Top 10 Senior Bowl Prospects from the North - Defense

Scout takes a look at the Top 10 defensive prospects from North squad at the Senior Bowl.

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1. NT - Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, USC - We asked Tu'ikolovatu how what the key is to anchor down in the middle and keep double teams from moving him back too far. He wasn't sure how he does it, but we have a pretty good idea - he's a powerful 6-foot-1, 350 pounds. That helps. But don't think about the big uglies with the massive guts. He's built solid and strong and loves to trash talk … then smile about it. He was incredibly consistent from day to day, making big plays in the running game, even when he was double-teamed. Some draft analysts had him as a late-round pick prior to Senior Bowl week, but his stock should be rising. 

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2. DE -  Chris Wormley, Michigan - An ideal blend of size (6-foot-5½, 297) and speed for an NFL defensive end in a 4-3 system, nobody displayed better and more consistent pass-rushing speed in Mobile this week than Wormley. He's quick off the snap, good at splitting double teams and can get to the quarterback. He also has one of the biggest wingspans among Senior Bowl players.

3. CB - Rasul Douglas, West Virginia - At 6'2 and 204 pounds, Douglas has the size at corner that NFL general managers crave. Because he moved so well in drills, Douglas didn't seem to be that big. he moved like a 5'10 corner with a lower center of gravity. He is incredibly physical and uses his hands well in press and to knock away a ball. The biggest knock on him has been his health, but out at Senior Bowl practice, Douglas looked healthy, and terrific

4. Safety - John Johnson , Boston College - When watching the defensive backs go through drills, Johnson had a different gait with his back pedal, turn and run; he glides. He could visibly accelerate in his backpedal, and there was no wasted motion when he would flip his hips and run deep. Johnson checked in at 6'0 5/8" and 205 pounds. He has the skills to play corner in some schemes, but he can also drop right in and play free safety in the NFL. When the practices went to seven on seven or full scrimmage situation, Johnson was as solid in coverage as he looked in drills. He was the best looking safety on either team.

5. CB - Desmond KingIowa - At 5'10 1/8" and 206 pounds, King doesn't have the height that Douglas does at corner, but he still has plenty of size and strength packed into that frame. The most fundamentally sound of the corners for the North, King had great technique. He might be the most ready of the defensive backs to step in right away in the NFL. 

6. OLB - Haasan Reddick,  Temple - Reddick immediately caught our eyes during drills because of his athleticism. Checking the roster, he was listed at 6'1 and 230 pounds, standing eye to eye with Michigan's Ben Gedeon who was listed 6'3 and 247. Something didn't measure up. When the official heights and weights were released, Reddick was 6'1.5 and 237 pounds, while Gedeon was 6'1 5/8" and 243 pounds. That's more like it. Reddick's athleticism in agility drills translated to production on the field as he was the North's best pass rusher from the linebacker spot, and he was good in coverage as well. While not blessed with proto-type height, Reddick has plenty big enough, and has plus athleticism.

7. CB - Jourdan LewisMichigan  - At 5'10 and 188 pounds, Lewis plays much bigger than that because he's so physical at the line of scrimmage. Lewis didn't look as comfortable in his turn and release as other defenders like Douglas and King, but he jammed receivers at the line as well or better than either of the two corners who had roughly twenty pounds on him. Ideally suited for a press and release type of scheme or to drop into the slot to cover shorter, quicker receivers in tight spaces. Lewis is a disrupter more than a smooth outside cover man.

8. ILB - Ben GedeonMichigan  - Yes, there was a lot of Wolverine representation on the North Defense. Michigan didn't finish No. 1 in the nation in total defense for nothing. Gedeon (6'1 5/8" / 247) was a standout against the run in all three days of practice. He's strong and physical with good instincts. He struggled at times on his pass rush drills, but he may be best suited as a two down inside linebacker who goes to the sidelines in passing situations anyway.

9. DT -  Jaleel Johnson, Iowa - Considered a Day 2 pick, we're not sure he's going that high. He didn't display a lot of great pass-rushing moves, but he has a knack for following and getting to the action. He would struggle during one on one drills, and then he'd live in the backfield during the scrimmages. He seems to get penetration by finding the right angle rather than a big array of moves, but there have been plenty of smart players to overcome potential athletic limitations.

10. OLB - Carroll Phillips, Illinois - Phillips checked in at 6'3 1/4" and 237 pounds and was a standout on the pass rush. With good length and quickness Phillips was using quickness to beat offensive linemen and tight ends for sacks in both drills and scrimmage situations.

Tim Yotter contributed to this report


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