Senior Bowl Preview: Defense

Drew Butler, P, Georgia- Butler is widely considered one of the best punters in the country. Will he be drafted? Who knows.

Audie Cole, LB, North Carolina State- Cole is a 6’5″ LB who has played both inside and outside. He makes plays sideline to sideline and could be one of the defensive players that helps himself the most in Mobile. A 4-5th round pick right now who needs to separate himself from the pack.

Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina- Coples coming into the season was projected to be the best defensive prospect in the country. He has a very disappointing senior year and in turn his stock has dropped. Coples has all the physical and natural ability and needs to prove he has the work ethic and effort to succeed. I am sure Coples will impress in Mobile and create some buzz around his stock again. IF he shines against top competition he will rise. I have him as a late first round pick right now.

Jack Crawford, DE, Penn State- Crawford has prototypical size for a DE, but has consistently underperformed and underwhelmed. Crawford lacks the athleticism and pass rush moves to be more than a rotational guy a the next level. I have a late round grade on him.

Mike Daniels, DL, Iowa- Undersized defensive tackle that plays with leverage and quickness. At barely 6 feet tall, he will need to show that he can hold up against top interior lineman. Upside as a sub-package pass rusher.

Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska- David is a very instinctive player who makes plays a ton of plays. David is solid in pass coverage and should test well at the combine. David is undersized and looks almost like a safety but he is a very solid football player. Needs to show that he can get off blocks vs top flight linemen. Ideal for a Tampa-2 team, David is a solid 2 round pick right now.

Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska- Dennard is one of the more physical corners in the draft. He plays his best in press coverage and has played well against tough competition this year. Lacks fluid hips and not technically sound. He got beat badly by Alshon Jeffery in the Capital One bowl and needs a solid week against fast, top competition to solidify his stock as 1st round CB.

Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma- Fleming is one of the most underrated prospects in the country. He is a fluid and balanced CB prospect who has very good play skills. Displays good instincts and plays with an attitude. Speed could be a question mark for him and I am very anxious to see him play this week. I have Fleming solidly in the second round.

Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College- Fletcher is a tall and long CB prospect who has good speed and good athletic ability. He has played mostly zone coverage at BC and hasn’t made a ton of big plays. He has a tendency to get lazy with this technique and I need to see him play more man to man against top flight competition. I have heard Fletcher has drawn a lot of interest from NFL teams including the New England Patriots.

Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt- Hayward is a ball hawking CB who makes a ton of big plays. Has a smooth back pedal and makes solid breaks on the ball. Not the biggest, fastest of most fluid CB, but he has very good instincts and should show it off in Mobile. A 2nd-3rd round pick depending on his post season performances.

Jaye Howard, DT, Florida- Howard is a very athletic DT, who plays can be very disruptive. Uses his hands very well and can get to the QB. Howard has been overshadowed by the big time recruits along the DL at Florida, but Howard is one of the most underrated DL in the country. I like Howard for a penetrating 4-3 team who needs an interior pass rush. 3rd-4th round grade.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Senior Bowl

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