2023 NFL Draft
Pitt DT Calijah Kancey Dazzles Scouts With Absurd Testing Numbers
PITTSBURGH — Calijah Kancey has set the NFL world on fire since breaking the record for a defensive tackle 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which was previously held by former fellow Pitt DT Aaron Donald, but he may have just one-upped himself again on Wednesday.
Kancey ran an unreal 6.82 3-cone drill and combined it with a 4.33 short shuttle to stun scouts at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. The 3-cone would have set yet another NFL Combine record had Kancey registered that number in Indianapolis. In fact, it would not have been close. It would have been by an entire .25 seconds at the defensive tackle position, but Kancey is not a normal athlete at the position.
At 6-foot-1, 283 pounds, he is lighter than most, but his 30 5/8-inch arms are truly rare. However, so is his athleticism and his 33 1/2-inch vertical and 9-foot-4-inch broad jump give him elite explosiveness for the position, too. So, scouts could see Calijah Kancey as an outlier, but he is also one of the more talented players in the entire draft from an athleticism standpoint.
With 31 tackles (17 solo), 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in the 2022 season, despite playing in just 11 games, Kancey finished second in the ACC in tackles for loss and third in sacks as an interior defensive lineman — cementing himself as perhaps the top interior rusher in college football.
In his Pitt career, through just three seasons, Kancey recorded 91 tackles (52 solo), 34.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Kancey is not sweating the process and believes he can prove a lot of people right by being an outlier.
“I hear a lot about measurables and my size, but I’m always going out there to prove that wrong,” Kancey said. “You know, I’ve heard a lot of good things and I believe in myself. I can’t be like anyone else. I’m Calijah Kancey. I just have to believe in myself and what I can do out there.”
Still, there will be plenty of doubters. Where is the stock for Kancey now after an absurd testing day? That remains to be seen, but one thing that is true is that Kancey has not met with the Steelers and has no plans of doing so. That likely rules him out at 17 and even 32, as the Steelers do not seem to be targeting his type of defensive lineman. Regardless, plenty of teams are hot on Kancey’s trail.