NEPD Editor: James Christensen
When two perennially good programs (Georgia and Florida) from the perennially best football conference (the SEC) play football, you’ve got to watch – especially when they have as many dynamic defensive players as these two teams have.
Here is a look at the top defenders on each team.
#22 SAF Matt Elam
-Lining up at safety, also playing on some special teams (kick coverage, kick block).
-Active coming up to support the run.
-Takes a poor initial angle but is able to chase down Crowell on the sideline.
-Closes very quickly from 12-yard cushion, perfect tackle to hold gain to a minimum.
-Recognizes run, chops down RB in the open field.
-Perfect open field tackling fundamentals, lays into the QB on a scramble.
-Doesn’t over-pursue, measured in his tackling power.
-Reading QB’s eyes while sticking with TE on crossing route, nearly makes an interception.
-Getting feisty after hitting TE who dropped pass.
-Closes so quickly – very good at seeing both the QB and keeping track of his man.
-Tackles through the ball carrier – knows how to deliver a solid hit.
-Sticks with TE on 12 yard in-route, but good route and throw beat him for a first down.
-Some iffy effort on goal line, went for the lazy strip attempt instead of the hit.
Overview: Elam showed the ability to cover a tight end (Orson Charles) in man coverage as well as support the run. He exhibited sound tackling fundamentals while delivering big hits. He was very vocal on the field and relished being in on plays – I’d want this guy to be on my football team. The safety class is loaded in 2013, but Elam should be in the top five conversation.
#3 OLB Jelani Jenkins
-Playing a variety of linebacker positions.
-Jumps offside trying to time up blitz.
-Shoots the C-gap and is able to bend around and tackle the back for a loss.
-Comes on a B-gap blitz, gets a piece of the RB and trips him up.
-Accelerates so quickly on the snap, pressures QB and gives him a good smack.
-Looks to be in charge of calling the audibles on defense.
-Picks his way through trash, but RB steps out of his ankle tackle.
Overview: Jenkins showed some good athleticism and instincts to his game. If Jenkins physicality and strength can mature, he could be a future first rounder.
#52 LB Jonathan Bostic
-Lining up at inside linebacker, also playing on some coverage units.
-Comes on a blitz, overwhelmed by guard.
-Also caught jumping offside on a blitz.
-Recognizes screen, able to gum up the play and help cause a deflection.
-Fights off a block from Cordy Glenn on the 2nd level, solid tackle on the RB.
-Shows good speed coming untouched after QB on blitz, but can’t bend and misses the sack.
-Showing ability to take on, shed and make the tackle.
-Flows to the ball – without over-pursuing – then closes and lays a hit on the RB.
-Reads the pattern sitting in zone, forces a throw away.
-Meets RB in the hole, but is pushed back a few yards while making tackle.
Overview: I was very impressed with Bostic. He was able to make plays in coverage, against the run and when blitzing. He didn’t show elite athleticism, but he could be a fringe starter as an NFL linebacker.
#73 DT Sharrif Floyd
-Seeing playing time at DT and both DE positions.
-Able to fight off Orson Charles and make the tackle.
-Working to a stalemate with the offensive line, anchoring but not getting much push.
-Strings out play, keeping his outside arm clean on outside run.
-Shrugs off Cordy Glenn to assist on a tackle, showing some good strength.
-Lines up wide, beats RT with a hesitation move and gets a hit on the quarterback.
-Crashes down the line, envelops RB trying to cut back.
-Unblocked, again hammers RB trying to cut away from Easley.
-Savvy move, flashing his helmet outside and then diving back inside to make the tackle.
-Doing a good job of keeping his arms out and controlling the OL.
-Chases down QB from behind, makes the big hit seven yards down the field – well conditioned.
-Quick off the ball, crashes down the line and slams RB to the ground.
-Powerful snap through his lower body, blows TE into the backfield and assists on the tackle for loss.
Overview: Floyd showed some true power against Georgia. He hits like a truck and used his upper and lower body strength to move blockers as he wished. He seems to have some of the finer details of defensive line play down and his future looks very bright.
#2 DT Dominique Easley
-Playing defensive tackle.
-Able to split a double team and pressure the quarterback.
-Sees another double team, very active trying to beat it.
-Loses his balance, getting his pads a little too much out in front of himself.
-Very quick off the snap, forces RB to cut earlier than he wanted.
-Quickly slips between double team, combines with Floyd on the tackle for loss.
-Again splits the offensive line and creates havoc in the backfield.
Overview: Easley showed some incredible quickness, consistently splitting blockers and causing chaos in the Georgia backfield. Attacking 1-gap teams are going to love this guy.
Georgia prospects, including Jarvis Jones, are listed on page two.