Senior Bowl: Day 2 Defensive Stars

The North and South teams both have two practices under their belts at this juncture. Which players have stood out from their positional peers to catch the eyes of the scouts in attendance? We highlight nine defenders — three from each level of the defense — in this Day Two roundup.

Defensive Line

Quinton Coples- North Carolina

With Penn State's Devon Still not attending the Senior Bowl, Coples came in as perhaps the most highly touted of the participating defensive line prospects and he hasn't disappointed. During team drills, he caught Arizona QB Nick Foles from behind as he was releasing the ball. During individual drills, he showed great speed, good hands and hustle and a great spin move. He'll be a prime target for teams needing a defensive end in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

Melvin Ingram- South Carolina

If it's speed teams are looking for off the edge, Ingram has that to burn — which is why he's coveted by teams as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He caught scouts' eyes early, displayed an impressive swim move and sets up blockers one way and is too quick for them with a change of direction the other way.

Alameda Ta'amu- Washington

Certainly Alabama's Courtney Upshaw is one of the better players in the draft, whether he is considered an outside linebacker or defensive end, but if teams are looking for an interior lineman, further evaluation on Ta'amu (6-3, 341) might be needed. He didn't come in ranked very highly among defensive tackles, but he showed an ability during team drills to penetrate and push back the pocket, disrupting several plays. With many of the top defensive tackles in the draft not in Mobile, Ta'amu could take advantage of this week.


Bobby Wagnar- Utah State

Wagnar is a playmaker with a knack for being around the football. He showed that throughout his senior season and again thus far during Senior Bowl week. He is a three-down linebacker who can make plays vs. the run and the pass. He diagnoses plays fast and can quickly shed blocks to fill running lanes. He is equally aggressive against the pass, getting his hands on opposing players (inside the 5-yard limit) and redirecting them, disrupting the timing of several plays.

Lavonte David- Nebraska

David always had the speed -- now he's working on the size. Listed at 210 lbs. on the Senior Bowl roster, he weighed in at 225 lbs. during Monday's official weigh-ins. His goal is to get up to 233 by the NFL Combine. If he can do that while maintaining the speed he has showcased so far this week -- making plays from sideline to sideline -- he will be one of the most coveted inside linebackers in the draft.

Sean Spence- Miami

Spence is an attacking linebacker who forces the action rather than letting the offense dictate to him. He plays downhill and shoots gaps fearlessly, resulting a couple TFLs in Tuesday's practice. He also has the speed to man-up on running backs coming out of the backfield. He plays with a high motor, which serves him well on defense and special teams.

Defensive Backs

Dwight Bentley- ULL

Dwight Bentley was the biggest star of the South team practice at defensive back as he showed great route recognition and exploded to the football.  Although slightly undersized at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Bentley kept from getting boxed out by some receivers that were as much as seven inches taller than him. 

George Iloka- Boise State

As receivers look more like basketball players, the trend of taller defensive backs is becoming more evident and a player like Iloka fits the bill.  At 6-foot-3, 216 lbs., Iloka has the size to dislodge receivers from the football and he showed an ability on Tuesday to react well to the football as he scored an interception in 11-on-11 drills. 

Casey Hayward- Vanderbilt

Defensive backs are at a disadvantage in settings like the Senior Bowl. Often showcased in skeleton drills, they are picked on by quarterbacks who don't have to worry about avoiding a pass rush or throwing over defensive linemen. But even on an island Hayward held his own, providing tight coverage and disrupting a couple of passes. He anticipates breaks and is a natural man-coverage defender.

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