Draft Sleepers: Defense

Packer Report publisher Bill Huber examined the small-school standouts and the big-school talents who have slipped under the radar. This two-part story concludes with the defense, which includes several top pass-rushing hybrid linebackers/ends.

You've heard of Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh. You've heard of small-school gems Mike Iupati and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah.

But what about some of the hidden gems and small-school standouts who could be impact players as late-round or undrafted players? Packer Report introduces some of them to you, based on college production, insiders buzz or offseason workouts. We conclude today with the defense. If you missed the offense, click here.

NT/DT: Callahan Bright, Shaw: A highly touted prep prospect who wound up at the Division II school because his grades weren't good enough to get into Florida State, Bright pumped out 41 reps on the bench at NC State's recent pro day. Bright (6-2, 321) had 7.5 tackles for losses as a senior.

NT/DT: Nate Collins, Virginia: Collins (6-2, 290) boasted a big-time 77 tackles as a senior — including 16 vs. Georgia Tech — to earn all-ACC honors. He wasn't invited to the Combine but impressed with his speed and quickness (4.9 40) at his pro day.

DE: Will Tukuafu, Oregon: Tukuafu (6-2, 263) posted two sacks and 6.5 tackles for losses to earn second-team all-Pac 10 honors. Was much better as a junior with Nick Reed as a bookend, tallying 7.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for losses.

OLB/DE: Adrian Tracy, William & Mary: Tracy (6-3, 248) was a FCS All-American after posting 12 sacks as a senior. The four-year starter finished his career with a school-record 31 sacks and led all players nationally with 62.5 tackles for losses.

OLB/DE: Aaron Morgan, Louisiana-Monroe: Morgan (6-4, 242) blows away most of the elite "hybrid" defenders based on the measurables. His 40.5-inch vertical jump and 10-foot, 7-inch broad jump from his pro day easily would have distanced the field at the Combine, and his 26 reps on the bench would have put him near the leaders. He tallied nine sacks as a senior and 22 for his career. He notched two sacks against Arizona State and one against Texas.


Arthur Moats
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
OLB/DE: Arthur Moats, James Madison: In his last three seasons, Moats (6-0, 246) piled up 29 sacks — including 11 as a senior, when he led FCS with 23.5 tackles for losses to win the Buck Buchanan Award as the best defensive player in FCS. His 4.66 40 at the Combine was just 0.02 seconds behind the top time for a defensive lineman.

OLB/DE: Junior Galette, Stillman: Galette (6-2, 257) transferred from Temple for the 2009 season after a violation of team rules and wound up second in the conference with 9.5 sacks. He was a second-team Division II All-American. At Temple, he had 15 sacks in 2007 and 2008.

OLB/DE: Tim Knicky, Stephen F. Austin: Knicky (6-4, 247) was a four-time all-conference selection and two-time FCS All-American. As a senior, he posted 12.5 sacks and 15 tackles for losses. He was an Academic All-American, too.

OLB/DE: Mike Johnson, North Alabama: The D2football.com defensive player of the year, Johnson led the team in tackles (113), sacks (5.0), tackles for losses (17) and forced fumbles (four) as a senior, plus had two interceptions. Johnson (6-1, 256) ran his 40s in the 4.6s at his pro day.


Matt Mayberry
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
ILB: Matt Mayberry, Indiana: Mayberry (6-2, 238) was a Combine snub despite 108 tackles, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions and nine games of 10-plus tackles as a senior. At his pro day, he flashed athleticism with impressive 40 times in the high 4.4s.

CB: Patrick Stoudamire, Western Illinois: A three-time all-conference first-teamer, Stoudamire (5-10) closed his career with six interceptions and 41 passes defensed. He never gave up a touchdown reception. He ran a 4.43 at Northern Illinois' pro day.

CB: A.J. Jefferson, Fresno State: The 6-foot Jefferson shot up draft boards at the Combine, where he easily had the best 20-yard shuttle and vertical jump among the corners. Despite his size and athletic ability, he didn't pick off a pass in 45 games. At the least, he's a dynamic kickoff returner. His 23.5-yard average as a senior was the worst of his career — he averaged 29.3 as a junior and a nation-best 35.8 as a sophomore.

CB: Nolan Carroll, Maryland: Carroll lost most of his senior season with a broken leg but showed the type of speed that scouts love by running a 4.37 40 at his pro day. At 6-foot, he's got great size, too. A former wide receiver, Carroll started only six games at corner in his career, so he's a project — albeit a talented project.


Cassius Vaughn
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
CB: Cassius Vaughn, Ole Miss: Vaughn (5-10) stole the show from the headliners at the Rebels' pro day when he ran a 4.30 40. As a senior, he picked off two passes and broke up 11. The two-year starter wasn't even invited to the Combine.

S: Anthony Levine, Tennessee State: Levine's pro day results in the three-cone drill (6.64 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.05) would have been the best among the safeties at the Combine, and his 4.43 in the 40 and 19 reps on the bench would have been among the leaders. He picked off two passes as a senior for the school that produced Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

S: Anthony Beck, Prairie View A&M: The four-year starter was a third-team FCS All-American as a senior. For his career, Beck (6-0, 181) picked off 11 passes with three returned for touchdowns. He even played a little corner as a senior.

S: Charles Graves, Delaware: A first-team FCS All-American, Graves (6-0, 195) intercepted four passes as a senior and 10 for his 42-starts career.

S: Stevie Brown, Michigan: Brown started at safety as a junior and at outside linebacker as a senior. At 5-foot-11, 211 pounds, he'd be moving back to safety. He ran his 40s in about 4.50 seconds at his pro day and impressed during position drills.

Jameson Konz, Kent State: Konz (6-3, 234) posted a pro day workout of legendary proportions a few weeks ago. With only the Browns in attendance, he ran his 40s in 4.38 and 4.46 seconds. His vertical jump was a stunning 46 inches. The collegiate wide receiver (21 receptions as senior after redshirting with ankle injury in 2008) could play tight end or fullback or H-back or even linebacker. Special teams will be a niche, either way.

Frank Zombo, Central Michigan: Zombo (6-3, 269) posted 25.5 sacks and 39 tackles for losses during his four seasons. His 4.71 40 at his pro day impressed scouts, who see him as either a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker. Or he could be moved to tight end, where he impressed at the pro day. He'd be a special-teams maven, as well.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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