NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Loyko
Between Alabama and Florida you would be able to field a pretty successful NFL team, especially on the defensive side. While I could go on all day about NFL Prospects in this game, I am going to focus on only those who are draft eligible and ones whom I previewed on Thursday.
After reviewing the game tape, here is a breakdown of the draft eligible prospects that we were following during this game.
#4 S Mark Barron-
I have run hot and cold on Barron the last few years. There are times when I really like his game and times where I think he makes bad decisions and his mistakes are masked by how good the Alabama defense is. When all is said and down I think he is a second round pick.
- Barron is an “in the box” run support safety
- Takes good angles to the ball carrier, and can deliver a pop
- Solid tackling fundamentals, wraps up and puts head on the ball
- It appeared on film (although the TV copy isn’t the best), that they used him as the single high safety a couple of times
- Compared to some of the other Alabama DB’s Barron is much less athletic and much stiffer
- Second round grade
#21 CB Dre Kirkpatrick-
In my Thursday breakdown I made the statement that “Dre Kirkpatrick is the best CB in the 2011 draft, and it’s not close”, if you only watched the first quarter you probably thought I was nuts. However, when April comes around Kirkpatrick’s combination of size, speed and agility paired with his physicality will be unmatched among CB’s. He’s a surefire 1st round pick.
- Got beaten on the first play for a long touchdown by Andre DeBose and then got beaten again on a speed fade for another touchdown, but that one was eventually overturned, beaten mainly because he failed to get a jam on the receiver at the line
- The most physical corner in college football, hits like a LB, not afraid to take on a RB
- Active in run support, would like to see him blitz some more
- His height and athleticism allow him to match up with almost any WR.
- Is able to break on the ball and close in on the WR in a split second
- Watched his hips carefully on film, impressed with how quick he can turn and run
- Should be able to play in multiple systems in the pros, probably best suited for a man to man bump and run, however he should be fine in any zone coverage
- Won’t get out of the top 15 in the upcoming draft
#89 TE Michael Williams-
If you have read my breakdown’s you know that I think Michael Williams is a hell of a football player and really underrated in prospect terms. While he is not the pass catching, move all over the formation TE like Aaron Hernandez is, he is one of the best blockers in the country.
- Outstanding blocker, on more than one occasion when I couldn’t see the numbers I honestly thought Williams was the tackle, his footwork and fundamentals make you think he is a tackle.
- Can simply over power weaker defensive lineman
- A better pass catcher than people think, doesn’t run many routes, but can be effective in red zone and in the middle of the field
- Massive, at 6-6 270 he can’t be covered, however his lack of speed and agility is evident
- Reminds me of Alge Crumpler later in his career
- Only a junior, but with a such poor TE class I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to declare
#99 NT Josh Chapman-
Chapman is one of the fastest rising prospects this season. He reminds me a lot to former BC and current GB Packer NT BJ Raji, both in terms of build and the way they play the game. Raji was relatively unheralded heading into his senior year and rose up the draft all the way to #9 overall. I think Chapman is on the verge of being a lock for round 1.
- So tough to get pushed off the line, uses his strength to anchor himself, and keeps his pads low
- Splits double teams, and really allows the Bama LB to run free
- A better athlete than people think
- Able to shed blocks, and make tackles at LOS
- Has one of the biggest lower bodies I have ever seen, legs look like tree trunks
- Able to bull rush and over power blockers when pass rushing
- I think Chapman could interest the Patriots at some point in the upcoming draft
#41 OLB Courtney Upshaw-
On Thursday I did a preview of Dont’a Hightower and expected to be breaking him down. However after watching the game and re-watching the film, I was much more impressed with Upshaw and am now convinced that he is the better pro prospect of the two. In terms of the Patriots if there is ever and OLB who is perfect for a Bill Belichick defense I would have to think Upshaw fits on a lot of levels.
- Well built, thick, extremely big legs
- Able to play multiple positions in many different situations, stands up and rushes from a stance
- Love the way he sets the edge in run support, blows up the tackle and keeps contain
- At 6’2” 265 pounds he has that big frame that can hold up in run support
- Attacks the LOS and uses his hands to fend off the offensive lineman
- Really good athlete for such a big OLB, doesn’t get overpowered much
- Motor is always running, plays a violent game
- Had a return for a touchdown
- Has all the tools needed to be a OLB in the Patriots defense, size, versatility, football IQ
- Mid-Late first round pick with stock rising
#4 WR Marques Maze-
Maze goes unnoticed at times because so much attention is paid to the Alabama run game, however Maze seems to produce game in and game out.
- Seems to be a very smart football player
- Ideal slot WR at next level
- Really good hands, and route running concepts
- Extremely shifty, eludes contact and gets good YAC
- Body control on sideline passes is impressive
- Patient when thrown the screen, allows blockers to set up blocks, sees the field well
- Another Alabama player whose stock is on the rise
#6 DT Jaye Howard, Florida-
Howard is the only draft eligible prospect on the Gator’s defensive line, I was impressed by his athleticism, motor and ability to get off blocks. While he lines up at nose tackle, I think his athletic frame will allow him to play a penetrating tackle position and even the end in a 3-4 defense. He’s definitely overshadowed by the uber-prospects on the Florida defense, but Howard will be drafted in April.
#28 Jeff Demps, Florida-
The only other draft eligible prospect on Florida who really stood out much to me was Jeff Demps. The first thing you notice with Demps is his speed; he really may be the fastest football player I have seen in a long time. Most likely to small to play RB in the pros he should be a return specialist, and could be used as a weapon all over the offense. Truly a game changer, gets up to top speed in a hurry and can out run anyone.