Carolina’s defense over the last few years has had some bright spots, but mostly there has been a lot of inconsistencies. Linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel was definitely one of the better defensive players on the team, and complimented former Tar Heel Chazz Surratt and Cedric Gray very well during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Now that his eligibility is up, he will focus his sights on the NFL Draft in hopes that a franchise in need of a defensive player will give him a chance to show what he’s got.
Let’s dive into who Gemmel is as a player, and where we think he could land in this draft.
Gemmel measures into the draft at 6’1 and 226 lbs. He finished his final season at Carolina with 44 solo tackles, 30 assisted tackles, 1.5 sacks, three passes defended a forced fumble, and an interception. His production suffered a little bit compared to his junior season, but he still ended 2021 as one of the best defenders on the team.
While he is a smaller linebacker, he makes up for it in his quickness, as he is able to play sideline to sideline without much of an issue. He also has good vision and discipline when playing the run, so he was rarely out of position when trying to make a play. Whether Jay Bateman dialed up zone or man coverage, Gemmel played smart, physical, disciplined defense, and whoever takes his spot for the 2022 will have some sizable shoes to fill.
Here’s where things get interesting: while Gemmel played his entire college career at the linebacker position, he would be undersized at that position in the NFL. Even weirder is that he isn’t a good candidate to play the safety spot either, so whoever drafts him will have to keep his body composition in mind and try to put him in the best position possible. Where that will be is anybody’s guess.
Another area of weakness for Gemmel is his ability to recover when being blocked, which is mostly a technique issue, but also has to do with his strength. He will have to stay in the weight room this summer if he wants to see playing time on the field, because the game only gets tougher in the NFL when taking on offensive linemen/tight ends. Both his strength and technique may give teams some pause when making their draft choice, but any team that thinks he’s a worthy project could develop him into someone who could get some minutes on game day.
Jeremiah Gemmel isn’t someone that is likely to enter the starting lineup, but he is a player that could come in and give some good production off of the bench. He always played hard and played smart during his time at Carolina, and with time he could develop into a guy that could make a franchise pretty happy.
The problem, however, is that I don’t actually know what his ceiling is, though it likely isn’t high enough for him to be drafted in the first few rounds. We may or may not hear Gemmel’s name called during the NFL Draft, but even if he lands on a practice squad, I have faith that he will get his moment down the road.