BBWC Draftnik's Corner - DT Update #1

I had barely seen a few plays of DT Dewayne Robertson (Kentucky) his entire career so watched him very closely against LSU and came away extremely impressed.

In my first real study of Jimmy Kennedy (Penn State) against Ohio State he impressed me with his athletic abilities more so than with his play though he was by no means disappointing. Showed that he was comfortable at both DT spots but didn't play NT as far as I could see.

For a very big guy, he didn't appear to have great power (but he was up against a very nice OG prospect in junior Bryce Bishop most of the day) and the PSU defense seemed to call for their DL to hit gaps rather than take on control then shed blockers head up so he was using quickness most of the time. He did an awful lot of spinning on contact and left his back turned sometimes because of it on running plays when he wasn't that far from where the play was ran at. Made a few plays against the run inside, shedding blocks and then grabbing the RB easily. Mostly though, he wasn't ran at as the Buckeyes ran wide or at the other DT. Is very fast for a big guy (looked at least as fast as his DE colleagues!) and showed why he was the teams #2 tackler by making plays on the sideline with his great burst to the ball.

He also had a few good moments as a pass rusher, spinning off his man and then hitting the QB but wasn't able to get consistent pressure. My first impression is that he's a better athlete than player at this stage but his potential is immense because of his body control, agility and speed. I will be seeing him again in the near future against both Iowa and Auburn for further evaluation.

I had barely seen a few plays of DT Dewayne Robertson (Kentucky) his entire career so watched him very closely against LSU and came away extremely impressed. He lined up mostly at LDT but also saw some action at RDT and was frequently double-teamed when at LDT. LSU tried to run at him early but then started going off the opposite DT and around the ends after he quickly proved they were wasting their time! Showed a lot of power off the snap – could clearly see he moved the LOS backwards one-on-one with either Guard and was very impressive against the double team absorbing the blocks at the point of attack, holding his ground pretty well and making a few tackles. Drove him back a little when double-teamed pursuing down the line. Made plays a few yards downfield too. Primarily stayed on his feet but was cut a few times while going down the line. Consistently stood up blockers and shed them one-on-one. Made a few big stuffs on short yardage too.

I liked very much his ability to get after the passer too. He didn't get a sack but his closing speed to the QB when allowed to go free on screen passes was very impressive. LSU had a mobile QB and threw a lot from 2-step drops so he never had many opportunities to really rush the passer in the pocket too often but he still had four mighty whacks on the QB just destroying his man in pass protection when left one-on-one. He displayed a spin move in his reportoire as well as both inside and outside rush moves and the quickness to surprise his man. My first impression is that Joel Buschbaum (RIP) was right as he, not Kennedy, rates as the best DT prospect in the draft and he showed all the skills needed to fit into any style of defense which is a big plus point. I'll evaluate him further against Florida in the near future.

Jonathon Sullivan (Georgia) also impressed me with his play when I evaluated his progress against Florida. At times, he was simply unblockable against the run, once literally blowing through the OC at the snap to grab the QB while his back was still turned! He made some huge plays against the run, especially in the 3rd QTR forcing a fumble in the backfield and making a few other TFL's also as well as stuffing some short yardage plays and run defense is clearly his forte. Switched between the NT and RDT positions but also saw some time at LDT so has versatility, but he didn't see a lot of double teams (noted soph prospect David Pollack saw those) and he didn't get consistent pressure as a pass rusher, except when lined up over up the badly overmatched OC. I still have a number of Georgia tapes to watch (thanks BBC) so will have a much better idea on where he rates in a few weeks time.

A favourite of mine heading into the season, Jarrett Johnson (Alabama) has continued to impress me when viewing him in games against Hawaii and Tennessee Highly productive in both games, he beat whoever he lined up over routinely one-on-one in both contests, invading the backfield with regularity, making sacks and TFL's in both games, splitting the double team on pass plays at times and forcing the QB's to step up to avoid him even when he wasn't able to redirect his charge to take them down himself. Was a bit over-exuberant against Hawaii getting called for a pair of late hits on the QB but both seemed more than a little ticky-tacky. He didn't match up with noted Hawaii's OG prospect Vince Manuwai one-on-one too often as the OL was mainly asked to help out on the double team against him but he did generate a push on him too and split a block from him on a double-team to get a sack.

Johnson's biggest problem is that he gets neutralised too often against the double-team on running plays, lacking the natural size of the top guys this year and relying on his quickness, technique and a great spin move to shed blocks. That won't fit into every system and I can see the pitfalls of having him but he offers so much quickness and a desire to get in on every play that were the Giants able to grab a veteran run stuffer who could fill-in and help shut down the inside run I would be delighted with his selection. He definitely is one of the top pass rushers amongst the group, if not the best of them in that regard and he has the versatility to play both DT spots though he is primarily an NT in both the 4-3 and 3 man lines. I'll see him again shortly (Auburn and possibly Georgia) but I don't think he'll show me anything different in those games than he has over the last couple of years in other games. With a good combine and a run on DT's in the 1st round all but assured, I can see him being a top 40 choice.

In my second viewing of Kenny Peterson (Ohio State) this season against Penn State he didn't have a dominant game but made enough plays to show what he can contribute in the NFL and made a huge sack in the final 3 minutes that effectively won the game. He usually played DT but did move around a bit, aligned predominantly over the LG or C but he also played some RDE in both the 3-4 and 4-3 alignments and was at LDE in the 3-4 a few times also so versatility is not an issue! He didn't show the pure speed to beat the OT's around the outside or the strength to go through them so I can't see him projecting to DE in the Giants scheme but he was able to beat all of the interior linemen at one time or another both to get after the QB and also to stop the run. Hard chaser – could be seen racing to the sidelines and down field on more than one occasion to try to make the tackle. Also worked down the LOS to make a few tackles against the run from thew backside of the play. Was brought down a few times low but mostly stayed on his feet or got up quickly to chase. Took on the double teams but didn't really escape the blocks and played too high at times. I'll see more of him against Miami (Fla) and probably Illinois too before I'm ready to give him a final rating.

In contrast to the guys listed above, Rashad Moore (Tennessee) didn't strike me as a particularly good prospect in the action I saw of him against Alabama though I have seen some sites where he is rated as a first day pick. He never really got much playing time last year behind a pair of 1st round picks and my first impression of him is that he a big guy who can take on blocks at the LOS and hold his ground but he didn't strike me as being particularly quick or able to shed blocks easily. He also never really showed anything as a pass rusher and didn't flash any real quickness in space.

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