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January 19, 2014 @ 10:36 pm
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Senior Bowl Preview: Defensive Players To Watch

Written by Eric
Dellaratta
Eric Dellaratta

Eric
Dellaratta

Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The 53rd annual Senior Bowl game practices kickoff tomorrow afternoon in Mobile, Alabama. PewterReport.com will be there each day and offers this preview of some of the players we will be paying close attention to on the defensive side of the ball.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl begins this week and so does PewterReport.com’s
coverage of the all star game. PewterReport.com will be bringing you all
of the news from Mobile along with detailed practice reports and much
more. In this two part breakdown, PewterReport.com will break down each
position and let you know who to keep an eye out for during Reese’s
Senior Bowl week.

Here are the defensive players attending the Reese’s Senior Bowl and some players to keep an eye on as the week progresses. 

DEFENSIVE ENDS

Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas
Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
Brent Urban, DE, Virginia
Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech
Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville
Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford
Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama

Standing 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, North Carolina’s Kareem Martin possesses excellent size and looks like a perfect fit as a defensive end in a 4-3 base defense. His length allows him to keep opposing offensive lineman off of his frame and he flashes some explosiveness off the edge. Inconsistent play and lack of development has pushed Martin’s stock down, but a good week in Mobile could go a long way for the big defensive end.

Auburn’s Dee Ford is an extremely athletic defensive end that uses a speedy edge rush to get to the quarterback. Ford doesn’t offer a wide array of pass-rushing moves, but his edge rush is lethal and caused problems for offensive tackles all year. For a smaller pass-rusher (6-2, 240), Ford does a decent job of setting the edge in run support, a necessary attribute for any 4-3 defensive end. He will need to show scouts at the Senior Bowl that he can effectively use counter moves.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES
Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Taylor Hart, DT, Oregon
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
Shamar Stephen, DT, UConn
DeAndre Coleman, DT, California
Aaron This year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl boasts an excellent group of top-flight defensive tackles, including Arizona State’s Will Sutton, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, and Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman.

Will Sutton, a defensive tackle from Arizona State, is a technically sound player that offers both pass-rushing and run-stopping ability. Sutton was asked to play at a significantly heavier weight as a senior and it ended up hurting his production, as the defensive tackle looked like he lost some of his quickness. He’s an explosive player that showcases excellent technique with his hands. The two-time Pac-12 defensive player of the year will look to get his draft stock back on track in Mobile at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He could be a fit for the Buccaneers in round two.

Aaron Donald had an ultra productive career at Pittsburgh. Although he is slightly undersized, Donald plays with maximum intensity and is a sound technician at the defensive tackle position. The senior defensive tackle is a perfect candidate to improve his draft stock in Mobile. Donald’s ideal fit is with a 4-3 team as a three-technique defensive lineman.

LINEBACKERS
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State
Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana
Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama
Jonathan Brown, OLB, Illinois
Christian Kirksey, OLB, Iowa
Michael Sam, OLB, Missouri

Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin
Lamin Barrow, ILB, LSU
Jordan Zumwalt, ILB, UCLA
Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State

Brigham Young had quite a duo of pass-rushers last year with Ezekial Ansah and Kyle Van Noy. Ansah ended up being a top-10 draft selection and now it’s Van Noy’s turn to find a home on an NFL team. Van Noy is a prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker with plenty of experience as a stand-up pass-rusher. The senior has a great motor, which makes up for his lack of highly developed pass-rushing technique. A good week of practice at the Senior Bowl will be vital for Van Noy’s draft stock.

Alabama’s Adrian Hubbard is another stand-up linebacker that makes his money as a pass-rusher. The Crimson Tide linebacker has excellent size (6-6, 252), which could make him a candidate for a switch to defensive end. Hubbard’s experience in head coach Nick Saban’s complex Alabama defense will also be a plus heading into the pre-draft process. The redshirt junior was granted eligibility for the Senior Bowl and will look to make up for his sub-par 2013 performance.

CORNERBACKS
Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida
Keith McGill, CB, Louisiana Tech
Dontae Johnson, CB, NC State
Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern
Chris Davis, CB, Auburn
Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty
Marqueston Huff, CB, Wyoming
Dez Southward, CB, Wisconsin
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State

Three of the top cornerbacks in the 2014 draft class will not participate in the Senior Bowl, but there are plenty of prospects with excellent height and length that will be in attendance at the Senior Bowl. N.C. State’s Dontae Johnson, Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Wisconsin’s Dez Southward and Lindenwood’s Pierre Desir are all listed at 6-foot-2 or taller. It will be interesting to see if one of these long cornerbacks join the group of top cornerbacks in the 2014 with a good week in Mobile, Alabama.

Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin isn’t being recognized among the top cornerbacks in the draft at this time, but the stud pass defender has a lot to offer prospective teams. Showcasing excellent footwork and quickness, Colvin has a good chance to standout in the one-on-one drills in Mobile. The Oklahoma playmaker will have an excellent opportunity to show off his talents against the best in the nation, and Colvin might end up as the highest draft pick of this group of cornerbacks.

SAFETIES
Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor
Marqueston Huff, S, Wyoming
Craig Loston, S, LSU
Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt

A name not generating a ton of buzz that could have a breakout week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl is Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward, who is a versatile defender that excels in pass coverage. Ward has great instincts and excellent ball skills, making him an ideal candidate for the free safety position at the NFL level. With a good week of practice, Ward could be considered as a potential third round draft selection, so keep an eye out for him this week at practices. 

LSU’s Craig Loston is a big-hitter that was an excellent in-the-box defender for the Tigers over the last few years. Loston has good instincts and always seems to be around the ball, but his range is something scouts might be concerned with. He will need to show scouts that he is an adequate pass defender in Mobile, Alabama this week.

NOT PLAYING DUE TO INJURY/DECISION
C.J Mosley, LB, Alabama
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Khalil Mack, DE/LB, Buffalo
Anthony Barr, DE/LB, UCLA


Last modified on Sunday, 19 January 2014 22:50
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    Pinkstob I concur Trent Murphy DE and Will Sutton DT would be nice additions to the defence .I also like CJ Moseley MIKE LB from bama.OFFence needs help even more than the defence.So if a OT or Sammy Watkins is their at 7 it will be hard to pass up.
  • avatar


    Guys, I think they will fill the defensive holes through FA and fix the offense via the draft. The offense needs speed and more speed as it is SLOW.
  • avatar


    I really like Trent Murphy. He's one of the guys I hope we draft in the 1st round if we were to trade down to get our 3rd and 6th round picks back.
  • avatar


    A lot of good solid defensive players to choose from which I believe is where we will go in rounds 1 & 2.
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