Blue-Gray Preview: The Defense

As we get ready to kick off our Blue-Gray coverage tomorrow we'll also focus on the defenders that fill both rosters. The talent on this side of the ball is not as strong as the offense but there are small school players we plan on watching.

On the defensive line Arkansas State has a pair of very good tackle prospects to watch. Corey Williams is an athletic load in the middle that clogs the field defending the run yet also does an adequate job rushing the passer.  He's close to carrying a first day grade and a solid weekend of practices could seal the deal for him. Teammate Jon Bradley is a bit smaller but explosive and a prospect that may find a home as a three technique lineman. Western Carolina's Michael Spicer is another fine athlete that plays with great speed and hustle. He's been a demon on the I-AA level yet a lack of height (6-foot 1-inch) will cause a problem. Still a team could become enamored with him as a third down rush specialist if he performs well in Montgomery. Damane Duckett has played both tackle and end at East Carolina and looks to be a solid two-gap prospect in a three-four. Anthony Maddox of Delta State is an over-aged prospect built for nose-tackle. He is exceptionally strong and overpowers opponents on a small school level not paying much attention to technique. He'll need a big weekend at the Blue-Gray. Brandon Calton of East Tennessee State is a player we will be watching. Though he's listed as a defensive tackle he has the size and athleticism to be a solid left defensive end at the next level. He works out well, plays hard and now must shine against a collection of better talent.

 Small schools offer two outside linebackers to watch. Steve Baggs of Bethune Cookman is an intelligent defender that really likes to mix it up and is best in the box. Hofstra's Renauld Williams is an athletic linebacker with weak-side size and strength. Both have been productive collegians.

 The defensive backfield took a hit when Ricardo Colclough of Tusculum, Joey Thomas of Montana State and Keith Smith of McNeese State all bypassed this game in favor of the Senior Bowl. Randee Drew of Northern Illinois is a little undersized but has jumped out this year while Chadron State's Marvin Jackson could be a real sleeper coming into the draft. Jackson has excellent size/speed numbers, cover skills and is a shut down corner at a D-II level. He's been productive four years running not only as a corner but also as a return specialist and will get a lot of looks this weekend.

 Note:  The TFY Draft Preview will be offering full coverage of all Blue-Gray practices to the premium subscribers starting Saturday. Reports on how each player did every day at practice will be posted, as will whom NFL teams are looking at in Montgomery plus rumors swirling around the field.

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