2013 Senior Bowl: Defense Preview

Kawann Short, DT, Purdue (6’3/315) – Short is a player who I thought made a lot of improvement in his Senior Year. He’s got great size and movement skills. Purdue moved him all over the place playing him at 3 tech, 5 tech and NT. He’s got very good quickness and has been one of the most disruptive DL in college football. This past season he tallied 15.5 TFL and 7 sacks. He can play a number of different ways, as he can win with quickness off the snap and slant from gap to gap or he can anchor at the line vs. double teams. He has more pass rush potential than most interior tackles. During his junior year I thought Short’s effort level came and went, but he was much more consistent this season and seemed to be in better playing shape. Short is a unique player in that I think he can play in almost every system, he’s sure to be one of the most watched players this week.

John Simon, DE/OLB, Ohio State (6’2/260) – Ferocious pass rusher who gives max effort on each play. Demonstrates a good ability to use his hands to free himself, as well as to get extension from OT and redirect. He’s a versatile player who played DE, OLB and ILB at Ohio State. Many project him to a 3-4 OLB in the NFL, but I think he could play DE in a 4-3 because he’s developed some more advanced pass rush moves.  Simon is a two-time captain and his teammates rave about his leadership ability. Simon reminds me of a Mike Vrabel, Rob Ninkovich type player for the way they get the most out of their skills and continue to make big plays in big situations.

D.J. Swearinger, SAF, South Carolina (5’11/210) – Physical, aggressive and hard hitting safety. Emerged as the vocal leader of the South Caroline defense this season. He’s  has a solid and compact build and has the ability to play both safety positions in my opinion. He has shown that he can come up to the line and play press man coverage vs. a wide receiver. Swearinger will interest teams for his ability to be an intimidating type of safety who is aggressive, will take chances and make plays both as a run support safety, but also in coverage. Swearinger spent a lot of time on special teams coverage units earlier in his career and could fill that role in the NFL as well.

Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State (5’11/198) – Good height and bulk for the position. Has fluid hips and shows the ability to open them up and run vertically. Taylor is another sound zone cornerback, who shows good anticipation and react skills. Active in run support, not overly aggressive like a Banks, but will stick his head in to make a tackle. Tracks the deep ball well, while keeping track of receiver. Anxious to see Taylor matched up vs. some of the elite senior WR this week in Mobile.

Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford (6’4/248) – Thomas is a natural 3-4 OLB who gives  you some good pass rush, but is also very good as a run defender, especially setting the edge. Thomas plays with good outside leverage and will force the RB to cut back towards the middle of the field. As a pass rusher he provides timely pass rush, as he plays with good leverage, has an array of pass rush moves and has a non-stop motor. He’s definitely not as explosive as other edge rushers, but Thomas is a smart, reliable and sound football player who will hear his name called on day two of the draft.

Phillip Thomas, SAF, Fresno State (6’1/215) –  As James Christensen’s scouting report says “Thomas is the “Troy Polamalu” of the Bulldogs’ new 3-4 defense and does a lot of the same things that the Steelers safety is asked to do. He can attack the ball and receivers from a single high safety position, rush from the edge, support the run from inside the box, or cover receivers running down the field.He has very good feet for a bigger corner and his physical play sets him apart from a lot of guys that can tally eight interceptions in a season.Thomas’ major flaw is his open field tackling. He stays a little high through the process, failing to sink his hips to allow for better lateral quickness”. It’s a talented safety group this year and Mobile and Thomas will be jockeying with the others for the top honors at the position.

Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington (6’0/186) – Brother of NFL CB Marcus Trufant. Desmond is an aggressive corner with good height and length for the position. He has experience playing out of the slot and out wide, but has the feet and hips to play either position.  Trufant reads the QB well in zone coverage and can make breaks quickly. He’s a very good cover corner and doesn’t give the WR much room in any coverage. When you take into account his instincts, athleticism, fluidity and background, Trufant is a safe bet to become an impactful corner at the next level.

Kenny Vaccaro, SAF, Texas (6’1/218) – Perhaps the best free safety in this year’s draft, Vaccaro will also have the tag as the most versatile defensive back as well. Vaccaro is fluid in coverage and spent much of this year as a slot corner. He’s got good zone coverage instincts and certainly has the athleticism to cover in man to man. Aside from FS, Vaccaro could play SS, star CB and even outside CB in a pinch. He will mix it up in the run game and can blitz off the edge. Vaccaro does have some possible red flags off the field and will do his own thing at times on the field. With a big week in Mobile, Vaccaro will have even more people anxious to get their hands on him during the draft.

Cornelius Washington, OLB, Georgia (6’4/268) – Another last second edition to the Senior Bowl mix. Washington has the perfect frame to play DE/OLB in the NFL. He has enough size and strength to be an “elephant” in a 3-4 front or play with his hand in the dirt. Not the most explosive rusher, but gets by with his power rush moves. Washington like other Georgia defensive prospects has off the field issues as he was arrest during his time at Georgia.

B.W. Webb, CB, William & Mary (5’10/180) – Webb was named the Colonial Athletic Association Special Teams player of the year thanks to his electric return skills. He’s a quick twitch athlete who burst onto the scene by intercepting 8 passes as a junior. Like the CB last year it can really elevate a prospects stock by matching up vs. top competition and holding their own. Even if Webb struggles in coverage due to his slight frame and lack of strength, he will have draft value because of his return and special teams ability.

J.J. Wilcox, SAF, Georgia Southern (6’0/215) – Another FCS product who will test his ability against the top receivers and top QBs in the nation. Wilcox is one of the most interesting prospects in the Senior Bowl in that he has only played SS for one season. Up until this season Wilcox was a RB, but made the switch to defense this season. Besides playing SS he was the primary kick returner averaging 25.2 per kick.

Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern (6’3/325) – The only Division II prospect in this year’s game. Williams dominated the competition over the last three seasons and capped his career off by tallying 16.5 TFL and 8.5 sacks. For a 330 pound DT he moves extremely well for his size. He’s got quick feet and combines that with good power. Williams’ is more than just a big body, he’s got the quickness and athleticism of an NFL DT. Williams hasn’t played against this level of competition yet, if he has a good week, he’s going to skyrocket.

Shawn Williams, SAF, Georgia (6’1/218) – One of the top pure strong safeties in this years class. Williams is good in run support and has shown good open field tackling ability. He has been the vocal leader of the Bulldogs defense this season. Williams loves to come forward and deliver big hits and has been one of the more consistent players on that defense. Unlike many of his counterparts, Williams doesn’t have many off the field concerns, but may not have as high a ceiling. Prior to locking down the SS spot he was one of the key special teams contributors on the Bulldogs team .

Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina (6’3/320) – By now many people have heard Williams story. He basically dropped out of High School and worked at a radiator manufacturing plant before enrolling in Junior College. Now Williams is a couple months from beginning an NFL career. It’s a great story. On the field Williams best asset is his ability to stop the run. He comes off the ball and uses his hands to get the OL on his heels and then is able to control the gaps. He has the ability to play NT at the next level due to his ability to take on blocks, anchor and not give up space.

Trevardo Williams, OLB, UConn (6’2/233) – Williams was the break out star in the Big East this season, by racking up 11.5 sacks as an edge rusher. He’s got great speed and burst coming around the corner and was able to finish off the QB when he got there. At only 233 pounds, he would due himself some good if he could add ten pounds or so. However, he’s got surprising initial power at the point of attack. Williams will be lethal running twists and stunts at the next level with his speed coming off the edge.

Vince Williams, ILB, Florida State  (6’1/250) – A fifth year Senior who has overcome some injuries to become a legitimate NFL ILB prospect. Got bulk and overall size for an ILB prospect. Williams presents good measurables and takes good angles when attacking. He was a last minute add to the Senior Bowl mix and will be given a chance to make an impact due to the limited number of ILB.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn (6’1/190) – The third UConn Husky defender invited to the Senior Bowl in 2013, so former DC Don Brown was doing something right. Wreh-Wright is a two time team captain and an solid zone cornerback. He exhibits patience while in coverage, both zone and man. Meaning he doesn’t get over-aggressive of physical when he feels he is beat. He tracks the ball well in the air and can make plays on it. Has good length and height for the position. Along with Dwayne Gratz combined to form one of the top CB tandems in CFB this year.

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5 Responses to “2013 Senior Bowl: Defense Preview”

  1. Nick says:

    Margus Hunt to the pats would so awesome. Can plat DT or DE. Absolute monster in terms of size and athleticism. Would be a great 2nd round pick if he’s there.

  2. mjp says:

    I thought Sylvester Williams looked awfully athletic for a guy his size, I think he’s more than just a run-stopping NT, he can get up field quickly and be extremely disruptive, very active hands and good leverage.

    Put him next to Vince and you’re going to give QB’s and OC’s nightmares.

    • mjp says:

      His stat line backs up what I saw from him, 13 TFLs and 6 sacks, given a good week against Senior Bowl competition he’ll likely be a 1st rounder, if Dontari Poe can go top-15 then Williams is easily in the top-35 in 2013.

  3. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Not sold on LB Khaseem Greene, seems to small for every down, does not get off blocks well. in the run game . His coverage in the bowl game was picked on, and he was twice, beaten badly , for what was to be TD’s the QB over threw.

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