3 best Calijah Kancey landing spots for teams needing DT

NFL Mock Draft Calijah Kancey

Calijah Kancey, NFL Combine. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Calijah Kancey blew everyone away at the NFL Combine, now we’re looking at an NFL mock draft for possible fits that could maximize the Pitt defensive lineman.

Every year at the NFL Combine, we see players significantly raise their stock for the NFL Draft with the way they wow with their athletic testing. And even though we knew Pitt Panthers defensive lineman Calijah Kancey was a beast, what he did on Thursday at the Combine turned heads everywhere.

The Pittsburgh standout with 14.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons topped every defensive tackle in the 40-yard dash, the only test that he ran. But it was how he did that which had people buzzing.

Kancey ran the 40 in 4.67 seconds, the fastest time by a defensive tackle at the NFL Combine since 2003. Moreover, he started drawing comparisons to another Pitt defensive tackle, some guy named Aaron Donald, for his explosiveness.

This isn’t to say that Kancey is going to be a multi-time Defensive Player of the Year but, as another undersized but highly explosive interior lineman, he has a path to success. So if we’re doing an NFL mock draft for the Pitt product projected to be a late-first/early-second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, here are a few spots where he could land.

NFL mock draft: Calijah Kancey fit No. 3 – Dallas Cowboys

There isn’t a shortage of ways that the Dallas Cowboys could go in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft as they have the No. 26 overall pick. They need wide receiver help, cornerback is a need, safety is a perpetual place that could be addressed and so on. But another is that they continue to lack someone who can change games from the interior of the defensive line.

Osa Odighizuwa, a third-round pick in 2021, and Neville Gallimore, a third-rounder from the 2020 draft, have flashed at times, but they have not been consistent. That’s especially true when it comes to their pass-rushing prowess. Coincidentally, that’s an area where Calijah Kancey could make some noise.

Kancey might be undersized but he’s a well-versed pass-rusher. Some have compared him to former Bills first-round pick Ed Oliver because of his size and explosiveness, but the fact of the matter is that the Pittsburgh standout is a much better pass-rusher in terms of technique than Oliver was coming into the draft.

Putting Calijah Kancey in a Dan Quinn defense would be a ton of fun. We’ve seen Quinn have no issue with utilizing unique athletic talents like Micah Parsons in untraditional ways in order to maximize their physical gifts. Giving him a player with Kancey’s tools would be fun to see.

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