2015 draft evals: Defensive players 1-50

Evaluations of the top 150 defensive prospects for the 2015 draft, players 1-50.

This is the final in a three-part defensive power poll conducted by our staff at The NFL Draft Report before the 2014 season. This poll features the defensive third-year sophomores, juniors and seniors that are eligible for the 2015 draft. Players are rated at the primary position they are projected to play at the professional level, with their ability to play an alternate position listed next to their names.

Because of the differences in defensive schemes used by teams in the National Football League, a handful of players have been rated accordingly at different positions, as they are viewed based on their ability to play within those positional assignments.

Some of the more notable players that fall into this category are Clemson’s Vic Beasley (defensive end and outside linebacker); Alabama’s Landon Collins (strong and free safety); Texas Christian’s Devonte Fields (outside linebacker and defensive end) and Washington’s Shaq Thompson (strong safety and outside linebacker). Florida State tailback Karlos Williams, rated on the offensive power poll, is also placed on the defensive chart as a strong safety.

Below is the second part of defense in our “Power Ratings Poll.” To follow the PRO category (scouting grade used to evaluate the player’s pro projection only) and RND category (preliminary projection of what round the player might be selected), please refer to our ratings code chart below.

1WILLIAMS, Leonard (DT) Southern California DEJr 06:04.2 298 4.888.3 1
USC has produced more first-round picks (77) than any other school (Ohio State is second with 71) and they are more than likely going to add to that total with Williams, perhaps the finest down lineman the school has produced since the 1990s (Willie McGinest was the fourth overall selection by New England in 1994 and Darrell Russell was the 1997 second overall pick by Oakland). A Richard Seymour clone, Williams has the speed to penetrate coming off the edge and with a 500-pound bench press, big hands and long arms, he is a nightmare for offensive tackles in one-on-one confrontations. He generates good quickness and explosion off the ball, along with active hands to consistently gain block separation. He shows quick countermoves and has more than enough lower-body strength and leg drive to get opponents off-balance when shooting the gaps. He uses his hands well to discard blocks and, even when double-teamed, he’s not blocked for long, as he uses his strength well to lock out and shed. He also uses his hands with force when attempting to rip through holds. He has that innate ability to quickly spot blocking schemes, making plays before they can even develop. He has patience while playing in run containment and the balance to change direction to shut down the reverse. He shows good eyes to locate the ball on the move. He knows how to use his arm length to get block separation while he locates the football and has the ability to make plays when working down the line.
2WILLIAMS, P.J. Florida State CBJr 05:11.5196 4.487.7 1
Rated the ninth-best safety in the country as a prepster, the Defensive MVP of the 2014 BCS National Championship Game has been the shutdown cornerback the Seminoles’ staff envision when they shifted him outside in 2013. Last season, opposing receivers managed to pull in just 14.1 percent of the passes targeted into Williams’ area (11-of-78), as he allowed just five first downs. Recruited as a dual threat (also was a receiver), he has the long, lean and wiry build that has the room to add more bulk and strength to his frame. What he possesses is outstanding football awareness, which allows him to play in a variety of roles in the secondary. His speed could also be utilized as a returner, but he can pay immediate dividends as a slot corner in the NFL during his rookie year, as he is fluid in his backpedal playing from centerfield. He is a physical hitter who relishes hitting both off and close to the line of scrimmage. He shows good instincts and route awareness and does an excellent job driving on the ball and closing the cushion on underneath routes. He has quick hands and reactionary ability going up for the ball in flight, using his reach when moving around the receiver to compete for the thrown pass at its high point.
3GREGORY, Randy (RE) NebraskaDE Jr06:04.5 2554.76 7.61
The Arizona Western transfer posted 82 tackles with nine sacks at that school during his freshman year, but a broken leg sidelined him for the 2012 campaign. He moved on to Nebraska in 2013, adding 9.5 sacks and 16 tackles for losses among his 65 stops for the Huskers. Some scouts are viewing Gregory as a potential 3-4 linebacker, but I see him more as a rush end-type in that alignment, as he has a good understanding for leverage and is powerful at the point of attack. He has strong and active hands and demonstrates outstanding strength that makes it hard for bigger blockers to knock him back off the ball. He can get across face quickly and has the lower-body strength and flexibility to sink his hips, drop his weight and gain leverage. He has the arm power and body control to split double teams, but it is also because of his quickness that he can beat most blocks. Even when he is not quick to shed, he can cross face fast. As a pass rusher, he can beat you with either his speed or power, possessing good body control and excellent hip snap. The thing I like is the way he can squeeze through the tiniest of creases to get into the backfield. He plays with tough aggression and is a disruptive force that needs to be accounted for on every play. He displays excellent knee bend, hip flip and balance to stay up on his feet. He can adjust on the run and is best when he plays a variety of positions (stunts) off the edge.
4CALHOUN, Shilique (RE) Michigan State DErJr 06:03.5257 4.647.5 1
With his long limbs and excellent foot speed, you can see why the Spartans coaches debated quite a bit before they finally decided to move the high school tight end to the defensive line’s first unit in 2013. He rewarded their decision with 37 tackles and 7.5 sacks, but with a slew of veterans having graduated, 2014 is primed to be Calhoun’s breakout season. Whether standing up or with his hand down on the ground, Calhoun is learning the nuances of playing the position, as there are times when he gets too high with his pad level. During 2014 spring drills, he flashed the ability to generate proper knee bend and keep leverage. He does a solid job of coming across the ball and squeezing down, though he needs to stay square in order to compensate for the bulk he yields to the bigger offensive linemen. The Spartan has enough functional strength to hold his ground, but is better working off the edge, as he struggles at times vs. blockers lined up over his head. He plays with good leverage, but will struggle at the point of attack, as he lacks the lower-leg drive to prevent the much bigger blockers from pushing him back. His excellent speed and change-of-direction agility helps him string plays wide. His flexibility and knee bend allows him to redirect and dip under blocks in his back side pursuit. What is Calhoun’s best asset is his edge rush ability, as he has an array of moves in his pass rush technique. When he comes off the edge to collapse the pocket, his quickness allows him to run past offensive tackles to make the play behind the line of scrimmage.
5COLLINS, Landon (FS) AlabamaSS Jr05:11.5 2154.53 7.51
One of several players on this list rated at multiple positions, Collins is much better at initiating contact and working inside the box rather than staying back to defend the deep part of the secondary. With 15 extra pounds on his frame prior to 2013, the former free safety posted 69 tackles with six pass break-ups and two thefts, returning one for a touchdown. He has a thick upper-body frame with good chest and arm muscle tone, tight waist and hips, thick thighs and calves and minimal body fat. He is a physical tackler with the frame to add at least another 10 pounds without any drop-off in quickness. He competes with a total disregard for his own safety and is the type that plays through pain. Wherever the coaches want him to play, whatever scheme they need him to perform in, Collins is more than up to the task, having experience at both safety positions, in addition to excelling on special teams. As a strong safety, he displays exceptional blocker awareness and because of that vision, he is able to slip through blocks to make plays in tight areas. He has a strong desire to fill the rush lanes, extending his arms properly to engulf the ball-carriers. He keeps his shoulders square and stays low, driving with his legs to rock the ball-carrier back at the line of scrimmage.
6WAYNES, Trae Michigan State CBrJr 06:00.5183 4.337.5 1
The first-year starter at field cornerback had “friendly” competition vs. teammate and Thorpe Award winner Darqueze Dennard, as Waynes limited receivers to just 10 catches on 55 passes targeted into his area (18.18 pass completion percentage), as he broke up five tosses, intercepted three others and delivered 50 tackles. While the Spartan demonstrated vastly improved man coverage skills, along with excellent underneath range and ability to track plays down sideline-to-sideline, he will need to add bulk and strength. Still, even though he lacks short-area power at the point of attack, he is willing, active and stout in run support. Waynes has superb recovery speed (40-yard dash time is the best for all cornerbacks) and burst. He explodes off the snap and can stay stride for stride with the receivers. He has the loose hips needed to quickly change direction and displays good explosion closing on the ball. He shows great acceleration when closing, but when he relies too much on his speed to help him recover, he will get outside his frame with his hands, resulting in several pass interference calls. He will cover ground suddenly tracking the ball in flight and has no problems running or trailing receivers throughout the route.
7SPENCE, Noah (RE) Ohio State OLBrJr 06:02.6240 4.687.2 1
Spence will have his junior season delayed, as he was suspended for the Orange Bowl and the first two games of the 2014 schedule after testing positive for a small amount of ecstasy. His father told the media that Spence didn't intend to take the drug, as it had been put into a drink he had been given at a party. While scouts will examine that issue further, they are also torn on the professional position that the Buckeye would be better suited for. As a college rush end, he lacks the “sand in his pants” to stay in the trenches in the NFL, but with 7.5 sacks, 14 tackles for losses and 50 tackles, he proved to be a real disruptive presence in 2013. He carries his weight well for a 240-pounder and has enough room on his frame to add more bulk. However, he is more suited for rush end/outside linebacker duties, as he flashes enough hand usage to shoot the inside gaps. He comes hard off the edge and has the valid speed, along with a nice array of moves, to get an outside shoulder on a lethargic pass blocker. His flexibility and knee bend allows him to redirect and dip under blocks in his back side pursuit. His quickness allows him to run past offensive tackles to make the play behind the line of scrimmage. With his anticipation and explosiveness on the blitz, he has more than enough ability to flush and chase the quarterback down. His lateral agility is evident as he quickly works down the line of scrimmage. The thing you see on film is that he is relentless chasing down plays on the move.
8EKPRE-OLOMU, Ifomeno OregonCB Sr05:09.2 1934.45 7.11
Regarded as the hardest-hitting cornerback in college, the Ducks senior lived up to that billing when he ranked second in the NCAA with six forced fumbles, placing sixth in the FCS with 20 passes defended in 2012. He’s posted 147 tackles with 26 pass break-ups, seven forced fumbles and seven interceptions in two seasons as the field cornerback. In 2013, all three interceptions came in the end zone. When given the opportunity to press, he knows how to use his size to his advantage, as receivers struggle to shield the ball from him. He can reroute, flip and run, showing crisp stop-and-go action. Whether playing the man tight or loose, Ekpre-Olomu somehow always manages to be in good position to make the play. Even at his adequate size and bulk, he hits like a linebacker and seems to relish playing inside the box. He stays low in his pads, extends his arms properly and keeps his base wide to wrap and secure. He takes good angles to the ball, especially along the corners. He is better than most other college cornerbacks at getting involved vs. the run, as he will leverage and come to the line with little delay.
9FIELDS, Devonte (RE) Texas Christian OLBrSo 06:03.6240 4.637.1 1
Hopefully, the 2014 season will be much better for the Horned Frog, who was suspended for two games at the start of the 2013 season, only to suffer a foot injury that required surgery after getting hurt Sept. 12 vs. Texas Tech. Then, in January, he was beaten and robbed at his off-campus residence. Fully recovered from surgery, he is hoping to return to the form he displayed when earning Big 12 Defensive MVP honors after the right end posted 10 sacks, 18.5 tackles for losses and 53 tackles that year. The TCU product will likely move to linebacker at the next level due to size and bulk issues. He shows good explosion and strength at the point of attack and will combine that with above-average foot speed to defeat the bigger and slower blockers before they can get out of their stance. He shows functional strength working in space and stays low in his pads to generate more power behind his hits. The thing you notice on film is that his quick feet and sudden burst will help him escape the blockers. He is stout at the point of attack and uses his hands to shed and disengage. As a down lineman, he is effective at getting upfield on the outside edge, but he will give up a lot of size and will struggle vs. the larger blockers at the next level. With the potential move to linebacker, he can get a better bead on the ball and can spot the clear lane better. When he comes off the edge, the quarterback is in trouble, as Fields has an explosive burst in pursuit. I like the way he shows quickness and ease of movement in attempts to close. His strong hands let him shed the lead blocker and his motor never quits. Another factor for moving him to linebacker is that Fields is better making plays on the outside than when working in-line. He gives up too much bulk to hold ground effectively at the point of attack, but when he gets a free lane, he delivers strength on the inside gap charge. I like the way he strings the play wide on outside pursuit. He gets good leverage and containment when doing this, as he has the foot speed to run and get wide.
10THOMPSON, Shaq (OB/TB) Washington (OB/TB) SSJr 06:01.5231 4.567.1 1
The best pure athlete in the Pac-12 Conference, Thompson is also rated as a linebacker, but with his incredible foot speed and ability to keep plays in front of him, he has drawn lots of comparisons to former Dallas great Darren Woodson, as those scouts also covet him as a strong safety. As a nickel back, he posted 74 tackles, 8.5 tackles for losses, three interceptions and six pass break-ups in 2012 and made 78 tackles with a pass theft returned for an 80-yard score at right outside linebacker in 2013. As a defensive back, he has the ability to lay back and play centerfield with good timing to make the play on the ball. He has good timing ability on his leaps going for the ball, showing good arm extension to get to the pigskin at its high point. He also has outstanding range, doing a good job of covering ground in a hurry. The Husky is quick to support vs. the run, showing good explosion when closing and in pass coverage, he has the height and speed to match up against any tight end, running back or receiver. Thompson is a big hitter who can blow opponents up if he’s on track, doing a good job of breaking down, facing up and wrapping. He keeps things in front of him in zone coverage, taking proper angles in pursuit.
11BEASLEY, Vic (OB) ClemsonDE rSr06:02.7 2354.58 7.11
With the success that Seattle had with Chris Clemons (Jacksonville) and Bruce Irvin relentlessly attacking from the edge, Beasley is being viewed as a similar rush end by most teams, with 3-4 defenses rating him higher as a strong-side outside linebacker. Rated at both positions in this preseason power poll, the Tiger has fluid change-of-direction agility and flexibility. He maintains balance redirecting and shows sudden initial quickness off the snap. He is a good leverage player with the hip snap and burst to close. He sheds with effectiveness and does a good job of using his hands to protect himself. He can stack and shed blockers, showing good strength behind his arm swipes. He uses his long arms well to gain separation and can take on and utilize his hand power to split double teams. He can sink his hips and shows solid second effort to slip off blocks when his initial move fails. He has the pass rush speed and flexibility to turn the corner of the edge almost instantly. Beasley blitzes with good desire and takes proper angles in pursuit. He is also active with his hands in attempts to defeat the block.
12COVINGTON, Christian RiceDT rJr06:02.1 2955.09 71
The first sophomore to earn all-conference first-team honors in school history, Covington plays with reckless abandon and really impressed opponents when he performed with a heavy cast on his right hand (thumb) for the last five games of 2013, but still posted 11.5 tackles for losses that included four sacks. Twenty of his 102 career tackles have come from behind the line of scrimmage. He has great bloodlines, as his father, Grover, is a CFL Hall of Famer. The British Columbia native has good quickness to gain penetration. He shows agility, balance and acceleration into the backfield, along with the body control and change of direction agility to make plays down the line. Even though there are times that he does not utilize his strength, he gets good position and body lean to stack and control when he stays at a good pad level. When he gets too high, he struggles with the blocker, especially against one lined up over his head. He plays with good mental alertness and has a knack for finding the ball in the short area and also shows a good feel for pressure. He is able to split double teams when he hunkers down to get a good anchor and has the burst to close on the quarterback.
13FOWLER JR., Dante (OB) FloridaDE Jr06:02.5 2664.79 71
Playing the “Buck” (rush end) position, Fowler was one of the few bright spots during an otherwise dismal 2013 season, making 10.5 tackles for losses with 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 50 tackles. He looks lean for a defensive end, but has good balance, body control and quickness off the snap, showing adequate leverage strength. He is quick and agile on the move, generating decent quick twitch and natural movement. When he is isolated or coming off the edge, he shows exceptional ability to get off the ball and gain instant penetration. He shows quick feet and good hand usage (rip and swim moves) in order to defeat the initial block, showing a nice arm cross over move to break free. He used to have problems vs. offensive tackles and tight ends when they covered him up, as he failed to contain. Now, with added experience, he showed in 2013 that he can stack, shed, extend and slide to make the plays on the corner.
14COLLINS, Landon (SS) AlabamaFS Jr05:11.5 2154.53 71
Collins is rated fifth overall on this power poll as a strong safety, but scouts were impressed with his range and ability to roam the field as a free safety. He is good at elevating to catch the ball in his hands and away from his body. He knows how to extend at the ball’s highest point and does a nice job of utilizing his above average leaping ability to get to the ball at its high point. He demonstrates body control flowing to the ball, taking no wasted steps when closing. He has good angle technique to close the cushion, especially when asked to support vs. the outside run. While he does a good job of mirroring the receiver, he also shows very good intent to attack the ball. He gets good height competing for jump balls (35-inch vertical) and will not hesitate to go vertical in a crowd to get a piece of the ball.
15EDWARDS JR., Mario (RE) Florida State DEJr 06:02.6294 4.886.9 1-2
Expected to redshirt in 2012, Edwards was thrust into the lineup as a freshman when injuries depleted the line’s depth in 2012. He took over right end chores last year, posting a “pedestrian” 28 tackles, but 9.5 stops came behind the line of scrimmage. He has good arm length and reach, showing a tight abdomen and a frame that can carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness, as he has the stout frame to slide inside and play tackle, but is more likely a 3-4 end in the NFL. He has the balance and agility to shoot the gaps and make plays in the backfield, showing good lateral pursuit ability. He is a strong wrap-up tackler who is working on developing better hand usage, but he compensates with excellent playing strength. Edwards versatility could see him be nice fit at tackle in a 4-3 defense or align outside as an end in a 3-4 formation. He plays at a high pad level, using his strength effectively to push the blockers back through the rush lanes. He has the short-area burst to string plays wide. When he stays at a good pad level, it makes it very difficult for defenders to move him off his anchor. On 41 running plays in 2013, he allowed only 39 yards and just four first downs.
16DRUMMOND, Kurtis Michigan State FSrSr 06:00.6200 4.586.8 1-2
The MSU cornerbacks (Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes) were able to freelance so much last year because of the Spartans free safety’s ability to cover the areas they had evacuated. Of Drummond’s 98 tackles in 2013, 55 came out of his assigned area, as the opportunist also picked off five passes and deflected six others. The senior has good shoulder thickness with the arm length and soft, natural hands to make the interception. He is not overly muscled, but has a firm midsection and hips, along with minimal body fat. He reads and reacts quickly in run support excels at picking up schemes and reading the audible well to get the secondary in position. He plays with good field vision and has a knack for locating the ball working through trash. His ball recognition skills let him use the sidelines effectively to push the ground game back inside. He has the vision to see traps and pulls and is rarely ever caught out of position. He appears smooth and athletic running in reverse and does a really nice job of turning his hips for a safety. Even when the speedy receivers get a step on him, he shows good urgency in attempts to recover.
17DARBY, Ronald Florida State CBJr 05:10.5190 4.466.8 2
Darby became a full-time starter in 2014 after Lamarcus Joyner left for the NFL. Rated the best cornerback in the nation coming out of high school, he will join All-American P.J. Williams in giving the Seminoles the elite corner tandem in the college game, if he can make the next step and show consistency. Cleared of his involvement in the Jameis Winston alleged sexual assault case, the 2012 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year managed just 14 tackles last season, but picked off two balls and deflected eight others. He excels at staying tight on the hip of the receiver. He is quick to recognize the play developing and unlike most young cornerbacks, he will not eye the quarterback long, rather using his hand/eye coordination to mirror his coverage assignment throughout the route. He has that sudden burst to recover when a receiver manages to slip past him on crossing routes. He shows loose hips coming out of his breaks cleanly and has quick change-of-direction agility to maintain his timed speed without having to throttle down. He can get too aggressive in attempts to jam and reroute, needing to do a better job of taking arm swipes to prevent from getting knocked off-balance or losing a step when trying to get back into the play.
18FROST, Kris (OB) AuburnMLB rJr06:02.2 2344.65 6.72
It has taken awhile for the coaches to find a suitable position for Frost, who joined the program as a safety, wide receiver and hybrid linebacker. Because of his ability to play close to the box and the range he demonstrated, he earned playing time at weak-side outside linebacker before splitting time in the middle in 2013, showing 59 tackles with six tackles for losses as a redshirt sophomore. Built more like an outside ‘backer, Frost has a firm midsection and a strong lower-body frame that helps him to hold ground firmly vs. double teams. He shows good explosion coming off the snap and, while not sudden, he can generate movement when working laterally. He has above-average strength to stack and control and displays good success as a collision-type tackler. He needs to extend his arms better to drag down on the edge and will lunge at times rather than wrap, but he is a vicious hitter who can easily break down and face up. He is more powerful vs. plays on the move rather than in front of him, but from the statistical standpoint, he will generally get negative yardage when meeting ball-carriers at the line, as he drives hard with his legs in attempts to push the opponent back through the hole.
19ESKRIDGE, Durell (SS) SyracuseFS rJr06:02.7 2034.55 6.71-2
Eskridge joined the Orange program as a prep possession receiver who lacked a burst or second gear to excel at that position, but he made a smooth and rapid transition to the secondary. He spent two seasons observing before stepping into the lineup full-time, but led the team in interceptions (four) and tackles (78) last season. He has an athletic physique with good overall muscle definition throughout. He does a good job of keeping action in front of him and shows good chase speed when he has to come out of his area to make a play on the opposite side of the field. He shows the anticipation skills to excel covering activity underneath, and is especially effective covering curls and flats. He does not allow much cushion to the receiver, even though he displays above-average range off the hash. He needs to be more alert to No. 2-type receivers in the deep zone, but did improve in that area as a sophomore. Still, he might be a better fit as an inside-the-box type, as he is more successful vs. plays in front of him than in the deepest part of the secondary.
20BEASLEY, Vic (DE) ClemsonOLB rSr06:02.7 2354.58 6.62
Beasley holds the 11th spot on this power poll as a rush end but, for teams utilizing the 3-4 defensive scheme, he could be a nice fit as a strong-side linebacker. In the past, when asked to work in zone coverage, the Tiger showed fluidness working in space and good hips for quick turn ability. He gains good depth, but sometimes stalls in transition at the X’s. He makes quick breaks and is good at maintaining his relationship with the tight end, staying on their hips through the routes. Even when he is sometimes late, he has the recovery speed to compensate. He is not asked to play man coverage much outside the short area, but shows good hip snap and turn coming out of his backpedal. He has the speed to shadow and run with the receivers on deep routes. He is high in his drops and turns, showing alertness to locate and pick up the receiver coming out of those drops.
21BENNETT, Ben “Michael” Ohio State DTSr 06:02.2286 4.966.6 1-2
Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh Panthers/St. Louis Rams) proved last year that power trumps size any day, especially for interior defenders with explosive feet and “cement” for hands. The former offensive guard battled through injury issues in 2012 but was OSU’s difference-maker in 2013, as the strong-side tackle collected seven sacks and 11.5 tackles for losses among his 42 tackles. He’s been compared to the Falcons’ Jordan Babineaux, as he looks shorter than ideal to be a two-gap tackle, but he has good upper-body thickness, a solid lower frame, firm midsection and good bubble. He has above-average acceleration off the snap and shows the flexibility and knee bend to consistently gain leverage. He moves with good balance and coordination, flashing enough burst to be disruptive at times. One of his best assets is his quick feet, as he can accelerate to the ball instantly and has the sustained speed to make plays in long pursuit.
22DUPREE, Alvin (OB) KentuckyDE Sr06:03.5 2684.6 6.62
Nicknamed “Bud,” the strong-side end has added over 20 pounds to his frame. He’s delivered 152 tackles with 13.5 sacks and 22.0 tackles for losses since earning a starting job in 2012. He is able to redirect with no wasted motion and demonstrates proper knee bend and balance to be effective as a bull rusher. He is slippery getting through trash and has the straight-line burst to surprise a lethargic offensive tackle. He generates a quick first step to gain penetration and the agility and balance to pressure the pocket. He is relentless in pursuit and has that first step that allows him to greatly affect pass protection coverage.
He is more effective taking the long loop off the edge to pressure the pocket that when charging up the middle. Because of his size, he is susceptible to the combo blocks and while he has good arm strength, he will struggle to shed. He has no problems vs. plays directed at him, but because of size issues, he has to remain active with his hands in order to disengage from blocks.
23FIELDS, Devonte (OB) Texas Christian OLBrSo 06:03.6240 4.636.5 2
Rated ninth in this power poll as a rush end, much like Vic Beasley, Fields is also being analyzed as a potential outside line-backer in a 3-4 scheme, because he can be active working down the line and makes plays from sideline-to-sideline.
By shifting to linebacker, a team can take advantage of his explosion off the snap and proper hand usage to slip off blocks and make plays in pursuit. He is a sound technical tackler who keeps his feet, makes good body adjustments and stays in control to break down in the open. As a linebacker, he can make contact with a good thud and that potential move will likely see him do a better job of wrapping, as he tends to give a shoulder or make arm tackles when working as a down lineman vs. the much bigger offensive tackles. He has fluid hips to drop in pass coverage, but will need time developing a feel for receivers in their routes, especially on crossing patterns. They say it takes two years to make the adjustment from defensive end to linebacker, but Fields has the natural hip turn and understands the concept of getting depth in his drops. He also shows good acceleration once he locates the ball. In another year or so in the NFL, I am confident he will be a capable linebacker.
24RUSSELL, KeiVarae Notre Dame CBSo 05:11.1182 4.56.5 2
An elusive tailback in high school, the position he was recruited to play, the Irish staff soon realized that Russell’s wiry frame and lack of tackle-breaking strength made it logical that he shift to his secondary position – right cornerback. He has gone on to start all 26 games he appeared in, picking up Freshman All-American honors in 2012. He has 109 tackles to his credit, adding 12 pass break-ups and three thefts. Russell has an angular frame with good quickness. He does not take wasted steps in transition and can close on the ball quickly when the play is in front of him. He shows good hand/eye coordination, but you’d like to see him generate a second gear in order to recover quicker on deep routes. He has valid feet for the position and good arm usage to stick it to receivers in press coverage. He is active with his hands and has adequate strength to press and reroute the receiver at the line. He stays tight on the receiver through their patterns and has the feet to break on the ball in a hurry, even when his man gets a step on him. He is not the type who will deliver tackles that will take his man out of the game, but is effective at making plays on the ball.
25THOMPSON, Shaq (WB/TB) Washington OLBJr 06:01.5231 4.566.4 2
Rated 10th on this power poll as a strong safety, Thomas reminds me a lot of the Falcons’ Sean Weatherspoon for his tackling ability in the box playing at weak-side linebacker in 2013. He made 50 of his tackles in run force, holding those ball-carriers to a miniscule 28 yards last season. The thing you notice on film is that he utilizes his weight room strength well to hold ground at the point of attack. Despite giving up considerable bulk, he will not hesitate to combat vs. the larger offensive linemen. He fits and folds well and can be firm playing a nine-tech. He is not the type that will maul a ball-carrier, but does generate a good thud on contact. He is a good leverage player who uses his hands with force to play off blocks. He shows good leverage on the move and when given a clear lane, can run down hill to fill the lane. His range is evident on outside running plays and he has the sudden burst to head off the ball-carriers near the sidelines.
26McCARTHY, Ellis (DT/RE) UCLANG Jr06:03.1 3305.08 6.42
Pushing 345 pounds in 2012, McCarthy had knee problems all year. His weight became the main focus of his development during the 2013 season, though, as he was successful in overcoming a slow, injury-riddled start to his UCLA career. But the physical changes were really only a small part of the Bruin defensive lineman’s transformation, as he showed good field awareness and urgency closing on the ball. Whether lining up at left end, right end or manning the nose, he was constantly the subject of double-team coverage. Even at his current weight, McCarthy shows solid muscle tone throughout, especially in his broad shoulders. With his wide hips and thick lower body, it is very tough for blockers to gain movement off the snap vs. him. He is not the type to pile up large amounts of tackles, but like former Steelers great Casey Hampton, the Bruin excels at neutralizing multiple blockers. He is quick to fill the rush lanes and shows good creativity and spin moves shooting the gaps. He is combative with his hands and has the strength to shock and control and opponent when he locks on. He has good power in attempts to disengage and is quite nimble when attacking the backfield. When he plants his feet and settles in for a battle, he uses his low center of gravity to gain leverage and he keeps his feet free, demonstrating effective two-gap potential.
27PETERS, Marcus Washington CBrJr 05:11.5198 4.426.4 2
The field cornerback has started 20-of-26 games for the Huskies, but many feel that Peters’ “coming out party” will be in 2014. One of the fastest pass defenders in the country, he had 80 passes targeted into his area last season, with 18 of those tosses resulting in receptions (22.5%). He delivered 20 pass break-ups and eight interceptions as a starter, including five thefts and nine deflections, along with 55 tackles in 2013. Peters is a short strider with that explosive second gear and burst to close in an instant. He has the loose hips to redirect, doing a nice job of planting and driving out of his breaks. He has the valid speed to stay with his assignment on deep patterns and does a nice job of getting his body in the way to prevent catches over the opponent’s outside shoulder. He can close in an instant and is quick to react to the ball in flight, showing natural hands to make the interception or pass deflection. He has the burst needed to accelerate and close on plays at the opposite end of the field and has the second gear to catch up on rare times that he is beaten.
28JENKINS, Jordan (OB) GeorgiaDE Jr06:02.1 2464.76 6.42
Much like Bruce Irvin (Seattle), Jenkins might be a defensive end trapped in a linebacker’s body. Expected to replace the sack production the Bulldogs lost when Jarvis Jones (Steelers) bolted for the NFL, he made 12 tackles for losses and five sacks among his 45 tackles last season, but did struggle in man coverage due to stiff hips. He might be a better fit as a pass rush specialist, as he appears more comfortable operating as a playmaker off the edge. He possesses an explosive burst to complement good timing to consistently cross the face of offensive tackles and get them backpedaling. Even with his hip tightness, he manages to find ways to dip under the reach of bigger blockers and close on the quarterback. He compensates for a lack of size in the trenches with strong hands and has a knack for coming up with the key sack in tight quarters. Offensive tackles find Jenkins much stronger than he looks and that power makes him effective on the bull-rush.
29PREWITT, Kristian “Cody” Mississippi SSSr 06:01.6220 4.626.4 2-3
There is no harder hitter in the SEC than Prewitt. The Ole Miss staff found a home for him in the secondary after he had excelled as a tailback and receiver during his prep days. He hopes 2014 begins better than 2013 ended – with a broken nose and a partial Music City Bowl suspension after running afoul of coach Hugh Freeze with his academics. He’s produced 10 tackles for losses, nine interceptions and 14 pass break-ups in 31 games. Many scouts agree that Prewitt is one of the finest pure athletes in the collegiate ranks. He has a strong frame that allows him to absorb punishment, good closing speed and above-average range. His quickness allows him to close on the ball with a sudden burst and has the agility and stride to mirror receivers in their routes. He is fluid when changing direction and has good balance and pad level delivering tackles. His acceleration allows him to give cushion, yet keep the plays in front of him. He makes quicker breaks on the ball in the zone than when playing the man, as he breaks on the ball in an instant when he reads the play.
30JONES, Byron (FS) Connecticut CBrSr 06:00.1197 4.526.3 2
No matter where he plays on the field, one thing about Jones is certain – he is the American Athletic Conference’s elite defensive playmaker. The former prep receiver was converted first into a boundary cornerback, making 51 tackles in 2011, before taking over free safety chores in 2012 (87 tackles). He shifted to field cornerback, making 60 stops with a trio of interceptions last season. Jones is a well-built athlete with long arms and legs, good bubble, solid muscle mass and definition throughout. He has above-average acceleration on deep routes and the ability to stay on the hip of receivers. He has excellent body control working in the box, doing a good job of using his hands to prevent blockers from attacking his body. For a player of his size, he runs with a quick stride. He can be explosive in and out of his breaks and looks fluid changing direction, doing a nice job with his hip flip to accelerate and close on the play or mirror the receiver throughout the route.
31PERRYMAN, Denzel MiamiMLB Sr05:11.1 2484.74 6.32
Hopefully, the Miami coaches move this naturally physical hitter back to the middle, even though he did produce a career-high 108 tackles as a weak-side linebacker in 2013. With 31 starts, just five have come at his natural position, where he has scouts comparing his versatility to that of former Hurricanes standout Jon Beason. Perryman might be “height challenged,” but is stout at the point of attack, possessing an athletic physique, good straight-line closing speed, good lateral agility to work down the line and the strong legs to hold position firmly vs. the inside run. Recognized as the South’s hardest-hitting tackler, he is a football-smart athlete who gets his teammates lined up and shows good awareness to plays in front of him. He runs sideline to sideline and has a knack for locating the ball, showing good read-and-react skills. He does a nice job of pushing the tight end back at the line of scrimmage, using his hands properly to gain leverage and reroute, also utilizing his hands well to ward off smaller blockers and can’t be tied up for long in one-on-one confrontations. He doesn’t have the size to play off blockers by the offensive linemen, but knows how to use his quickness and crisp spin and swim moves to avoid.
32WILLIAMS, Karlos (TB) Florida State SSSr 06:01.0226 4.426.3 2-3
Rated 25th as a tailback on our preseason offensive power poll, Williams will see limited time of defense, as he’s expected to carry the brunt of the FSU rushing load. As a ball-carrier, he boasts a rushing average of 8.0 yards per attempt, averaging 23.6 yards as a kickoff returner. As a nickel back/safety, he’s posted 46 tackles and picked off one pass. The younger brother of Steelers middle linebacker Vince Williams, Karlos has a powerfully built frame with thick legs and thighs. His ability in the secondary has scouts comparing him to the 49ers’ Eric Reid, as he shows the quick retreat skills and crisp breaks out of his pedal. He has the size and tackling technique to stun ball-carriers and he attacks receivers with good hand placement to disrupt the route’s progression. He is a natural hands catcher with the timing and leaping ability to compete for jump balls and evident by his bone-jarring hits on special teams, he adds to his resume as a physical gunner.
33SMITH, Derron Fresno State FSSr 05:09.7196 4.526.2 2-3
Smith joined the Bulldogs as a dual-threat quarterback and cornerback, but settled into the lineup at free safety during the 2012 season, making a triumphant return to the gridiron after missing 10 games the previous season with a broken arm. He ranks third in Mountain West Conference annals with 14 interceptions, ranking second in the nation with seven thefts in 2013, as he also had four sacks among eight tackles for losses and 87 tackles as a junior. Smith is a bit “height challenged,” but he has an athletic frame with good arm length and long limbs. He could use additional bulk, especially if the increase would improve his marginal-to-adequate strength. He studies the quarterback intently, getting a good jump on the action in front of him and is smart enough to make the defensive calls and adjustments. He has the loose hips to shadow and trail and allows little cushion underneath. He does a good job of spotting fakes, jukes and hip snap to stay tight on the receiver throughout the route. He can press, turn and trail his assignment well, especially when asked to mirror the tight end, but does not have the recovery burst needed when a quick receiver gets behind him.
34OAKMAN, Shawn (RE) BaylorDE rJr06:07.5 2854.84 6.22
In March 2012, Oakman knew the “end” was coming for him as a Penn State Nittany Lion even before he met with then-head coach Bill O’Brien to hear his fate. The highly touted recruit was embarrassed and then tossed from the football program for attempting to steal a $7 hoagie from a convenience store - the last straw in a host of incidents. Already on probation for other issues, even then, there was some denial. Moving on to Baylor, Oakman has not only matured off the field, but also, on it – growing into a physical 285-pound run stuffer. He was named All-Big 12 first-team, despite not starting any games, as he posted 12.5 tackles for losses and 33 tackles as a right end. He has a long torso, with impressive arm length, big hands, well-developed legs, with good thigh and calf thickness. For a player with his height, Oakman has outstanding quickness and plays with a high motor to defeat blocks. He has the hip flexibility to drop back in pass coverage and enough quickness to run with the tight ends and backs down the seam. He displays good change-of-direction agility and generates a good jolt in his hips and hands to rock the offensive tackle back on his heels during the bull rush.
35JENKINS, Jordan (RE) GeorgiaOLB Jr06:02.1 2464.76 6.22-3
Jenkins was rated as a defensive end on this preseason power poll (28th) but is being examined as a potential weak-side outside linebacker. He seems to be alert to play action and misdirection and has enough lateral range to flatten working down the line, but does not have the sustained speed to be effective working outside the box. In the trenches, there are times when he will struggle to stack and shed due to size issues and is more of a collision-type tackler than one that will wrap and secure. He is an active pass rusher who takes good angles to the ball, but lacks counter moves and tries to avoid blocks too much because of it when having to play with his hand down, making him a candidate to stand up in a 3-4 defensive alignment. He is quick to sniff out the ball, but needs a free lane in order to close, as he is more comfortable operating primarily as a pass rusher, as he does have a quick burst to close. He also demonstrates a good swim move to slip off the edge of an offensive tackle and hit with good explosion. Still, he is best when making plays working down the line. When he breaks off the edge unimpeded, he takes good angles to close in on the pocket.
36CASH, Jeremy DukeSS rJr06:01.1 2104.59 6.22-3
The Ohio State transfer has a keen nose for the ball, earning All-American honors during his Blue Devils debut, as he paced the nation’s safeties with 121 tackles, 9.5 tackles for losses, adding four interceptions while causing and recovering a pair of fumbles, making up for two years of relative inactivity (sat out 2012 under transfer rules and limited to five brief appearances for Ohio State in 2011). Cash is quick to diagnose the action and closes quickly in run support. He is an intimidating hitter over the middle who times his shots just as the ball arrives, resulting in some of his more impressive interceptions and pass breakups. He can get too aggressive and that will lead him to be beaten deep over the top vs. good play-action, but he reads the play action and has a quick burst to accelerate. There are times where he seems more interested in timing his leap for the violent collision than to go for the interception. He is an explosive hitter who can be a truly intimidating force over the middle and, in run support, as he closes downhill quickly and likes to lead with his shoulder and explode into the ball-carrier. Even though he is known for his explosive hits, Cash is also a reliable wrap-up tackler in the open field and he runs through the ball-carrier by bringing his hips.
37JOHNSON, Kevin Wake Forest CBrSr 06:00.1175 4.566.2 2-3
Perhaps the only bright spot for a dismal performance by the Demon Deacons the last few years, Johnson is a model for consistency, delivering 58 tackles with three interceptions in each of his past two campaigns. The right cornerback also amassed a combined 30 pass breakups since the start of 2012. While he has a wiry frame, Johnson displays minimal body fat, long limbs, good bubble and hamstrings, but has little room left for additional growth. He is quick to pick up schemes and gets a good jump on the ball because of the way he can anticipate the receiver’s moves through the route. He is active with his feet, especially when moving back, planting and changing direction. He keeps his pad level low and is usually in control through transition. He no longer gets high on his heels, which used to cause him to look a little sluggish when shuffling his feet through routes. The thing you see on film is that he shows very little hesitation or wasted motion in his plant-and-drive.
38DAVIS, Carl (DT) IowaNG rSr06:04.4 3185.1 63
After waiting patiently for his opportunity to start, Davis took over left defensive tackle chores for the Hawkeyes in 2013, but teams utilizing the 3-4 defensive scheme feel that he is highly capable of playing nose guard at the next level. Used mostly to stuff the inside running game, he made 42 tackles with four tackles for losses as a junior. He is a rare-sized defender who is not only light on his feet, but possesses impressive strength. He shows a fluid running stride and a good feel for leverage and balance. His straight-line charge is explosive and he generates a bone-jarring hand punch coming off the snap. He can be sudden charging from the backside and shocks blockers back on their heels with his quickness and strength. He holds his ground firmly at the point of attack, but will struggle to disengage when he gets high in his stance, letting blockers attack his body. He plays with a good motor, but does run out of gas late in games. He is best served playing in-line, where he can handle multiple blockers to free up his edge rushers and blitzers. When he plays at a proper pad level, Davis shows excellent tools for the two-gap system. He uses his hands effectively, but needs to do a better job of protecting his legs from low blocks. Even when his pad level is high, he has the ability to set, anchor and hold ground at the point of attack.
39WILSON, Ramik (WB) GeorgiaMLB Sr06:01.7 2344.72 6.13
Wilson is a hard-hitting open-field tackler who ranked 10th in the nation with 133 hits last year, limiting ball-carriers to 76 yards on 72 running plays he was involved in, taking those runners down for losses on 11 snaps. The Bulldog can play any position in the linebacker unit, but he shows good lateral quickness and initial burst to string plays wide from the “Mike” slot. He takes solid angles in pursuit and does a good job of sifting through traffic. He’s powerful enough to take on blocks in the phone booth and, when he's playing with leverage, he explodes through tackles and is reliable in space. A sideline-to-sideline pursuit type, he also demonstrates good agility and fluidness dropping back in pass coverage. He gets a deep drop in zone coverage and displays above-average range. He can easily match up vs. most tight ends and running backs one-on-one covering in the short area. He also displays good burst and instincts as a blitzer, as well.
40FACKRELL, Kyler Utah State OLBrJr 06:04.2245 4.746.1 3
It was well into the spring of his high school senior year before the then-6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker received his lone scholarship offer. Three years later, the Aggies have won 20 of the 26 games that their 245-pound left outside linebacker has played in. During that time, he’s contributed 169 tackles, eight sacks, 21.0 tackles for losses, four interceptions and seven pass breakups. Fackrell has a tall, athletic frame with good upper-body muscle tone, long arms, thick legs, good bubble and loose hips to accelerate and close on the ball. He is a naturally fast runner who moves effortlessly when changing direction and has the range to make plays down the line. He is a smart and instinctive athlete who loves to physically challenge the tight ends by coming right up to the line of scrimmage and attacking his defender immediately after the ball is snapped. He keeps position at the point of attack and takes good angles in pursuit, as he is very effective at maintaining leverage and containment. He also has the slippery moves to avoid trash and shows a quick burst to cut off the runner at the corners.
41GRANT, Doran Ohio State CBSr 05:10.2196 4.496.1 3
Grant emerged as a playmaking, shutdown left cornerback for the Buckeyes in 2013. He not only made 58 tackles with three interceptions and 10 pass deflections, but rerouted his coverage assignment away from 30 other tosses, allowing only 13-of-56 balls targeted into his area (23.21 percent) to be caught. He has a lean frame, but shows good muscle tone and room for additional growth (can add another 10 pounds with no loss in speed). He maintains balance on the move and shows good stop-and-go ability, along with displaying quick footwork that helps him recover when beaten. Grant gets a great jump on the ball thanks to his ability to anticipate and react to the ball in flight, rather than try to sift out the ball through trash. He instantly breaks on the ball and takes good angles to shorten the field in pursuit. His ability to generate a sudden burst allows him to get to the reception point. He has the ability to plant and drive back to the ball, staying low in his pads. He gets good hand placement on the receivers in plays in front of him. He is especially effective breaking down plays working in space.
42JOSEPH, Karl West Virginia FSJr 05:09.6200 4.586.1 3
In a recent organizational meeting, I polled my scouts and asked who the hardest hitter in college really is. The answer was nearly unanimous – Karl Joseph. Do not let his lack of size fool you, as he has a lot of “Bob Sanders” coursing through his veins. To put it mildly, Joseph is a linebacker trapped in a cornerback’s body. Among his 10 tackles for losses, he caused fumbles on four of those snaps. In two seasons at WVU, he made 172 tackles, including 91 stops vs. the run, as he broke up 12 throws and intercepted three others. While he has a short frame, he is blessed with a muscular physique with large arms, thick trapezoids and chest, well-defined abdomen, defined thighs, knotted calves and minimal body fat (7.7 percent). Joseph makes plays in all phases of his game and, while he is the silent type who lets his actions speak for him, he will not hesitate to take a teammate to task for what he deems unacceptable play. He has good quickness and foot speed, superb agility and balance, fluid change-of-direction agility and flexibility. He is quick to read and react to the play and is generally always around the ball, as he has outstanding recovery speed and burst, using it well to stay with tight ends and running backs in the short area.
43McNEIL, LaDarrell Tennessee FSJr 06:00.5199 4.636.1 3
With 112 tackles in two seasons with the Vols, McNeil fails to impress in the production department, but he is a fine-looking athlete who might lack great foot speed, but he is a physical and tough defender who looks for the big collision and thrives on contact. He reminds scouts of the Steelers’ Will Allen, for his instincts and awareness in diagnosing the play. He can stay tight with the receiver in man coverage, keeping low in his pads to stalk, wrap and secure. He does not have explosive second-gear agility, but demonstrates a sharp burst coming out of his backpedal, breaking on the ball instantly. He compensates for just average quickness by taking good angles to the ball and he has the leaping ability to compete for the pass at its high point. He makes good effort in run support, showing the lateral agility to string plays, and is a solid tackler who hits with authority. As a free safety, he flies around the field with ease, doing a nice job of handling switch-offs in the zone. He also has the range and good feel working in space and will not shy away from contact moving through the pile.
44GOLDMAN, Eddie (DT) Florida State NGJr 06:03.1314 5.286.1 2-3
Playing out of position at defensive end has not seen Goldman produce statistically, as he has only 27 tackles with four tackles for losses in 24 games. A logical move to nose guard will be his calling card to the NFL, as he is a wide-body type with good shoulder and chest width, thick thighs and calves, long arms and a frame that can carry an additional 20-30 pounds with no loss in quickness. He has the functional quickness to gain penetration, showing good body control when running laterally. He demonstrates impressive agility in attempts to avoid cut blocks and stay up on his feet. His short-area burst allows him to generate penetration, but it is his shake-and-shimmy that lets him avoid blockers at the point of attack. He shows the change-of-direction agility to make plays down the line but, despite good short-area speed, he does tend to labor a bit running long distances. He has good strength, but needs to be more physical in his play, as he sometimes drops his hands, leaving his chest exposed for the blocker to lock on.
45DREW, Ray (RE/DT) GeorgiaDE Sr06:03.7 2824.76 6.13
The five-star recruit’s decision to have former Georgia football stars Randall Godfrey and David Pollack speak at his high school commitment ceremony had the Bulldogs in some hot water with the Southeastern Conference before Drew had ever suited up for Georgia. A product of the school’s excellent training program, he has grown from a 234-pound freshman outside linebacker into a mainstay as a 282-pound right end. Six of his eight stops behind the line of scrimmage were sacks in 2013.
He credits UGA’s renowned training room for helping him develop from a cat-quick, pass rushing ‘backer into one of the more dominant, physical defenders in the SEC, one who consistently wins battles at the point of attack. With the hand technique and spin moves he developed playing on the edge, few offensive guards can mirror his moves when Drew shifts inside to pursue ball-carriers working down the line. He has developed into an instinctive pass rusher who plays with a wide base vs. the run, having a good feel for locating the ball quickly. His field vision and intelligence has allowed the Bulldogs staff to stunt him often, as he has good knowledge for handling assignments in a variety of roles.
46RYAN, Jake (SB) MichiganOLB Sr06:02.4 2354.68 63
The way Ryan attacks ball-carriers, you would think he has a personal vendetta toward them, as he plays with a true “search and destroy” attitude. His instincts, field vision and ability to call assignments have the staff shifting the strong-side ‘backer to the “Mike” position as a senior. The hard-hitting tackler was missed during the first half of 2013, as he was limited to 30 tackles when he returned in mid-October from March knee surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament tear. In his previous two seasons, he had combined for 125 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 27.0 tackles for losses and five forced fumbles. He shows good agility working down the line and combines size, along with impressive weight room totals, that make it difficult for larger blockers to have success when trying to get him washed out on plays. He is a physical tackler who has the quickness to run and get to the perimeter. He is best working inside the box, as he will miss some tackles when he works in space. He plays faster than his timed speed indicates, thanks to his low center of gravity, and does a good job of using his hands when trying to disengage.
47CARTER, Alex (FS) StanfordCB Jr05:11.6 2004.51 63
In 21 starting assignments, Carter has accounted for 104 tackles and nine pass break-ups. The left cornerback has a well-built frame with good upper-body muscle development, defined chest, wide back, good shoulder width, tight abdomen, good bubble and defined calves and thighs. He lacks the timed speed you look for in a cornerback at the next level, but compensates with an explosive closing burst on plays in front of him, making him a potential target to move to free safety in the NFL. He plays at a high intensity level and gives second effort when beaten on the play. He shows good timing breaking up the pass, but does not seem to have the natural hands to make the interception (more deflections could have been pass thefts, as he lacks ideal hand size). It is very rare to see him throttle down, as he likes to be involved in the action, even if he has to run long distances to get there. He gets a good jump on the ball, thanks to his initial reads and is alert to blocking schemes and has good zone awareness, handling the switch-off smoothly, another reason to make him a free safety at the next level.
48GOLDEN, Markus MissouriDE rSr06:02.4 2554.74 63
The 2014 season is Golden’s grand opportunity to shine, as he no longer has future NFL talents Kony Ealy and Michael Sam taking up most of the snaps at defensive end. Even though he was on the field for less than 40 percent of the plays, he led the Tigers defensive ends with 55 tackles, adding 6.5 sacks, 13 tackles for losses and a 70-yard runback for a score with an interception in 2013. The junior college transfer has an ideal frame you look for in a strong-side linebacker or rush end, but will need to add more bulk if a team plans to play him as a down lineman at the next level. He carries his weight well, showing good balance and body control working his way down the line and has the second gear to generate long pursuit. When playing on the edge, he keeps his pads down and head on a swivel, as he compensates for a lack of ideal bulk with active hands to deliver counter moves and slip off blocks. The bigger blockers have good success executing reach blocks on him and he is not effective at splitting double teams, but, when isolated on the edge or playing off the line, he is a solid wrap-up tackler who hits with a thud.
49BULLARD, Jonathan (DT) FloridaDE Jr06:02.6 2714.74 63
Bullard is expected to join Dante Fowler Jr. as the Gators’ starting defensive ends in 2014, but the staff is looking for better production than the youngster has produced during his first two seasons at Florida (60 tackles, three sacks). He has adequate upper-body muscle tone, but displays a thick lower torso, with strong, well-developed thighs and calves. He demonstrates good knee bend and flexibility working down the line. He has a good feel for blocking schemes and is active with his hands, getting them up quickly coming out of his stance to get into the blocker’s chest. Even with 4.74 speed, he lacks explosion coming off the ball, but will attack with a consistent tempo. He has good bend and sinks his pads well in attempt to avoid blocks working through trash. He is also effective at holding his ground vs. double teams due to his lower-body power and strong anchor.
50SHAW, Joshua Southern California CBrSr 06:01.4205 4.566 3
After two seasons at Florida, Shaw headed back home to California after the 2011 campaign. He received a hardship waiver from the NCAA because of health problems within his family, which allowed him to suit up for the Trojans in 2012. In two seasons as their right cornerback, he’s picked off six passes, deflected 15 others and made 97 tackles with 7.5 tackles for losses. He has drawn comparisons to the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, as he has the broad shoulders and strength to be quite effective as a run stopper and he could easily add another 10 pounds to his frame with no drop-off in quickness. He looks natural and decisive anticipating and jumping the play, as he makes solid moves to close on the ball, especially vs. plays in front of him. His success as a shutdown cornerback is his ability to make quick and proper reads, reacting in an instant to get to the ball, whether via the pass or run. Shaw is a very physical boundary cornerback, having rerouted/jammed intended targets away from 43.79% of the passes thrown into his area (74-of-169) the last two seasons. He is very quick to react to the ball in flight and is not the type that quarterbacks can get him turned some on play action or misdirection plays.


NOTE: To understand the position codes, DE indicates defensive end; RE is for rush ends/3-4 pass rushers; DT indicates defensive tackle; NG indicates nose guard; MB is for a 4-3 middle linebacker; IB indicates 3-4 inside linebacker; OB indicates outside linebacker; WB indicates 3-4 weak-side ‘backer; SB indicates 3-4 strong-side ‘backer; CB indicates cornerback; FS indicates free safety; SS indicates strong safety.

NOTE: rSr/rJr indicates player redshirted/graduating class…# indicates major injury that could impact draft grade…CL indicates college class… HT indicates height of the player…WT indicates weight…40 indicates 40-yard dash time…225 indicates repetitions in the 225-pound bench press…VJ indicates vertical jump…BJ indicates broad jump…SH indicates 20-yard shuttle…3C indicates three-cone drill…PRO-indicates The NFL Draft Report’s projected pro potential grade (see chart below)…RND indicates the round we project the player to be selected.

Immediate starter...Should have a major impact to the success of the franchise, barring injury...Possesses superior critical factors...Plays with consistency and without abnormal extra effort...Rare talent.
7.6-8.0Star Quality Eventual starter...Should make a significant contribution in his first year...Possesses above average critical factors...Has the talent and skills to start...Will contribute to upgrading the team...Can play without abnormal effort, but has some inconsistency in his play that will improve with refinement and development...Has no real weakness.
7.0-7.5Impact Player Possesses at least average to above average critical factors in all areas...Will contribute immediately, whether as a starter or a valuable reserve...Will move into the starting lineup with seasoning...Above average player who needs to refine certain areas.
6.5-6.9Eventual Starter Could move into the starting lineup within three years...Has average critical factors in all areas...Needs further development, but has the ability to contribute.
6.0-6.4Potential Starter Could force himself into the starting lineup with improved perform- ances...Will make a team...Has average critical factors in most areas, but at least one with less than average quality that he will have a hard time overcoming...Probable draft choice.
5.5-5.9Roster Player Has the ability to serve as a key reserve and possible future starter... Possesses average critical factors, but more than several areas are less than average...Plays with normal extra effort.
5.0-5.4Project Has the skills to play pro ball with proper tutoring...May make a team based on need...Possesses no real strong critical factors and is probably below average in several areas that the player will have a hard time overcoming...Possible draft choice, but only if that team is caught short on talent available at that position.
4.6-4.9Develop- mental Could make a team with an impressive showing in training camp... Not strong in most critical factors...Deficient in more than one area that he will not be able to overcome...At least average in the factor of competitiveness...May not make a team due to his limitations.
4.1-4.5Camp Player Has redeeming qualities that could allow him to play in the pros with improved performances...Deficient in more than one critical factor... Might make a team, but will always be the player that squad will look to replace.
3.5-4.0Reject Might make a team, but has glaring deficiencies in several critical factors...Below average competitor whose athletic skills will allow him to enter training camp, but has a difficult time in trying to make a team.

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