Kony Montoy Ealy (born December 21, 1991) is an American football defensive end for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Missouri and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

 

 

High school

Ealy attended New Madrid County Central in New Madrid, Missouri, where he was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track. In football, he notched 89 tackles, including 31 tackles for loss, and 10.5 quarterback sacks while adding 21 quarterback hurries in his junior season; on offense, he caught 22 passes for 501 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was a first-team All-state, All-conference, All-region and All-district selection as a senior, after he amassed 104 total tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, 31 quarterback pressures, 5 forced fumbles, 7 pass break ups, 4 blocked kicks. He was also a standout in basketball, where he earned All-state, and numerous All-district, All-region and All-conference honors.[2]

Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Ealy was rated as the 11th best weakside defensive end prospect of his class.[3]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
NameHometownHigh school / collegeHeightWeight40Commit date
Kony Ealy
DE
New Madrid, MissouriNew Madrid County Central High School6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)230 lb (100 kg)4.65Feb 3, 2010 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:   Rivals:   247Sports:    ESPN grade: 78
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 13 (DE)   Rivals: 11 (DE), 3 (MO)  ESPN: 49 (DE)
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

  • . Rivals.com. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  • . Scout.com. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  • . ESPN.com. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  • . Scout.com. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  • . Rivals.com. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 

College career

Ealy attended the University of Missouri from 2010 to 2013. In 2010, Ealy redshirted as a true freshman. In 2011, Ealy earned a back-up role, recording 13 tackles, one sack, and three tackles for loss in 12 games. He made his first career start at Baylor. During the Independence Bowl against North Carolina, Ealy recorded 2 tackles, including a half-tackle for loss. He was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. In 2012, he started 10 games for the Tigers, recording 37 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 7 pass break-ups, and 5 quarterback pressures. In 2013, he started all 14 games, setting a new career high in tackles with 43, tackles for loss with 14.5, and sacks with 9.5, while forcing three fumbles and intercepting one pass which he returned 49 yards for a touchdown against Indiana. For his play, Ealy was named to the first team All-SEC.

Ealy announced on January 3, 2014 that he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.[4]

Professional career

As a sophomore the year before, Ealy was given a third round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board, which is typically conservative when projecting the draft positions of underclassmen.[5][10] Following his breakout junior campaign, Ealy was a projected first round pick by numerous outlets, including the Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman,[7] with some projecting him as a potential top 10 selection.[8][9][10] His combination of length, athleticism, and versatility drew comparisons to players including Robert Quinn, Michael Bennett, and Chandler Jones.[9][2] Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones noted after the 2014 NFL Draft that had the Cowboys not traded the number 47 overall selection in a deal to move up to select Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, they would have used that pick to draft Ealy, whom they regarded as an immediate starter.[2]

Ealy was drafted in the second round with the 60th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Pre-draft measurables
HtWtArm lengthHand size40‑yd dash10-yd split20-yd split20‑ss3‑coneVert jumpBroadBP
6 ft 4 in
(1.93 m)
273 lb
(124 kg)
34 14 in
(0.87 m)
9 12 in
(0.24 m)
4.69 s1.69 s2.75 s4.45 s6.83 s32 in
(0.81 m)
10 ft 0 in
(3.05 m)
22 reps
All values from NFL Combine[2] or Missouri Pro Day[8]

Carolina Panthers

2014 season

On May 29, 2014, Ealy signed a four-year $3.55 million deal.[2] Per Pro Football Focus, Ealy was one of the highest-graded run defenders of the NFL in the preseason.[2] He made his NFL debut performance in week 2 when the Panthers defeated the Detroit Lions in a 24-7 victory.[2] In their week 8 matchup against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks, Ealy had his best game of the season with two solo tackles and the first sack of his NFL career against Russell Wilson.[2] In their week 14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ealy recorded his 2nd career NFL sack against Josh McCown. Ealy followed this up with another sack of Brian Hoyer during the Panthers week 15 win over the Cleveland Browns, beating Joe Thomas.[2] On December 23, 2014, Ealy was named to Sports Illustrated All-Rookie Team.[2] During the final game of the season, Ealy recorded a sack on Atlanta quarterback, Matt Ryan, recording a sack in each of the final three games of his rookie season. Over the final four games of the season, Ealy also recorded nine QB pressures to double his total over any other four game segment of his rookie season.[2] Ealy finished his rookie season with 12 tackles, 4 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. He was named to the Sports Illustrated All-Rookie Team of 2014.

2015 season

Ealy's development continued through the 2015 preseason where he recorded 2 sacks and was named a full-time starter opposite to Charles Johnson.[3] During the Panthers Week 2 victory over the Houston Texans, Ealy recorded his first quarterback pressure of the year.[3] During the Panthers week 4 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ealy recorded a career-high five tackles, 1 TFL, and a QB hit.[3] During the Panthers victory over the Indianopolis Colts during week 7, Ealy recorded his first strip sack of the season against quarterback Andrew Luck.[3] During the Panthers 37-29 victory over the Green Bay Packers that helped the Panthers move to 8-0 in the first time in franchise history, Ealy recorded a strip sack for the second consecutive week against quarterback Aaron Rodgers.[3] Ealy managed 10 quarterback pressures through six games, but recorded six over the last two games.[3] The following week, Ealy picked up a sack in his third straight game against Marcus Mariota during the Panthers 27-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans.[3] The next week, during the Panthers 44-16 victory over the Washington Redskins to move them to 10-0, Ealy had his fourth straight game with a sack of quarterback Kirk Cousins and on the same play, recorded a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.[3] During the Panthers 33-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Ealy recorded a sack in his 5th straight game.[3] During Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos, Ealy tied the Super Bowl record and set the Panthers' postseason record with three sacks, accomplishing this in only 23 total snaps. In addition, he recorded an interception and forced fumble in the game.[3] The Panthers lost the Super Bowl by a score of 24–10.[4] Ealy became the first player in Super Bowl history to have an interception and multiple sacks. He was the first player since 1993 to record multiple sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in a postseason game.[4] He tied both Reggie White and Darnell Dockett for the most sacks in a Super Bowl with three.

2016 season

In 2016, Ealy played all 16 games, but only started six. He recorded 32 tackles, five sacks, and one interception.

New England Patriots

On March 10, 2017, Ealy was traded to the New England Patriots along with a third-round draft pick in the 2017 NFL Draft in exchange for New England's 2017 second-round draft pick.[4][4][4] On August 26, 2017, Ealy was waived by the team.[4][4]

New York Jets

On August 27, 2017, Ealy was claimed off waivers by the New York Jets.[4]

Career statistics

Regular season

YearTeamGPGSTacklesInterceptionsFumbles
CombTotalAstSckSFTYPDefIntYdsAvgLngTDsFFFR
2014CAR15012844.00000----010
2015CAR1693215175.00200----032
2016CAR1663219135.003177.07020
Total471576423414.005177.07052

Playoffs

YearTeamGPGSTacklesInterceptionsFumbles
CombTotalAstSckSFTYPDefIntYdsAvgLngTDsFFFR
2014-15CAR204130000000000
2015-16CAR317433.00111919.019011
Total5111563.00111919.019011