Thursday, April 14, 2011

Scouting The NFL Draft - Big East/ACC Defensive Linemen

Onto the second part of my analysis of the top prospects in this upcoming NFL Draft (which you will see, has a very heavy focus on the defensive line). Today we look at three guys from the ACC and a defensive end out of the Big East.  Onto the players, or as the kids are saying, playaz (I'm pretty hip).

Allen Bailey - This may have been my favorite tape to watch, as there was literally NOTHING to get excited about in his game against Florida State. He didn't show speed, he didn't show quickness, he didn't show strength, he simply didn't show anything. I have no clue why people thought he was an athletic freak (which he proved he wasn't at the combine), but I wouldn't even look at him as anything more than an undrafted free agent (To be fair, most people don't see him as more than a late round pick, but I figured since I had to watch his boring tape, I'd at least get an extra review out of it).

DaQuan Bowers - Bowers has been one of the most volatile players during this period before the draft. He was talked about as the first overall pick, and now some say he could slip to the middle of the first round or possibly even later. He was recovering from an injury when he tested out for his pro day, and most people were disappointed with his performance. After watching his tape against Maryland, I really don't know what they expected, because he doesn't look that fast on tape. He makes up for it by doing a very good job of reading plays and putting himself in good position to make an impact. He's most known for his pass rush as he led the NCAA in sacks, but there are some big questions for how it will translate to the next level. He was able to explode by guys in college, but his explosiveness didn't wow me. And he really needs to develop a second move, because he relies on trying to get around the edge with decent speed, a good motor, and great instincts. He used an inside spin move once, and it was successful, but didn't look all that smooth. Even though it was only play, Bowers looked very explosive when coming in from a standing linebacker position as he shot straight through a gap in the middle of the Maryland line. I think he's a 4-3 end in the NFL, but I would like to see teams move him around a little bit to get the full benefits of his talent. He desperately needs an interior move, but I think his instincts make his physical attributes play up. I see him as a Top-10 guy on talent, but a lot of that will depend on what teams find out from his physical.

Robert Quinn - One thing that I love is that probable first round offensive tackle, Anthony Castonzo, said that Robert Quinn was the toughest guy he played against. Conveniently, I was able to find some of the tape of North Carolina playing against Boston College. For defensive lineman, I don't think anybody does a better job of dipping their inside shoulder than Quinn. It's very tough for an offensive lineman to get leverage on a guy when he is able to avoid contact like that. At times, he'd just fly around Castonzo, but he also showed a solid inside move. Maybe the most impressive thing is that it was rare to see him get blown off the line, despite not being a very big defensive end. He struggled a little when looking to contain the run, but with his size, that's not real surprising since it's a situation where the offensive lineman gets to attack and the defensive end is just trying to hold his ground to redirect the play inside. Quinn was a two-time state wrestling champion in high school. That pretty much guarantees that I am going to like him more than other prospects based just off that. Although I could see him doing well as a 3-4 outside linebacker, I see him as having Pro Bowl potential as a 4-3 end, and despite having to take a year off last year, I see him as a Top-5 talent.

Jabaal Sheard - I watched the tape of Jabaal Sheard against Miami, and he interested me a lot more than I thought he would.  He plays very fast and gets a good jump off the line of scrimmage. He's not a huge guy, so I'm not sure how well he'll be able to handle the run, as he looked more explosive than powerful. He didn't really show any sort of inside move, as all of his pressure came from just getting around the tackle. I like him most as a 3-4 OLB where he can use that explosiveness to cause havoc in the backfield. and in the Miami game, he showed enough speed and quickness to handle coverage when necessary.


P.S. If there's one thing I love, it's articles mocking clutch performance. This article does an excellent job of that.

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