He even went head-to-head with Alabama OT Jonah Williams, a projected first rounder, and came out victorious.
Though listed as an EDGE, Bingham has said he is comfortable shifting back to a standup OLB position as well and may have to do so if he wants a shot at the next level. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in tenacity and effort.
Bingham likely would have been a no-brainer in the late rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, but in his final game, he went down with a torn MCL early in the Arizona Bowl.
Now, Bingham is hoping to hear his name called to join the greatest football league in the world.
As his Twitter moniker notes, he loves hugging quarterbacks. As previously stated, he led the Sun Belt in both sacks and tackles for loss in 2018, terrorizing defenses every step of the way. Though the Sun Belt and the NFL are (obviously) vastly different, his speed, quickness, and explosiveness will translate well to the next level. He’s got raw talent, determination, hustle, and an elite burst off the line.
He is one of the best pure pass rushers in the 2019 NFL Draft. Full stop. According to Pro Football Focus, Bingham won 30.2 percent of his opportunities as a rusher, second only to projected top-five pick Nick Bosa of Ohio State. He also received the second-highest pass rush grade for the entire 2018 season with a score of 94.0. That was second to Josh Allen (94.4) and one spot ahead of Bosa (91.8).
His size and injury will be the two biggest red flags during the draft process. The injury barred him from participating at the NFL combine, while his size has been a concern from the start.
As a pure pass rusher, Bingham operates best at the DE position, but his lack of size could push him back to a LB spot. For the overwhelming majority of his collegiate career, he operated on the line. There is some evidence that he can be as disruptive at the second level, but not enough to be sold on the idea. This could cause him to be relegated to a situational pass rusher instead of an every-down player.
— I LOVE HUGGING QB???# إن شاء الله? (@SmileUBless) April 24, 2019
Speculation on where he would have gone without the injury is rather pointless. In reality, The Draft Network has Bingham listed as the 281st player on their big board, and the 29th-ranked pass rusher in the 2019 class. With just 254 total selections in the draft, the numbers suggest he will be a UDFA at the end of the weekend.
Some projections have him as a mid- to late-third day selection, falling into the sixth or seventh round.
Though Bingham may not be the most well-known EDGE in the 2019 Draft, his heart and passion for what he does are unmatched. He overcame his size disadvantage and thrashed his competition all the way to a DPOY award in the Sun Belt. He is a great man on and off the field, and if given a chance, he could very well become a solid NFL player.
All he needs is a chance to fail.
Below is an exclusive interview I got with Bingham on “Under Review with Chase and Nico”, a weekly sports show on Red Wolf Radio at Arkansas State University.
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