Position: Defensive End
Projected 40-Time: 4.80
Star Rating: Grade: 92
Draft Projection: 1st - 2nd Round
Star rating is based on a prospects standing (as of March 5th) in the 2010 Scout.com Draft Rankings. A prospects grade is measured on the following scale:
85-100 = 1st - 2nd
_70-84 = 3rd - 4th
_55-69 = 5th - 6th
_40-54 = 7th Round - UDFA
Strengths: Wootton is an explosive pass rusher who possesses an elite frame, long wingspan and quick first step. He’s versatile and has played inside and outside on the defensive line. He has a solid repertoire of moves and is able to fight off blockers with his strong hands. He disrupts an aerial attack by placing his long arms in the passing window, forcing the quarterback to alter his throwing motion. He shows the ability to drop in coverage and is fluid enough to defend tight ends on the perimeter. He’s a disciplined defender that displays patience and good awareness in run situations. He has uncanny agility for a man of his stature and is able to chase down the ballcarrier from behind. He plays the game with toughness and is a leader on defense.
Weaknesses: Despite his imposing size, he has a lean appearance and has to improve his upper and lower body strength. He has to initiate contact more often and set the tone physically against the opposition. He tends to play too high and can be handled at the line of scrimmage. He plays with an inconsistent motor and doesn’t always finish plays. He has to sink his hips better when tackling in space. Durability is a concern.Steuber Says: A four-year starter at Northwestern, Wootton has the size/speed combination that scouts salivate over and the versatility to star in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. There’s a lot to like about Wootton and the potential he has at the next level, but teams will be worried about his injury history. As a freshman, Wootton played in just three games after he suffered a significant neck injury and was forced to be redshirted. And in the 2008 Alamo Bowl, during the fourth quarter, Wootton sustained a torn ACL in his right knee. He played in every game in 2009, but it was apparent that his knee wasn’t 100-percent healthy, and that’s a major reason why he went from 10 sacks in ’08, to just four sacks in ’09. If Wootton checks out well medically this offseason and performs well during workouts, there’s a chance he will slip into the first round. But with all the underclassmen who declared and the talent that’s available on the defensive line, it’s likely that Wootton will fall into the second round. Teams that will have interest in Wootton at the end of the first round are the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 24), Baltimore Ravens (No. 25), San Diego Chargers (No. 28), New York Jets (No. 29) and Minnesota Vikings (No. 30).
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. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.