This is part two of a piece that started with a look a 5 offensive players that The Football Educator felt were getting lost in the hype of all the mockery of 1st round mock drafts.
Way too much attention is paid to the top 30 or 40 college prospects in the mock draft process. Most media pundits take a look at the last post of players and just tweak a selection here or there. If your editor is asking for a mock draft you make one, but few have the time or the skills to sit down and do the dirty work of evaluation. Shoot it’s hard for me to get it all done. Here are 5 on defense that I would take a legitimate shot at.
(S) Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International – Cyprien isn’t a major force at the LOS but is a willing support factor vs the run. He’ll come off the edge & stack w/ leverage, but shows inconsistent shed. He will fill inside and can face up tackle. Shows good over the top speed to support corners from deep 1/3. Has excellent up field burst & acceleration, will strike the receiver in the flat. A physical force. Cyprien is more of a free safety, centerfield type player in the secondary with excellent key & diagnose. Quick to read & react.
(LB) Arthur Brown, Kansas State – Intriguing linebacker prospect that falls somewhere between a WILL & MIKE in body build and athletic skills. Scrape & flow player with good lateral agility, speed & burst to perimeter. Reads & reacts well, keeps good positional leverage, uses hands to fend/shed block, then quick with downhill fill. Works way through trash and will face up to tackle. Flashes in zone and is OK with short area breakdown. I like him better in man where he can hang with TE up the field. Quick reaction to playaction pass. Flexibility with versatile skills.
(DE) Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, Florida State – An ACL injury has some teams looking at Tank cautiously, but this player is probably a bit more highly considered than actually talked about. Carradine shows excellent upper body press & foot movement to keep outside leverage. Has the lower strength to stack the edge, upper power/qks to shed and redirect back to ball. Plays with good bend, fends off blocks well. Shows good lateral flow off backside pursuit. In pass rush has an explosive 1st step, really feel his length at the snap. Uses hands well and can turn a tight corner off separation. Tank shows a nice mix of hand combat with rip & dip, swat & swim. Flash burst to close to QB off shed. Strength to take the inside gap.
(DC) Jamar Taylor, Boise State – Confident and demonstrative player on the field. Shows some of the skills to back it up. Game is a bit inconsistent versus the run but shows willingness off the edge & burst closure to the ball. Effective corner blitzer. Undercut tackler who’ll head duck at times, short area COD can be up and down. Willing attacker up the alley. Big playmaker in Bronco defense vs the pass. Shows downfield speed and positional leverage in man cover. Nice feet and hip turn in transition, will play the ball at high point. Stronger in his instincts with man vs zone coverage. There are some tools to work with here.
(LB) Jamie Collins, Southern Mississippi – Outside linebacker in 3-4 with outstanding athletic tools. 6 of 7 EPA at the Combine. Outstanding length with upper, functional strength to press and set the edge. Keeps excellent leverage and lateral flow. Quicks & burst back to ball. Backside chase speed, closure, and short area ability to finish. Folds well inside off initial upfield charge. Can take the inside gap vs run. Strong wrap tackler. Vs Pass shows agility to drop to flat and redirect to receiver. Plays ball well with quick hands & long reach. Skills as a rusher with explosive 1st step at the snap. Quicks to gap penetrate, leverage to beat the down block. Burst closure to QB. Plays with combo of athletic skills that show in his production.
Like on the offensive side of the ball, these five on defense aren’t attracting a lot of attention in the media’s mocks. But the core of a team can come from a few other places than just the top 32 players. Keep an eye on these players being passed over by the pundits.