Scout.com has confirmed that representatives from the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams will be in Raleigh, North Carolina this Thursday night to see NC State host South Carolina.
Scouts in attendance will get a good look at two of the nation’s top defensive players, South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood and NC State defensive end Willie Young. Norwood originally declared for the 2009 NFL Draft after the Wolfpack’s 31 – 10 loss to Iowa in the Outback Bowl. But a few days after making that statement, Norwood decided to return to school for his senior year. Young also contemplated leaving school early and submitted his name to the NFL Advisory Board for feedback on his draft status, and after discussing his future with his family and coaches, it was in his best interest to return to school.
Norwood finished the 2008 season with 75 tackles, 14.5 for a loss and nine sacks, and Young was equally impressive recording 58 tackles, 12.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks and an interception.
At 6-foot, 252 pounds, Norwood is short in stature, but plays much larger than his listed size, and has been one of the most dominant pass rushers in the SEC over the last two seasons. An explosive rush end that possesses a quick first step and a desire to succeed, Norwood is ferocious off the edge and makes a lot of plays in the backfield. He’s a hard worker that plays with good pad level and achieves leverage with his quickness. He takes advantage of a bigger opposition with his speed and deceptive strength. He uses his hands well and demonstrates excellent balance and body control. As disruptive as Norwood can be, his size remains his biggest flaw. He tends to get caught up in the mix and doesn’t consistently shed blocks. He plays overly aggressive at times and doesn’t always position himself correctly to make a play. Norwood is currently the 8th rated outside linebacker in Scout.com’s 2010 NFL Draft Rankings.
Young is an impressive athlete who has outstanding size at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, and possesses the athleticism necessary to be a phenomenal pass rusher at the next level. Young is coming off of a solid year despite being benched for two games by Head Coach Tom O’Brien for his uninspired play. But he got his act together and displayed his true talent the remainder of the year. A hybrid type of defender who may be classified as a tweener during the draft process, Young has outstanding quickness off the snap and always seems to be in the middle of the action. He uses his frame to his advantage by using his wingspan to interfere with the opposition’s passing game. Despite not being the strongest player, he plays with good balance and is a factor due to his rangy nature. He shows the ability to change direction with ease and makes tackles in pursuit. He has to play lower as he tends to get engulfed at the line of scrimmage. Young is currently the 11th rated defensive end by Scout.com.Norwood and Young are not the only prospects that will receive attention on Thursday night, scouts will also keep an eye on: from NC State: center Ted Larsen, offensive tackle Jeraill McCuller, defensive tackle Alan-Michael Cash and running backs Jamelle Eugene and Toney Baker. In addition to Norwood, safety Darian Stewart is the other top senior prospect on South Carolina’s roster; center Garrett Anderson will also receive some interest. But the highest rated players on the Gamecocks’ roster may be their underclassmen; redshirt sophomore quarterback Stephen Garcia and a trio of juniors that includes offensive tackle Jarriel King, safety Chris Culliver and tight end Weslye Saunders.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.