Draftnik's Corner - DE Update #4

Surprisingly, the second workout of the highly rated Terrell Suggs (Arizona State) wasn't much better than his first.

Surprisingly, the second workout of the highly rated Terrell Suggs (Arizona State) wasn't much better than his first. Does the workout alone move him down the board or elevate the 2nd ranked player at the position, Jerome McDougle (Miami, Fla), above him? In my opinion ‘no' because what happens on the football field is of far greater importance than what happens in a workout environment wearing a T-shirt and shorts and he's a more dynamic player on the field than McDougle (who I like a great deal).

I got around to watching Suggs in action against Kansas State recently in the Bowl and it was apparent that his quickness off the ball, hand usage, aggressiveness and agility turning the corner were excellent. Playing both DE spots as well as a little ‘bandit', the Wildcats simply didn't have any lineman quick enough to handle him one-on-one and he overpowered the skill position players when the coaches foolishly tried to match speed with speed forgetting that he has good power too. I also was impressed with his maturity as a pass rusher, varying the speed of his initial charge to set his man up so they couldn't adjust to his quickness off the ball. Not just an outside rusher, he also showed a fine countermove, bursting up the field then using the OT's momentum to knock them off balance and swooping back inside to the QB. I've also seen a quick spin move in the past but he didn't need it here! At last count he had about 3 sacks (I lost track!) but there were countless pressures in addition to the sacks and he pretty much set up camp in the backfield at the start of the game and forgot to leave.

He still has to prove to me that he can handle the run straight at him as there were times when he was knocked down when kept inside but K-State don't have a conventional running game so it's hard to say how much he's improved in that area of his game. He did a pretty good job of avoiding low blocks, staying on his feet and playing down the line though but I wonder whether he'd have the same success against the outside run if asked to play in a more rigid scheme where he had to read run first rather than be given the license to get up the field after the passer before reacting to the run.

I think that in the very worse case scenario, he will be an impact pass rusher for the team that drafts him but that he struggles against the run. In an up-the-field type of scheme, he could be an absolute terror and comparisons to Simeon Rice (Tampa Bay) may not be that far off. Despite his less than sterling workouts, I'd sooner have a ‘player' than an ‘athlete' and he's clearly got ‘game'. Put it this way, if the Giants had a top 5 pick this year, he'd top my ‘most wanted' list because the Giants need a consistent pass rusher, be that at DE or DT. I can't see him making it out of the top 5 overall though the Arizona Cardinals must be crossing their fingers and praying that is the case as they sit 6th and would love to draft their local hero.

I got to see Chris Kelsay (Nebraska) playing for the Huskers almost by accident, borrowing the Oregon State v Pittsburgh Insight.com Bowl from a friend and finding Nebraska's clash with Mississippi in the Independence Bowl on the same tape! I lucked out as not only was Kelsay back to fitness from the groin injury that put him out of action for several weeks earlier in the season but he also had a very productive game from his LDE spot registering a pair of sacks and a pair of tackles for loss (both of which were on 3rd down) keeping his renowned motor running throughout (I don't remember him taking a breather when the defense was on the field).

For an average sized end, he generates surprising power on his bull-rush and was able to move back the 300lb OT he went head-to-head with most of the day – though he didn't shed that well to create separation – as well as beat him around the outside on the speed rush occasionally. He also showed the agility to redirect inside for a sack when the OT overplayed the speed rush up the field and a nice burst to the QB once free of contact.

Against the run was where I really wanted to se improvements in his game as he'd been mowed and rolled in a few games I saw of him as a junior but the Rebels weren't exactly the team to expose any weaknesses that remained, having one of the most pitiful rushing attacks I've seen all season. He showed enough quickness to get into the backfield and redirect outside down the line to make the stop on one short yardage play and played off the TE nicely to stop another short yardage attempt to his inside but Ole Miss didn't run the ball very often or very successfully so it was hard to tell whether he's still ‘road kill'.

I'm still don't consider him as good a prospect as former Husker DE's Grant Wistrom (Rams) and Mike Rucker (Panthers) were – though he's more consistent than the latter was in college – but I am convinced that he's both a better collegiate player and prospect than former team-mate Kyle Vanden Bosch (Cards). There is a chance that he will be available with the 25th pick but I don't think he would rate so highly on the Giants board that they would consider trading up more than a spot or two for him. If they want him, they may not have to go up much more than that anyway as Buffalo are thought to covet his skills and they pick 23rd overall. Personally, I'd pass on him as I think there will be better players at other positions when we come to pick whether we stay put or move up.

As expected, there really isn't a consensus of opinion on the overall draft rating of Cory Redding (Texas) with sites rating him at either end of the 2nd round. Personally, I don't like the fact that he is as capable of pulling a disappearing act for most of a game then flashing great ability on just a few plays so I've listed him in the late 2nd round area. He's not a selection I'd rejoice over if the Giants were to choose him as I don't think he has the dynamic abilities needed to play RDE and with Michael Strahan at LDE for a few years yet, I wouldn't want to spend that high a choice on a player who could leave as a free agent before he's solidified himself as a starter.

The consensus of opinion on Calvin Pace (Wake Forest) appears to be that he rates somewhere between the very end of the 2nd round and the mid-3rd round. From pen portraits I've read of him, he seems to be best suited to LDE. As with Redding and others who look likely to play that position in the pro's, I'd pass on him as a rotation at RDE is more what I have in mind.


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