2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Baylor DL Siaki Ika

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling Baylor DL Siaki Ika

#62 Siaki Ika, DL, Baylor (Senior) – 6040, 358lb

Senior Bowl Invite

Measurements

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Siaki Ika 6’4, 358lb N/A N/A N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
N/A N/A

Pros

— Enormous human being that has a large, stout frame
— Possesses great strength and power to overwhelm single blockers upfront
— Has deceptive athleticism as a gap penetrator and pass rusher to work around and through blocks
— Prototypical A-gap defender that can hold his own at the point of attack
— Does a great job occupying double teams to allow LBs to run free to the ball
— Utilizes a swim move and push/pull move to shed blocks in pursuit of the football
— Has a violent club/rip move to throw offensive linemen off their base
— Has a strong long arm to bench press linemen backward
— Has impressive strength and power to walk back single blockers with relative ease
— Can collapse the pocket from the interior against single blocks as well as double teams
— Has moments of finesse as a pass rusher, quickly working off blocks as the lineman flashes his hands

Cons

— Lack of explosiveness and speed show up in pursuit of the football
— Doesn’t have the lateral movement skills to adjust quickly in space in pursuit of ballcarriers
— Motor noticeably starts to slow down when asked to play a higher number of snaps, particularly against the pass
— Should look to drop weight to improve mobility and ability to pursue the football
— Will allow his shoulders to get too far forward his feet, leading to lack of balance
— Can have issues getting off blocks if he doesn’t get hands on the blocker first
— Tends to panic as a pass rusher when the first move fails
— Will likely be on a snap count and need to get rotated in to remain effective
— Can get tall at times when facing double teams, leading to him getting stood up or pushed off his spot

Bio

— Senior prospect from Salt Lake City, UT
— Health, kinesiology and leisure studies major
— A four-star prospect that invited to the All-American Bowl and Polynesian Bowl
— Committed to LSU and was a part of the National Championship team in 2019
— Enrolled early in the spring and played in 13 games at nose tackle as a true freshman in 2019, recording 17 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss
— Played in four games for the Tigers in 2020 before entering transfer portal, notching five total tackles, a TFL, and a sack
— Left LSU to follow his DC Dave Aranda to Baylor and was named Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2021, posting 24 total stops (17 solo), six TFLs, 3.5 sacks, and a PBU
— Played in 12 games with 11 starts at nose tackle in 2022, recording 24 total stops (10 solo), two TFLs, and two PBUs
— 2022 All-America Third Team (Phil Steele), 2022 All-Big 12 First Team, 2021 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year, 2021 All-Big 12 Second Team, 2021 All-Big 12 First Team

Tape Breakdown

Siaki Ika started his college career with the LSU Tigers back in 2019, winning the National Championship in his first season with the team. Despite seeing action as a true freshman, Ika decided to transfer to Baylor after entering the transfer portal, following his former DC who took the head coaching job with the Bears. The move proved to be a fruitful one for Ika as the gargantuan defender enjoyed two strong seasons with the Bears before entering his name into this year’s draft class.

Siaki Ika is a rare breed of football player. Stepping off the bus, Ika would intimidate most opposing teams thanks to his 6’4, 358lb frame. However, when you plug in the tape on Ika, you see a “dancing bear” of sorts as Mike Mayock used to say as Ika’s movement skills relative to his size are quite impressive. For instance, watch this rep against West Virginia where Ika schools the RG on the snap, swimming over his outside shoulder as he quickly closes ground into the backfield and slams the QB into the ground.

While having decent movement skills, Ika’s game is built on his sheer size and strength at the point of attack. He is what you look for in an A-gap defender, having the size and frame to command double-team blocks and allow linebackers to run free to the ball. Ika’s strength and power allow him to push the pocket as well as you see on this play against BYU where he works through the double team block between the C and LG and forces the QB to flee the pocket.

When he doesn’t get double-teamed, Ika can overwhelm single blockers on a regular basis. Watch this rep against the Cougars and Ika drive back the OL with a powerful long arm, shedding the block to get in on the stop.

Here is a great example of Ika fighting pressure down the LOS as Iowa State tries to get him to flow away from the cutback lane. Ika long-arms the LG by his shoulder pad and quickly stops in the gap to engulf the runner who is immediately stopped on contact, resulting in no gain.

Ika has strong, violent hands that can toss a grown man with relative ease. You saw the clip above against Ole Miss of him rag dolling a blocker and here is another example against the Cyclones on the goal line where Ika chucks the center aside and runs through the left arm of the RG, pressuring the QB to throw the ball early, resulting in an incompletion.

While normally being a defender that occupies gaps for the second-level defender to run free to the ball, Ika has no problem making plays for himself against the run. Watch this rep where he extends his arm against the RG and works off the block to stop the runner in the gap, driving him to the ground for no gain.

However, when watching Ika’s game, there are a few issues that stand out. He noticeably gets gassed having to play a high number of snaps, resulting in his motor waning as the game goes on. His technique also can get shaky as he gets tired as he will tend to play over his toes with his pads, leaning into blocks like we see on this rep against BYU, generating hardly any push while getting knocked backward.

Ika also has an issue of getting too tall against double teams at times, resulting in him losing leverage upfront at the LOS. Here against Iowa State, we see Ika stand up shortly after the snap, getting driven back on a short-yardage situation where the Cyclones pick up the first down.

While Ika is a good athlete for his size, he does lack the ideal lateral movement skills and ability in pursuit you would like to see from an interior defensive lineman. For example, watch how Ika wins almost instantly against the LG with a swim move, but can’t adjust to #5 Bijan Robinson cutting to the right, running just outside of Ika’s grasp. His size and length make it difficult for Ika to change directions quickly, leading to missed opportunities in the backfield.

Conclusion

Overall, Siaki Ika is what you look for in a run-stopping nose tackle. His massive size and frame make him a chore to move off his spot for most double teams and nearly impossible to displace for any singular OL tasked with the job. He can sit in gaps, or he can penetrate himself, having several moves like the swim, long arm, and club/rip to get off blocks and cause disruption in the backfield. While a good athlete relative to his size, Ika could stand to drop 10-15lb to become more agile in the open field and as a run-and-chase defender which would also aid in his conditioning to stay on the field more than just the first two downs.

Many will look at Ika’s measurables and immediately compare him to Vita Vea of the Buccaneers, but Vea is far better of an athlete. When watching Ika, former Miami Dolphin Paul Soliai came to mind as a good pro comp for Ika as Soliai also is a giant interior defender (6’4, 345lb) that did his best work as a run defender, but also has deceptive athleticism for his size which made in a capable pass rusher. He only notched 11 sacks in his ten-year NFL career, but his combination of size, strength, and movement skills made him one of the better interior run defenders during his time in the league, having the strength to command double teams and overwhelm single blockers like Ika.

Soliai hovered around the 50% snap mark for a majority of his NFL career which would be the hope for Ika at the next level. He’s never going to pad the stat sheet in sacks, but he has shown the skill set to rush the passer while being a stout run defender which will make the linebackers’ lives behind him much easier. The Steelers desperately need to address defensive line with Tyson Alualu, Larry Ogunjobi, and Chris Wormley all slated to hit free agency. Should they want to bolster the trenches and improve their run defense, Ika may be the team’s best choice for an interior run plugger in this draft class.

Projection: Early Day Two

Depot Draft Grade: 8.4 – Future Quality Starter (2nd Round)

Games Watched: vs at BYU (2022), at Iowa State (2022), at Texas (2022) vs Ole Miss (2021)

Previous 2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles
OL O’Cyrus Torrence LB Jack Campbell WR Zay Flowers WR Parker Washington
DL Bryan Breese DT Jalen Carter OT Darnell Wright CB Joey Porter Jr.
DT Jalen Carter
To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!