Ht: 6-1.5 Wt 192 40: 4.47
Year: 3Jr Number: 7
2002: Saw his first defensive action at Cincinnati and intercepted a pass in the end zone on his first play at cornerback. Finished the season with 24 tackles, 4 interceptions and 6 pass defenses.
2001: Played in 11 games at receiver and had five receptions. Averaged 16.4 yards per punt return on five returns.
The Good: Great talent that has the skills to be a shut down corner as well as help out when the ball is in his hands. Reads the action, displays good timing, anticipation and has a nice break on the ball. Quick footed, has a great burst to the play, displaying both closing and recovery speed. Gets up to make the athletic interception and also impacts as a return specialist.
The Bad: Must mature both physically and mentally. Gets hot and loses his temper during the game. Used at receiver on occasion but for the most part catches with his body and lacks soft, wide out hands.
The Skinny: Gamble is a prospect with a great future and a high upside for the next level if he focuses and learns to calm down. He would be effective in a variety of defensive schemes and will only get better in time. Warrants a first round selection should he enter April's draft and could go very high.
Full Name: Derrick Strait School: Oklahoma
Ht: 5-10.5 Wt 190 40: 4.47
Year: 5Sr Number: 2
2002: Thorpe Award semifinalist, consensus All-Big 12 first team. Started every game at corner and tied for the Oklahoma team lead with six interceptions for a total of 175 interception return yards.
2001: All-Big 12 Second Team (Associated Press), All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Big 12 Coaches) and emerged as one of the top cover corners in the country. Finished with 57 tackles, 3 interceptions and 12 pass defenses.
2000: Big 12 Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year, Freshman All-America and All-Big 12 third team. Started every game at right corner and finished the season with 62 tackles, two picks and 15 pass deflections.
The Good: Terrific cover corner with legitimate shutdown skills. Excellent athlete that easily runs down field with opponents, gets vertical and adjusts to the deep throw, making the pass deflection in contorted positions. Fluid transitioning off the line of scrimmage, displays solid hands going for the pick and works well with the safety. Smooth backpedal, quick breaking on the ball and positions himself nicely against the opponent to defend the pass. Good wherewithal, knows where opposing receivers are on the field and does not blow assignments. Solid special teams player.
The Bad: Falls asleep on occasion and gives up the big play. Losses out to bigger opponents and seemingly intimidated at times. Not overly aggressive and would rather hit than wrap-up ball carriers.
The Skinny: Possessing a lot of underlying cornerback skills, Strait has the size and abilities scouts want in an early pick at corner. While he needs more attention to detail to meet his uppermost level, Strait will be a quick starter and productive player at the next level should he attain the top rung.
Full Name: DeAngelo Hall School: Virginia Tech
Ht: 5-10.5 Wt 195 40: 4.35
Year: 3Jr Number: 4
2002: Started 10 games at cornerback and also returned punts. Ranked seventh in the nation in punt returns, averaging 16.0 yards per return, had a long of 71 yards and scored twice on returns. Posted 54 tackles, four interceptions, 12 passes broken up and a forced fumble. Posted the fastest forty time ever for a Tech football player with a spring timing of 4.15 on Tech's indoor track.
2001: Turned in the fastest 40-yard dash among the freshmen at 4.37 in preseason strength and conditioning testing , also bench pressed 300 pounds. Played in all 11 games, starting one and had 42 tackles on the year, three pass breakups and three interceptions.
The Good: Explosive athlete with game breaking speed and the abilities to impact the game on defense or special teams. Displays a great break on the pass as well as closing and recovery speed. Loses nothing transitioning off the line and stays step-for-step with opponents anywhere on the field. Works to break up the pass and gives effort in run support. Tremendous return skills and breaks the game wide open when the ball is in his hands. Competent as a receiver that cleanly catches the pass.
The Bad: Could improve his footwork and stay in the backpedal longer. Must be quicker picking up the action mentally as he's slow locating the ball in the air. Confident to the point of being arrogant.
The Skinny: Hall has been on a straight ride up draft boards with his play this season. His defensive game has improved in every area and Hall has become a lethal special teams player. Learning better corner technique, expect Hall to be a very early draft choice in the near future.
Full Name: Nathan Vasher School: Texas
Ht: 5-9.5 Wt 180 40: 4.49
Year: 4Sr Number: 3
2002: Played in 11 games and started 10 contests and a second-team All-Big 12 selection at cornerback. Also earned third-team all-conference honors at punt returner. Finished with 33 tackles, four interceptions, 15 pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Also returned 26 punts for 370 yards (14.2-yard average)
2001: Started all 13 games, including the Holiday Bowl, at strong safety and served as the team's punt returner. Second-team choice by the league's coaches after recording 56 tackles, tying a school record with seven interceptions and 18 pass breakups.
2000: Played in 11 games at cornerback, including the Holiday Bowl, and started three as a nickel back. Also a standout on the UT's special teams units.
The Good: Versatile defender productive as both a cover corner and safety. Tough, physical and likes to mix it up. Bumps opponents throughout the route, effectively uses his body to box out receivers then times pass defenses well. Effectively redirects to the action and displays good ball skills. Game has a good degree of explosion and he flashes on the scene. Adequately defends the run; takes good angles to the action and squares into the ball carrier, wrapping up. Effective returning punts. Hard hitting.
The Bad: Game does have a little hesitation to it. Lacks the great top end speed.
The Skinny: Needs to refine his overall techniques and skills but a good prospect that could help the team in a variety of ways. Not the athlete of former Texas Longhorn Quentin Jammer but a better defensive back.
Full Name: Marlin Jackson School: Michigan
Ht: 6-0 Wt 190 40: 4.38
Year: 3Jr Number: 3
2002: All-America second team, All-Big Ten first team and Jim Thorpe Award candidate. Started all 13 games at cornerback, setting both the single game and single season pass breakup records six and 18 respectively. Totaled 51 tackles with three interceptions.
2001: Played in 11 games as a true freshman and started seven contests. Led the team and tied for eighth in the Big Ten with three interceptions. Tied for second on the squad with seven pass defenses and was sixth with 47 tackles.
The Good: Athletic, playmaking defensive back with the abilities to immediately alter the tide of a game. Technically sound, stays in his backpedal and follows receivers out of their routes. Explosive break on the pass with a great move on the ball and possesses tremendous burst of closing speed. Easily runs downfield with opponents, displays top recovery speed and works well with safety's. Reads the play, fights hard to break up throws and supports the run.
The Bad: Gambles on the play, losing on occasion and gives up the long gainer. Several off-the-field issues have come to light recently. Not having the junior campaign expected or taking his game to the next level and as a result, dropping down boards.
The Skinny: It is fair to say Jackson has Charles Woodson type talent though he does not seem as focused as the former Wolverine. At the top of his game Jackson sits atop the cornerback charts and has the physical tools that warrant an early selection. Unfortunately his priorities have seemingly been out of joint lately and it is costing Jackson in the eyes of NFL scouts.