Photo of Jihad Ward
Drafted By: Raiders
  • Round 2
  • Pick 13
  • Overall 44

Combine Results

5.67 ?
  • 5.11 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 20 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 25.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 111.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.38 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.63 SEC
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"He's a better story than a football player right now. He has huge upside because he's really raw." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'5" Height
  • 33 7/8" Arm Length
  • 297LBS. Weight
  • 9 3/8" Hands


Considering that Jihad (pronounced juh-HODD) Ward went from receiver/safety to the defensive line during his time in junior college, the sky's the limit once he really knows what to do with his size and strength. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by league coaches (51 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four fumble recoveries) in his first season with the Illini, playing inside and outside and using his huge wingspan to swallow ball carriers. Ward, who wears jersey number 17 because that was his mother’s age when he was born, didn’t have the same production as a senior (3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks) but still earned honorable mention notice due to his strong play.

Pro Day Results

40-yard dash: 5.07 seconds
Vertical: 28 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 2 inches
Short shuttle: 4.86 seconds
3-cone drill: 7.3 seconds
Bench: 22 reps of 225 pounds



Can play both end spots and has bumped down inside to tackle as well. Has room for even more muscle on his frame. Great effort throughout the play and will continue his chase until whistle blows. Length and down­-the­-line quickness give him expanded playmaking range. Urgent closing burst to the ball. Full force tackler with thump behind his pads. Keeps feet moving and active throughout his pass rush. Can become a quality edge-­setter with a little lower pad level. Has some pass rush reps showing ankle flexion to turn corner at 45-degree angle. Won’t let tight ends punk him. Better pick man than twister in tackle/end and end/tackle twists. Traits are there and teams likely to be patient with his development.


Has tools to set a harder edge but isn't there yet. Inconsistent contact balance. Lays on blocks longer than he should. Needs to keep working on controlling the rep with better hand work. Long legs get caught up in trash around the line of scrimmage. Below average at protecting against cut blocks. Instincts very much a work in progress. Could use nasty glass­-eater mentality at point of attack. Doesn’t flash the mean to impose his will. Not a natural counter puncher as pass rusher once initial try is stuffed. Won't always accelerate into contact as pass rusher limiting his power potential.

Draft Projection

Rounds 2 or 3

Bottom Line

Above average athleticism for a man his size and he has the effort level that should lead to continued improvement in the areas where he is deficient. Ward is a developmental prospect who has the size to fit as a 4-­3 base end or defensive tackle and as a 3­-4 defensive end. Is he mean enough to play inside though? He might need a position coach to draw that out of him while he continues to develop.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster