Statistically speaking, the play of LeVar Fisher (NC State) dropped off dramatically as a Senior but in watching him against Maryland, commentators noted he carried a knee injury much of the season and was playing through the pain, something that will stand him in good stead with NFL teams. I mentioned previously about him playing deeper than in previous seasons and it was noticeable here that at times he not only lined up inside on occasion, but actually was directly behind the MLB way off the line of scrimmage! He is very impressive in coverage, picking up backs man-to-man easily and also picking off a deflected pass (INT ruled out by an off-sides so doesn't show on his stats). He is shorter than ideal though and was thrown over a couple of times when dropping into the throwing lane downfield in his zone (has a 31" vertical so can't make up for his lack of height). He also showed that he could diagnose quickly against the run, play off of or avoid blocks and was impressive in his pursuit down the line. The big downside for me was that he missed too many tackles including one in the backfield on 3rd and 1 – his coach says he ducks his head and misses because of it – and that is something he will have to work on if he is to be more reliable in the NFL. He never blitzed at all in this game but his stats say he can rush the passer. I get the feeling that teams watching him play as a junior will have come away a lot more impressed (my draftnik friend certainly liked him as a junior more) and I have no doubt that he's a solid 2nd round choice, maybe even for the Giants. It wouldn't even surprise me if he were the 2nd LB taken overall in the draft.
Raonall Smith (Washington State) stood out from the crowd athletically at the Combine but had I not known that before watching him play against UCLA I'd never know he was highly-rated! Despite his team playing a very aggressive scheme to stop the run he made no plays at or behind the line of scrimmage against the run, got cut down repeatedly by cut blocks on the edge and only flashed his speed on occasion when heading out to the flanks free of a blocker. He can definitely cover an RB out of the backfield and he closes ground in a hurry but mostly he looked slow to diagnose and wasn't too aggressive in his attempts to get to the ball. He blitzed a few times but was picked up too easily, his straight-line charges easy to plan for and he showed neither the strength to beat the block or the change of direction required to run around it. He may go in the late 2nd or early 3rd round based on his workout but I'd be disappointed if he were drafted by the Giants as I don't think he will be much better than Dhani Jones.
I was really looking forward to watching Will Witherspoon (Georgia) play but he missed the game against Tennessee with a knee injury, played very sparingly the following week against Florida and seemed to be a starter in name only against Boston College so there really wasn't much to go on. He was only in on the first few series against Florida making an immediate impression with his speed off the corner on a few blitzes, deflecting the first pass play of the game and knocking down the QB on the next. Also shed a block beautifully to make a tackle off tackle on the second series but then I never saw him again. I've seen Georgia 3 times this year and he's hardly played but looks a solid player when he does. I wish I could see more! He could be a nice surprise for a team in the 5th round and if the Giants don't try to grab an immediate starter for WLB, he could prove a huge upgrade on ST's and as depth while he waits his chance and gets bigger while working on his coverage technique.