Height: 6027 | Weight: 314 | Arm: 33 3/4" | Hand: 10 3/4" | 40 Time: 5.25 | !0-Split: 1.79 | Bench: 30 


Ken Norton is a third-year starter at 1-technique in the Canes 4-3 defense and was considered one of the defense's leaders as a true junior in 2017. Norton often lined up over the center and was responsible for using his size and functional strength to clog up holes for his linebackers to operate in space, still managing to notch 18 TFLs and 5 sacks in 34 career games. After earning Third-Team All-ACC honors after 2016, Norton missed some time in the fall with an undisclosed injury but missed no playing time as a result and was placed on the Outland and Bednarik watch lists before the season started. 


Norton possesses good height, long 34" arms and enormous hands that allow him to operate through the trenches. Norton showcases very good explosion, lateral control, and coordination for his size and his athleticism and balance is validated by the fact that he very rarely ends up on the ground. Norton is a very strong player and his 30 reps on the bench at the Combine endorses they play strength he displays on tape.


As a 1-tech, Norton is a gap shooter who will try to use his agility to penetrate his rush lane versus try to run directly through a blocker with a bull rush. Norton uses his heavy, thumping hands to rip, stack, and shed to disengage from blocks and stuff the point of attack with urgency. Norton is a sudden swimmer and shows refined upper body technique for his age and experience, but if his pre-meditated pass rush plan gets stymied, he will struggle with counter moves to disengage. Because Norton attacks with a slanting, penetrating approach, he sacrifices his anchor positioning and can get washed out by aggressive double teams and get moved off of his point. Norton is a high-effort player who will run to the sideline to chase down runners on toss plays and plays through the whistle on every play. Norton shows good conditioning and stamina for his size, his enthusiasm and effectiveness becomes to wane as the game progresses and would be best suited to rotate more frequently at the next level. When he does get to the ball-carrier, Norton exhibits good aggression in his finishing ability and has the arm length and play strength to make arm tackles as well as envelope runners in the backfield. Norton will lose track of the football when rushing and has shown to hesitate on draws and zone read plays. Norton will occasionally use timing to try to jump the snap and can occasionally get flagged for offsides penalties.


Norton famously played Florida State QB James Blackmon's leg as an air guitar at the conclusion of a sack against Florida State this season and is a popular player in the Canes locker room. Norton is the son of former Pro Bowl LB and current Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., and his pedigree and discipline should come across to teams during individual meetings and interviews. Norton compares in body type and play style to former UCLA DT Kenny Clark due to his hand-fighting, technique, and ability to knife into gaps and add a pass rushing element from the 1-technique position. Norton would be most impactful in a  defense that runs a multiple 3-4/4-3 defensive front (such as new Green Bay DC Mike Pettine's) where he can apply his pass rush prowess, functional strength, and size to bolster a defensive line rotation and should hear his name called at some point on day three of the draft.


Overall Grade: 74

Athletic Ability: 4

Physical: 5

Play Strength: 6

Play Speed: 4

Competitive Toughness: 7

Bend: 2

Finesse Moves: 4

Power Moves: 4

Gap Control: 3

Anchor: 3

Pursuit: 4

Motor: 5

Hands/Technique: 5

Move Arsenal: 3

Tackling: 4

Playmaking: 3

Maturity: 5

Production: 3


Player Comparison: Kenny Clark

Projected Round: Round 5/6




For information on our grading criteria, click here.





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