With Bud Dupree’s departure in free agency, the Steelers will turn to TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith as their starters at the edge rusher positions. The team needs depth and rotational players in 2021, because Watt and Highsmith won’t be able to be on the field for every snap. The Steelers have shown some interest in edge rushing prospects during the pre-draft process. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert recently attended Florida State’s Pro Day where Josh Kaindoh flashed his athleticism.
Weight: 260 lbs
Class: Redshirt Junior
Age: years old
Kaindoh was a highly-rated defensive prospect coming out of high school, ranked among the Top 25 overall players in the nation in his class. He battled through injuries during his career in Tallahassee, including a season-ending leg injury in 2019. He tested very well athletically but that did not show up in production on the field, particularly in 2020 as he did not record a sack in any of his 8 starts.
Josh Kaindoh is a DE prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.47 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 72 out of 1330 DE from 1987 to 2021.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 22, 2021
14 tackles, 3 TFL, 0 sacks, 1 pass defended, 1 INT (returned for TD)
60 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1 forced fumbles, 2 passes defended, 1 INT
As one of the top-rated high school prospects in the nation, Kaindoh burst onto the scene as a freshman. He played in all 13 games and had 6.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Unfortunately, that would be a career high for him. He would follow that up with a sophomore season where he played in all 12 games but only had one start. He tallied 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. As a junior, he had an early-season leg injury on a chop block that ended his season and he was granted a medical redshirt. Kaindoh came back for his senior season and started all 8 games, tallying 3 tackles for loss but failing to register a sack.
Kaindoh is an athletic defensive end who has strong burst off the line. He gets upfield and into the backfield quickly off the edge. He has good power and can bully his way to the passer. Kaindoh displayed great work ethic to garner team honors in preseason camp to “smash the rock.”
Kaindoh’s play effort is inconsistent and he can be slow in pursuit when the play goes in the other direction. If his initial pass rush move does not work, he seems to get swallowed up and is slow to counter. His hands need work to take advantage of his length and frame. At times, he can get caught playing high and exposing his pads to the offensive lineman which can cause him to be locked out of the play.
This is not a great EDGE rushing class, and when in doubt it is better to bet on a highly-athletic but less productive college players (like Bud Dupree) than on highly productive but less-athletic players (like Jarvis Jones). That said, there are some concerns here with Kaindoh – including his lack of production after returning from his leg injury. The athletic testing looks good but it’s likely that he isn’t drafted until the later half of Day 3 or left as an undrafted free agent.
Final Grade: Late Round Pick – 6th/7th or UDFA
References: ESPN.com, seminoles.com