NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed
Today I got a chance to check out some players I hadn’t seen much of yet, the North defense.
I tried to pay special attention to some of the linebackers, because with a lot of the drills the Minnesota coaches are running, it’s sometimes tough to get a grasp of these players.
-NC State LB Audie Cole is a big player at 6’4″ 258, and he showed some nice footwork working with coach Mike Singletary. Cole can really pack a punch in the run game. I question his speed, but he’s a powerful player who will be able to fight through blocks.
-Utah State LB Bobby Wagner looked really fluid out there today. He looked solid in coverage and looks like he could play OLB or ILB depending on the scheme. He did a nice job staying low, and showed a good burst on impact.
-Cal Poly CB Asa Jackson has really impressed me as well. He’s a smaller just at just under 5’10”, but he’s solid and fast. He hasn’t had much trouble matching up with guys from bigger schools. Jackson looks good in his backpedal and makes his transitions look fluid. There’s a lot of potential in Jackson. He plays very physical for a small corner.
-Penn State DE Jack Crawford is another interesting guy with a lot of upside. He’s only been playing football since his junior year of college, but he looks very strong, consistently pushing back much bigger offensive tackles in drills. He’s got decent moves, but those will improve while he continues to learn.
-Nebraska LB LaVonte David looks really small, but he’s quick and looks good in coverage. He’s best suited for a Tampa 2, it will be interesting to see if he can bulk up a little bit.
-Arkansas State LB DeMario Davis seemed to catch Singletary’s eye out there. He was really fluid in his linebacker drills and always seemed to be around the ball. He may have trouble fighting through linemen, but if he gets a chance to start, he could gather a lot of tackles.
-Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard could be a solid player in the right system, but he’s limited. He’s poor out of his transitions and will get beat if he has to turn and run. He’s better with his eyes to the QB, and makes nice breaks when he can see the ball. He’s an accomplished run stopper, but if he’s ever forced to turn and run, he could get beat for six.
-Michigan DT Mike Martin might be the strongest player down here. He’s tough to move out of the nose and stands his ground really well. He’s a former wrestler with a really impressive physique.