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Draft Breakdown

2021 NFL Draft Prospect: Elijah Ponder, DT, University of Cincinnati

Elijah Ponder Cincinnati
Cincinnati Bearcats defensive tackle Elijah Ponder went from an underrated 2 star prospect to a top tier pass rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Elijah Ponder was only a two star recruit out of high school. ESPN ranked Elijah as the 143rd best defensive end in the country. I know that must have pissed him off, because he has turned out to be one of the best defensive lineman in college football.

Ponder chose Cincinnati over Navy, Ohio and the Air Force. He is a pretty bright kid that recently earned his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

In 2016, his first year with the Bearcats, Ponder would redshirt. As a redshirt freshman, he was able to make his college debut against UConn in the season finale. That was a good opportunity for him and let him get a taste of college football.

NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

The 143rd best defensive end in the country from high school was able to play in 8 games in 2018. That is when we realized that Ponder was a lot better than what recruiters were saying. He only finished with 9 tackles but finished with a sack on limited plays.

Last season, Ponder started 14 games in the middle of the Bearcats defense and he earned First Team All-American Athletic Conference honors. He finished with 33 tackles including 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. I watched him straight up dominate the University of Central Florida. He finished the game with 2 sacks and 6 tackles, that is impressive for a 6030, 275 pounds.

NFL Draft Diamonds Scouting Notes:

Sometimes scouts get it wrong. Many high school recruiting sites got it wrong with Elijah Ponder. Hopefully they can admit that now that he is one of the best defensive tackles in the country. Ponder is a big boy at 6030 and 275 pounds with a high motor. He does a great job at getting after the quarterback. Overall I think this kid is a draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. – Damond Talbot, NFL Draft Diamonds, Owner

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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