I can't remember a draft when saw as many accomplished outside pass rushers! In particular, I really liked Brian Orakpo. He played with a great deal of energy, showed impressive athletic ability and consistently showed the get off quickness to beat a blocker off the go. I felt he had quick hands, showed an inside counter and can accelerate to the football. I believe he is going to have to get both bigger, stronger and not linger on blocks. Has a chance to be both an effective rusher off the edge in a four-three look, but I also believe he, has the hips, feet and ability to change direction.
Penn State' Aaron Maybin is another player with outstanding quickness, who can trim the edge and close to the football. Physically he reminds me a great deal of former Saints top selection first round selection Renaldo Turnbull, and although I don't believe he runs as well as Renaldo, he was much stronger in his play and far better getting off blocks. He's going to have to get bigger and improve his lower body strength, but overall I really liked his range, change of direction and burst. Could well contribute as a nickel rusher immediately and with maturity develop into a productive rusher.
Cornor Barwin has so much athletic ability and natural playing skills, it's scary! A former tight end, Connor adapted very quickly to the position change and actually led the Bearcats in sacks. He's sudden and explosive in his movement, showed excellent balance (particularly for a long limbed athlete) and was a highly competitive football player.
He's not as polished as you would want, but when you consider how fast and far he has come, it makes you realize just what a great upside this player possesses. He's going to have to improve his play versus the run (has a tendency to play with a high hat and I would like to see him control with his hands significantly better. A year ago, I don't think anyone would have predicted that Cornor would have had any chance of being drafted, much less possibly being selected in the first round of the draft!
Talk about surprises; U. of Tennessee' end Robert Ayers, wasn't even on the radar prior to the start of the 2008 season, but it didn't take him long to show the show that he was quickly going to develop into a real force on the outside. I particularly liked the way he got to the top of the rush, get small (dip his inside shoulder) and burst to the ball. He will vary his rush moves; swim, snatch and inside spin move. I also was impressed with his ability to get push as a bull rusher. Versus the run, I thought he controlled with his hands, played with good leverage and located the ball on the insides.
I wish he was a tad bigger and he is going to need to play under control more consistently, but I believe Robert is going to develop into a very protective pro football player.
Lawrence Sidbury is another player I saw for the first time versus Villanova. He played far bigger than his numbers might indicate. He has a powerful lower bodyand was explosive on contact. What really impressed me was his ability to come off the ball gain ground and convert speed to power. He was able to coordinate his hands and feet ans showed an effective rip move. Will need some coaching and the development of counter moves, but that should not be a problem.. This player competes hard and plays bigger than his numbers might indicate.
On paper nobody in this group can compare with Michael Johnson of Georgia Tech. He has size and can run like a scalded dog. My biggest problem is he is not particularly tough and his play was up and down; mostly down.
As a pass rusher he tended to hang on blocks and when his first move was not successful he tended to fold his tent. I just don't think he's very strong. He's built like a power forward and has the playing mentality of a track athlete (everything must be 100% for him to go). He lacks playing strength and when he got too rigid he was totally ineffective. I didn't lie his stance (awkward), but felt for a big man he had unusually good balance and was a smart, dedicated person off the football field. It is going to take some time, but in the end this player has the natural God-given talent to be something very special.
|2||Maybin, Aaron||Penn St||6037v||249v||4.77v||1.15|
|7||Brown, Everette||Florida St||6016v||256v||4.67v||1.19|
|9||Johnson, Michael||Georgia Tech||6067v||266v||4.71v||1.25|
|10||English, Larry||No Illinois||6021v||255v||4.83v||1.26|
|11||Bennett, Michael||Texas A&M||6034v||274v||5.04v||1.43|
|12||Williams, Brandon||Texas Tech||6024v||261v||4.98v||1.56|
|18||Evans, Maurice||Penn St||6015v||274v||4.97v||1.70|
|Campbell, Ian||Kansas St||6035v||265v||5.02v||1.80|
|Walters, Pierre||Eastern Illinois||6037v||266v||4.84v||1.80|
|Hill, Tommie||Colorado St||6054v||258v||4.76v||1.80|
|Anthony, Ledarius||Arkansas (PB)||6042v||263v||4.97v||1.90|
|Etukeren, Ataefiok||Georgetown (DC)||6025v||240v||4.82v||1.90|
|Lardinois, Joe||No Dakota St||6043v||266v||4.71v||1.90|
|Martin, Orion||Virginia Tech||6022v||262v||4.79v||1.90|