Cory Grissom, DT, South Florida (6’2/316) – Nicknames “Porkchop”, Grissom was the best defensive lineman in the Big East in 2012. He plays with good leverage and can move pretty well for a 320 pound player. He gets good initial movement off the snap and was faced with many double teams this past year. He still found a way to be disruptive with his great motor and effort. When he shoots his hands off the snap to stay clean he can be tough to block. Porkchop, might not be well known now, but I have a feeling he will be by the end of the week.
Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State (6’1/295) – When you watch Hill the first thing that stands out about him is his relentless motor and his tenacity. That phrase gets tossed around a lot but, it really describes Hill. If the opposing OL takes a play off, Hill is goign to make him pay. He’s undersized for an NFL defensive tackle, but he makes up for it with effort on each and every play. He’s got good movement and changes direction skills. As a pass rusher he uses his hands well to free himself and fight to the QB. He fights his way through blocks despite losing leverage. Team leader on and off the field. He will get a chance somewhere in the NFL.
Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist (6’8/280) – Hunt is a physical monster. At 6’8″ he displays incredible athleticism and ability for a person of that height. The problem with Hunt is that he is new to the game of football and lacks polish. He needs to work on his technique and way too often he loses leverage. He has great natural strength, but doens’t always translate that to football strength. Hunt had an unbelievable bowl game, which has left everyone wanting to see more of that. He’ll be one of the most watched players this week.
John Jenkins, DT, Georgia (6’4/363) – Massive NT prospect who has very good athleticism for his size. He moves really well and creates pressure and disruption in the backfield. A player of his size is always going to have the weight concerns, but if he can keep them under-control, he could be a disruptive force in the NFL. While he played a lot of nose at Georgia he has enough quickness and lateral mobility to play in a 4-3. Either way he is one of the best interior tackles in this year’s draft class, but he does have a few off the field concerns that will have to be answered.
Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama (6’2/245) – A natural 3-4 ILB prospect. Johnson is solid vs. the run and shows the ability to take on blocks, shed and bring down the ball carrier. He’s got a great frame and good playing strength. His ceiling isn’t as high as other Bama backers, but he has developed a role for himself and with more and more NFL teams moving to a 3-4 he will have value. He’s not a great athlete and struggles to play in space or cover, so he’s likely limited to 1st and 2nd down in the NFL.
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA (6’4/275) – Jones is a physical specimen, thick and muscle bound. He’s a great athlete and possesses excellent burst off the snap. He does a great job of getting into the backfield and tracking down the ball carrier. When he sees the play and trusts it, he can be incredibly explosive. He’s powerful tackler and explodes in his closing steps. Jones can play either DE in either a 3 or 4 man front and I think he can play DT in pass rush situations. His overall instinct need improvement, but with his incredible build, powerful burst Jones is going to be a highly sought after prospect in April’s draft.
Robert Lester, SAF, Alabama (6’2/215) – After his Sophomore season when he intercepted seven passes it looked like he was going to the next star safety prospect, but it has been a struggle since then. Lester has struggled with consistency, mostly due to his limited range and poor angles. At 6’2 he struggles to open his hips an change direction. Despite all that, he has pretty good instincts when reading the QB and very good ball skill. I thought he played really well in the National Championship game, and while his stock isn’t as high as it once was, I believe Lester could still be a productive NFL player.
T.J. McDonald, SAF, USC (6’2/205) – Very good natural athlete with tremendous burst and closing ability. McDonald is one of the biggest hitters in the draft, almost to a determent because he tries to make the big hit too often. Has very good size for a FS and looks to be a fluid athlete. Very good range and ability, but has been inconsistent over the last two years. I don’t think he was a great fit in Monte Kiffin’s defense. The knock on McDonald is that he gets very overaggressive and that leads to missed tackles and poor angles in coverage. On ability alone McDonald could be the top safety, but he needs to make more positive plays. Son of former NFL Safety Tim McDonald.
Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State (5’10/190) – Very good zone cornerback. Has experience playing press coverages, but don’t think he’s physical enough to do it in NFL. Good instincts and anticipation when in zone coverage, passes off the wide receiver and makes quick, decisive breaks on the ball. Might project best to slot corner, but I believe he has the ability to play both. McFadden has clean fluid hips and can move laterally with ease. He’s made a number of big plays for the Aztecs over the last two seasons. It’s a very good cornerback crop in Mobile this year and McFadden will be battling for one of the top corner spots.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas (6’5/260) – NFL ready frame, Okafor should be able to contribute right away on an NFL defensive line. He does a good job of converting his speed to power when pass rusher. Doesn’t bend and run the corner as good as other linemen, but possesses better playing strength and ability to bull-rush. Okafor struggles at time vs. the run because he takes a round-a-bout rush route, leaving large running lanes inside. He needs to learn how to maintain inside leverage while rushing. Okafor does a good job of uses his hands to both get leverage and rip inside. Okafor is talked about a a potential first round pick, but I like him in the second round better. Either way he could be in for a big week.
Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M (6’2/230) – Was once thought to be the heir apparent to Von Miller, but was quickly passed by Damontre Moore. Porter is an athletic edge rusher, but struggles with the physical aspects of the game. He’s coming off a down season where he only mustered 3.5 sacks after posting 9.5 the season before. Porter gets walled off and pushed out of the gap too easily when playing the run, and it’s obvious he needs to become stronger and more physical. He has displayed impressive acceleration as an edge rusher at times, but Porter is a player I have lots of questions about.
Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State (5’11/190) – One of the top Senior corners in the nation this past season. Poyer is an excellent athlete who also returned kicks this past year. He led the Pac-12 with 7 interceptions, and exhibits natural ball skills. He finds the ball in the air and has the ability to go up and get it. Oregon State did a lot of different things with him, from lining him up in the slot to playing press man coverage with him. He usually covered the best opposing WR and did a solid job week in and week out. One of the top cover corners in this years draft.
Bacari Rambo, SAF, Georgia (6’0/210) – Rambo is a free safety prospect whose size and speed translate well to the NFL. Rambo is a big time play maker hauling in 11 INTs over the last two seasons. He’s got good ball skills and can cover a lot of ground quickly. Compared to other safeties here, Rambo takes good angles and anticipates plays well. Was named team captain in 2012, after an All-American junior campaign. But, he does have some off the field concerns as he was suspended the first four games of the season for failed drug tests.
Kevin Reddick, ILB, North Carolina (6’2/240) – Reddick is a what you would expect from a North Carolina defensive prospect. He has excellent tools in that he is fast, fluid and comes downhill really well. I think he’s stiff in the hips and might not be as natural as a Tampa-2 backer as people project him. With that being said, like many UNC prospects before him his effort level on a play to play basis is questionable. This past year Reddick showed his ability as a pass rusher and blitzer by posting 6.5 sacks. The bottom line on Reddick is that he has very good physical tools and actually seems to diagnose things quickly, but his motor and effort aren’t on par with other ILB in this draft.