New York Giants 2007 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Line
by KWALL for BigBlueInteractive.com
Giants’ DT Fred Robbins played his best ball as a Giant in 2006. The Giants could use another year like that from Robbins. Rookie Barry Cofield proved to be one of the best day 2 picks in the 2006 draft. I liked the pick at the time. Cofield was athletic enough to play some DE in college. And in college he was an effective pass rusher from the interior. I expected more of a pass rush from him last season. I think he’ll improve in his second season and give us more on the field in 2007. Recent addition of unrestricted free agent DT Marcus Bell really helps. He’s a veteran big body to occupy blockers and can give us 20-30 snaps a game. We could probably use another defensive tackle. If the cards fall right, the Giants may have an interesting call to make with the first round pick. Alan Branch is a top-10 talent, but he may have a minor medical red flag and could drop to the Giants. Tom Coughlin was the head coach in Jacksonville when the drafted massive defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. Branch is a similar player. Will Coughlin push for a dominating monster on the inside of the DL? If the legs check out, I’d love to see Branch on the Giants.
DT prospects are extremely difficult to project into the NFL especially the undersized tackles. College football has plenty of guys who effectively pressure the QB and produce sacks from the DT position. Very few can move up and do it in the NFL. Every year we hear about the next Warren Sapp but these guys rarely work out. How about the highly regarded DT Brodrick Bunkley, the #1 DT in 2006 draft? Another 10+ sack DT in college. He also had the elite measurables to match the stellar play. He looked like a “can’t-miss” DT prospect. And that’s what they’re saying about Amobi Okoye now. Bunkley is bigger, stronger, and faster than Okoye. He had more production in college. More experience versus top competition in college. How was Bunkley in the NFL? How about 0 sacks and 6 tackles for the year as a rookie for the Eagles. I think Okoye may be looking at a comparable rookie experience.
The defensive end class is very strong – possibly the deepest and most talented position in this draft. It is top heavy with 10+ DEs to go in rounds 1-2. Are the Giants in the market for another edge rusher? I don’t think so. However, I sure didn’t think they were last year. With Strahan nearing the end and Tuck as a question mark, the Giants could surprise again and pick up DE on day one of the draft. Just like the Kiwi pick, the draft value at DE may be too hard to pass for the Giants.
Here are some of the best players on the defensive line:
Alan Branch, 6’6″, 325lbs, Michigan (Combine: 40: 5.07, 10: 1.68, bench: 33, Vert: 27.5″, no shuttles): Early entry but this player is physically ready to battle inside in the NFL. Massive DT in the John Henderson mold with height, bulk, and strength. Can play NT in 3-4 or 2-gap in 4-3. Also played some DE at Michigan. Bulls his way into the backfield and hammers ball carriers. Hits with power. His big hits have lead to a lot of time for backup RB. NFL Draft Scout noted he KOd five ballcarriers during 2006 season. Impressive quickness for such a big man. Not on Okoye’s level as a penetrating DT but the big guy showed off plenty of athletic ability at Combine by matching Okoye in the 10 and 40. Reports indicate he did not come into the Combine or pro day in great shape. Unimpressive in some interviews where his competitiveness and fire was questioned. Is he just soft spoken or does he lack intensity? At his size, you’ll always hear the motor questions as well. Bottom line for me? This is exactly the type of player the Giants need in round one. A massive and powerful DT capable of controlling the middle versus NFL interior OL. He’ll give you an interior push in pass rush. He’ll dominate in the run game. It would be a dream scenario if Branch was there at #20 for the Giants. I’d put him at the top of the list of potential targets. Tom Coughlin hit homeruns with Stroud and Henderson in Jacksonville. Set that franchise up for the next 10 years with those two draft day moves. Branch could be another one. He has an injury red flag. Recent reports indicate he has stress fractures in both legs. Is it shin splints or something more? I have no idea. If healthy, he’s worth considering a small trade up if he’s close. Huge drop in talent after Branch is off the board.
Amobi Okoye, 6’2″, 302lbs, Louisville (Combine: 40: 5.07, 10: 1.65, Bench: 29, Vert: 30″, 3 cone: 7.46): The fastest post-season riser in the entire draft. Everybody loves his story. Smart and likable kid. Skipped grades early and entered college at 16. Will play DT in the NFL as a teenager. It’s one of the top stories in this draft. He’s in the top 10 of every reputable mock you see. Is he really that good? Before Senior Bowl, I considered him a late 2nd/early 3rd-type developmental player. Two year starter. Didn’t make a lot of plays in 2005. Only career two sacks entering 2006 season. Was listed at 315+lbs in 2005 but he looked much smaller. Although his play jumped in 2006, I sure didn’t think he was ready to have an immediate impact or play full time in the NFL at this stage. Played stronger down the stretch in 2006. He was very disruptive especially in the pass game. Won a lot of battles with his first step. In 2006, Okoye developed a killer rip move going to his left. He leaned on it a lot and it worked often in 2006. He got in the backfield and made some plays. Picked up some sacks. The big knock that I see was his run defense. He simply wasn’t stout versus the run on the collegiate level. Handled with ease by the Rutgers interior OL. In the 2nd half of that game they ran right at him. He could not anchor versus RU. They took him for a ride in that 2nd half. Consistently pushed him a couple of yards off the ball. He had a sack in the game but nothing else. On the sack he was stoned at LOS but ran down a very slow Mike Teel as Teel rolled out after about 4 seconds in the pocket – a coverage sack. Maybe two more pressures in that game. He was invisible. Best DT on the field that day was Rameel Meekins from Rutgers. Okoye showed up at Senior Bowl at only 287 lbs. Very strong showing in pass rush drills. Tough to block in one-on-ones. Used rip and spin moves to impress coaches. All of a sudden he’s in round 1…he’s in the top 20…he’s in the top 10…and now he’s the #1 DT . I think top-10 is too high for him at his current level of play. This is an upside pick because of his age and burst off the ball. The kind of pick you make early in the NBA draft. Not early in the NFL draft. The kid may make a few plays versus the pass in 2007 but I think he’ll really struggle versus the run early in his NFL career.
Justin Harrell, 6’5″, 300lbs, Tennessee (Combine: 40: 5.04, 10: 1.67, Bench: 24, Vert: 30.5″, SS: 4.79, 3 cone: 7.63): Tennessee always has talent across the DL. In 05, Tennessee finished #2 in nation versus the run allowing only 2.5 YPC while playing in the toughest conference in the country. Harrell was a major part of that run stopping unit. Could have left after junior year and probably the #4 DT in 05 class and a 2nd round pick. Entering 06, Phil Steele ranked him # 3 senior DT. Excellent frame for the position. Already extremely strong but he can handle more weight. Hard worker on field and in weight room. Solid technique. Knows how to use his long arms. Despite height, he keeps the pads very low and explodes off the ball. Tough guy who played with some injuries. Played with one arm versus Florida after a painful torn bicep. Injury required surgery and ended season early after only a few games. Since he missed most of 06, not a guy a lot of people talked about in January. He’s a player. Very strong at POA and can get to the ball in pursuit. Always a lot of draft value with a tough run plugger. Concern over injuries drops him a bit. However, looks like a lock as the #3 DT off the board. Early round 2.
Brandon Mebane, 6’1″, 309lbs, California (Combine: 40: 5.15, 10: 1.71, Bench: 24, Vert: 24, SS: 4.65 3 cone: 7.94): I really like this player and his draft value. A hustler with the exceptional quickness to penetrate the interior in the NFL. 3 year starter. Consistently played on the other side of the LOS. Shorter DT but very stout. Stays low and has a quick burst off the ball. Disruptive player who’s very effective shooting gaps. Good speed and lateral agility to chase down the LOS. Can really get down the line and make plays outside of the box in pursuit. All the talk was about Okoye at Senior Bowl but Mebane was another guy who really improved his value in the eyes of scouts. Glowing reports on his ability to handle 2 blockers and beat OL in pass rush drills at Senior Bowl. In 06, had a very impressive game versus USC and highly regarded OC Kalil. Are the Giants in the market for a penetrating one gap tackle? If they are this could be the player for the Giants in round 3. Will offer immediate help and contribute as a rookie. Eventually, he’ll develop into a full time starter at DT in the NFL. I think he’s more of a round 2-type player but could be a steal at the end of day one for the Giants.
“Tank” Tyler, 6’2″, 306lbs, NC State (Combine: 40: 5.18, 10: 1.78, Bench: 42, Vert: 28.5″): 25+ starts. Major improvement in 06. The nickname fits. Possibly the strongest guy in the draft. Very thick especially up top. Huge 2-gap run stopper. A rock at POA vs run. Will clog the middle. Not athletic enough to beat NFL interior OL on pass rush. May have the strength to walk them back into pocket. Inconsistent play. Dominant one play. Easily handled the next. That kind of up and down play was evident at Sr Bowl practices. Arrested in 06 for assault. Also tossed out of one game for a spitting incident in 06. Round 2.
Paul Soliai, 6’4″, 344lbs, Utah (Combine: 40: 5.10, 10: 1.63, Vert: 29.5″, SS: 4.69, 3 cone: 7.66): Only two years on defense after moving from OT. Massive size to excel at NT or in 2 gap scheme. Very strong. An immovable force at the POA. Will occupy blockers. Can collapse the pocket. At close to 350lbs, still maintains the quickness and agility to slide down the LOS to make plays. Impressive shuttle times for this enormous DT. Very good showing at Shrine. Dominant at times. Consistently anchored versus double teams. Character is an issue. Suspended for Bowl game. If off field stuff checks out, his size and quickness will be in big demand on draft day. Coughlin loves huge DT. If he has any say on draft day they could go this route for DT depth. Round 3.
Marcus Thomas, 6’3″, 314lbs, Florida (Combine: 40: 5.18, Bench: 27): One of the top DL in country coming out of high school. First player in 10+ years to start as a true frosh for Florida. Played his best ball against the top SEC talent. Impressive versus LSU, Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee. A first round talent. However, he’s carrying around a lot of off field baggage and it will probably drop him out of day one. In 06, he had drug issues and blown second chances. Eventually kicked off the team because he failed to show up for a drug education class. Not a bright move for a potential first rounder with millions of dollars on the table. Despite talent, I can’t see him on the Giants board. Somebody will take a chance in mid rounds. Round 4.
Antonio Johnson, 6’3″, 310lbs, Mississippi State (Combine: 40: 5.15, 10: 1.68, Bench: 28, Vert: 29, SS: 4.49,3 cone: 7.51): Limited experience but a very athletic big man. Only one year of high school ball. JUCO. Two years of Division 1 ball with only five starts. Classic 2-gap space eater. Will occupy blockers with his size and strength. Surprising quickness. Sub 4.50 short shuttle is very impressive for a 310+ lb interior DL. Flashes quickness off the ball to penetrate. At Senior Bowl, was described by NFL Draft Scout as the “South’s most consistently impressive defensive tackle” and a guy with a “good initial burst off the snap and was able to give some of the South’s top interior linemen their toughest draws of the day.” A lot of physical tools and upside. Needs time. Needs coaching. Could be a day 2 steal. Round 4.
Turk McBride, 6’3″, 277lbs, Tennessee (Combine: 40: 4.81, 10: 1.61, Bench: 27, Vert: 31, SS: 4.12 3 cone: 7.10): Versatile but undersized. Lacks bulk to play full-time at DT. Lacks speed to consistently pressure QB from edge in the NFL. Moved all over the DL. Played DE and DT. Moved to DT after Harrell’s season ended. A swing DT/DE on the next level as well. Can play some DE and move inside on pass rush. Excellent short area quickness. Has the initial quickness to penetrate from inside. Looks like a situational player in NFL. Round 4.
Jay Alford, 6’4″, 304lbs, Penn State (Combine: 40: 5.17, 10: 1.71, Vert: 25.5″, SS: 4.83 3 cone: 7.81): A lot of exp with 40+ starts. One-gap DT with a quick first step. Added value as an end in 3-4. Generated an interior pass rush at Penn State (19 sacks). Most reports give him the “blue collar overachieving” label. He’s more than that. Very good overall athletic ability. Bigger than expected at 300+lbs. Quick off the ball. If Giants are looking for a one-gap penetrator then Alford could be a mid-round target. Round 4.
Walter Thomas, 6’5″, 374lbs, NW Mississippi Community College (Pro Day: 40: 5.11, 10: 1.70, Bench: 27, Vert: 24.5″, SS: 4.84 3 cone: 7.72): Highly recruited high school player. All the Big 12 schools wanted this enormous DL recruit. Started college career at Oklahoma State. Played in 11 games in 04 as a true frosh but ruled academically ineligible after only 1 year. Didn’t play in 05. Community college in 06. Probably the largest player in the draft. Freakishly long arms at 37″. 11.5″ hands. 370+ lbs but a lot more than just a massive space eater. Athletic and quick feet for his size. 10 yard split of 1.70. NFL Draft Scout said, “Thomas is a mixture of Ted Washington, for size and ability to occupy multiple blocker; Terdell Sands, for his explosion and long reach; and Marcus Stroud, for his ability to shoot the gaps and wreak havoc in the backfield.” Very impressive at Texas versus Nation All-Star Game. Blew up blockers, including probable draft picks in Jonathan Palmer (Auburn) and Scott Stephenson (Iowa), all week. Rare size, quick feet, and dominant all star showing put him in the mid-round picture. Somebody will grab him early. Possibly to play NT for a 3-4 team. Jacksonville could be the team in round 3 or 4. Or hopefully the NYG in round 4.
Quinn Pitcock, 6’3″, 299lbs, Ohio State (Combine: 40: 4.93, 10: 1.61, Vert: 34): 30+ starts. Overrated player with some round 2 projections. High number of sacks in 06 but not really a good pass rushing prospect from the DT position. Senior Bowl practices exposed limitations. Couldn’t beat blockers in pass rush drills. Short arms. Hands are not a plus. Below average strength. Lack of size and initial burst will hurt in NFL. Considered a very hard worker. A blue collar type. Hustles. Won’t start in NFL. Maybe can help as a wave DT. Round 4.
Ryan McBean, 6’5″, 286lbs, Oklahoma State (Combine: 40: 4.98, 10: 1.64, Bench: 27, Vert: 28″, SS: 4.46, 3 cone: 7.79): Two year starter at DT. Tall and lean player. Good athlete at DL. DE/DT tweener. Showed some pass rush skills at Senior Bowl. Added 10lbs since Senior Bowl but still lacks size for DT in NFL. Needs to add 20+ lbs and more lower body strength to play DT. Possibly a 3-4 DE in NFL. Possibly a situational interior pass rusher. Rounds 4-5.
Clifton Ryan, 6’2″, 305lbs, Michigan State (Combine: 40: 5.12, 10: 1.69, Bench: 25, Vert: 26.5″, SS: 4.69 3 cone: 7.50): 35 starts. 28 consecutive starts. Tough. Played with injuries. Versatile. Played some DE at Mich State and can offer DE help in 3-4. Explosive one-gap DT. Quick first step. Inside penetrator.. Lead the team in sacks and QB pressures in 05 and 06. Good lateral agility to get down the line. Hardworking and improving. Play took a big jump in 06. A week of whipping and beating up the OL at Shrine Game really helped this player. Solid Combine workout. Strong Shrine showing and quickness makes him a mid to early day 2 pick.
Keith Jackson, 6′, 305lbs, Arkansas (Combine: 40: 5.05, 10: 1.73, Bench: 33, Vert: 30, SS: 4.56 3 cone: 7.65): Son of former NFL TE Keith Jackson. Two year starter at DT. Hard working player. Short but athletic and strong. Good run plugger. Ran a 4.85 at pro day at 300+ lbs. Quickness and speed allows him to make plays all over the field. Low center of gravity give him a solid anchor at the POA. Can stack. Also makes plenty of plays in pursuit. 70+ tackles in 06. Round 6.
Rameel Meekins, 5’10”, 284lbs, Rutgers (Pro Day: 40: 5.07, 10: 1.70, Bench: 30, Vert: 26, SS: 4.60 3 cone: 7.71): Outstanding high school heavyweight wrestler walked on at Rutgers and made an immediate impact. Two year starter. Defensive MVP. As productive as any DT in college football the past two years. Over the past 2 seasons (23 games), 29 TFL and 17.5 sacks. Despite stellar production no Combine invite. At RU pro day, scouts said they “loved his film.” Mike Mayock raved about his play during Rutgers/Kansas State Bowl game. Pointed out that Meekins dominated OC Mozes from West Virginia. Consistent and a hard working team guy. Played his best versus the top teams. Highly disruptive. He lived in the opponent’s backfield. Short but a very thick and strong lower body. Plays with a very low base. Explodes off the snap and keeps the pads down. Uses quickness and excellent leverage to consistently beat OL. Non stop hustle to the ball really stands out on game day and made him a fan favorite. Gets down the LOS and makes plays outside of the box. Displayed his quick feet and COD with an impressive 4.60 in short shuttle. Lack of size is the only thing keeping him out of day one. Very small for interior play in NFL. Plays with many of the same skills as Eagles first round pick Mike Patterson from USC. Workout numbers matched Patterson. Patterson was a real find for the Eagles and very effective as an undersized DT (5’11” 292lbs). Meekins is even smaller at only 284lbs. Can he handle NFL OL at that size? I believe he can do it. Giants recently worked him out as a FB. With his build and athletic ability it makes sense. He could step in there and help in short yardage like Dan Klecko. Size probably pushes him to the end of day 2 or free agency. As a 20+ year fan of Rutgers football, Meekins is my all-time favorite player from the school. I would love to see him on the Giants.
Kareem Brown, 6’4″, 290lbs, Miami (Pro Day: 40: 5.38, 10: 1.81, Vert: 28, SS: 4.71 3 cone: 7.49): One year starter at UM. Tall and high cut. A lot of college sacks (20) but lacks strength and quickness to effectively rush passer in the NFL. Struggled at Senior Bowl. Terrible workout. Only 290lbs and couldn’t run. Not much of an NFL prospect. Late day 2. Giants shouldn’t bother in any round.
Gaines Adams, 6’5″, 258lbs, Clemson (Combine: 40: 4.64, 10: 1.58, Vert: 35″, SS: 4.36 3 cone: 7.17): #1 DE in draft. ACC defensive play of the year. Athletic pass rusher with 10+ sack skills for the NFL. Excellent first step consistently beats OL around the edge. Always pressuring the QB. 23 sacks the past two seasons. A lot of QB pressures and deflected passes. Expect a Wimbley/Ware type impact early in the NFL. Top 10 lock.
Jamal Anderson, 6’6″, 288lbs, Arkansas (Pro Day: 40: 4.75, 10: 1.59, Bench: 22, Vert: 32.5″, SS: 4.22 3 cone: 6.88): A highly regarded WR and basketball player in high school. Ranked in the top 50 nationally at WR. Early entry with only 1.5 years of starting experience at DE. One of the best players in college football in 06. 26 QB pressures and 13.5 sacks in 06. Wears #92 and resembles a young Strahan. Actually, much more athletic than Strahan. Maybe closer to Julius Peppers. A premier pass rush prospect with 33+” arms, large hands, and a sudden burst off the snap. Can drop his shoulder and turn the corner versus NFL OTs. Quickly redirects and counters. Can also win with a bull rush. Will hold up versus the run and very fast in pursuit. Outstanding size/speed/production package. Young player (21) with unlimited upside on the next level. Nothing is missing from this prospect. If he’s there at #20? Tough call. Certainly not a need position at this point but this young game-changer would be hard to pass.
Adam Carriker, 6’6″, 296lbs, Nebraska (Combine: 40: 4.90, 10: 1.60, Bench: 33, Vert: 33.5″, SS: 4.18, 3 cone: 7.06): Well built 300lb DL. Prototype size for a 3-4 DE. Very strong. Excellent technique with hands versus the run and on the pass rush. Sheds and throws around blockers. Tenacious player. Relentless. Very strong versus the run and enough burst off the ball to rush the passer from the edge. Quick feet and can change directions on a dime. Displayed WR type quickness in short shuttle and 3 cone drill. Ran his 40 in the low 4.7s at his pro day. Dominant in pass rush drills at Senior Bowl. One of the most impressive players at the Senior Bowl and it probably moved him up a round. Could go as high as the top 10. Will not get past #15 to the Steelers.
Jarvis Moss, 6’6″, 250lbs, Florida (Combine: 40: 4.70, 10: 1.59, Bench: 16, Vert: 30.5″, Pro Day: SS: 4.41 3 cone: 7.21): Parade All American. #1 DE in country out of high school. Touted as a Jevon Kearse-type. A tall, lean, and explosive pass rusher. However, college production didn’t match Kearse. Workouts? Not close to Kearse again. Doesn’t match the speed, vertical, or change-of-direction skills that Kearse brought to the NFL. Teams also worked him out as a LB. Not impressive in LB drills with one scout calling it a “waste of time”. Played in 26 games. Only 13 career starts. As a 4-3 end, will really struggle versus the run in the NFL. He needs strength work. Early in career, just a situational pass rusher. He’ll get you some sacks. Just not enough to justify a first round pick. Late round 1.
Ikaika Alama-Francis, 6’5″, 292lbs, Hawaii (Combine: Injured. Pro Day: On wet field. 40: 4.85, 10: 1.73, Vert: 35″, SS: 4.62, 3 cone: 7.31): Still developing as an ex-basketball player with limited football experience. Father was an NFL QB but surprisingly this prospect did not even play high school football. Walked on after struggling with basketball at Hawaii. Two year starter. Ideal size, strength, and athletic ability for a 4-3 DE. Can add weight and play 3-4 DE. Very strong. Nice upfield burst for a big man. Quick. Hand use needs work and coaching. Dominated everybody at the Hula Bowl but also injured his arm. Missed the Shrine Game and couldn’t workout at Combine because of the injury. A lot of NFL upside with this emerging player. Late round 1/early round 2.
Anthony Spencer, 6’3″, 261lbs, Purdue (Combine: 40: 4.70, 10: 1.64, Bench: 30, Vert: 32.5″, SS: 4.43, 3 cone: 7.14): Not much of a prospect prior to 06. Outstanding senior year and post-season has him in the top 50 in this draft. 10.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 26.5 TFL in 06. Notre Dame OT Harris said he was by far, the most explosive DL he faced in college.” No surprise Harris would give him that kind of endorsement. Spencer had the defensive game of the year versus Harris. Completely dominated him. Had 15 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3 sacks, and knocked down a pass. Harris could not match Spencer’s explosive first step. It’s the first step that will have his name called early in this draft. Additional draft value because he can play with his hand down or as a rush 3-4 LB in the NFL. Made some money at Senior Bowl. Spencer routinely turned the corner in pass rush drills versus the top senior OL in the country. Nobody could handle his speed to the edge and first step quickness. Future top 10 pick Levi Brown lost plenty of these battles with Spencer at Senior Bowl. Excellent hand technique and an array of pass rush moves will make him a 10+ sack NFL pass rusher in the very near future. If he goes to the right situation will make an immediate impact as a rookie. Like the Bears 06 rookie Mark Anderson, Spencer has 10+ sack talent and Rookie of the Year potential.
Tim Crowder, 6’4″, 272lbs, Texas (Combine: 40: 4.69, 10: 1.59, Bench: 32, Vert: 30.5″, SS: 4.32, 3 cone: 7.28): Just another highly athletic 270+lb pass rusher with 4.6 speed. 4 year starter on top Texas team. 40+ career starts. Play improved each year with a big jump in 06. A lot more QB pressure as a senior. More than doubled sack production as well. Known as a hard working weight room guy. Could use a few more pounds to battle bigger OL in the NFL. Good player versus the run and can get to QB. Should be a solid 2 way DE in NFL. Round 2.
Victor Abiamiri, 6’4″, 267lbs, Notre Dame (Combine: 40: 4.80, 10: 1.56, Injured and passed on the rest of the workout): Excellent size for the position. Athletically compares to former Notre Dame teammate and current NYG Justin Tuck. Abiamiri has above average quickness and agility for DE. These tools allowed him to get to QB in college. 8 sacks in 05. 10.5 in 06. However, his initial burst may not be special enough to make a big splash as a pass rusher in the NFL. At Senior Bowl, he failed to display counter moves. If he didn’t win with his first step he lost the battle. Overall, he’s a good athlete with the required size to be effective playing 4-3 DE in the NFL. However, technique and pass rush moves still need a lot of work. Round 2.
Quentin Moses, 6’5″, 261lbs, Georgia (Combine: 40: 4.82, 10: 1.59, Bench: 17, Vert: 32″, SS: 4.53, 3 cone: 7.38): Entered 06 with a first round label. Listed by Phil Steele as the #5 DE in the country. His play nosedived in senior year. 11.5 sacks in 05. Only 4.5 sacks in 06. Big drop in tackles, TFL and QB pressures as well. Invisible in too many games. Finished year out of first round mix. Senior Bowl and Combine gave him a shot to bounce back but he failed to measure up. Terrible week at Senior Bowl. Couldn’t beat OL during pass rush drills. Couldn’t hold up versus run. Outplayed by the just about every other DE at Senior Bowl. At Combine, ran in the 4.8s at only 261lbs. Also, looked sloppy in drills. During LB drills, he failed to display the necessary movement skills to excel at that position. No chance at LB in the NFL. Strictly a 4-3 DE with a senior year production issue and questionable speed off the edge. Round 3.
Charles Johnson, 6’2″, 270lbs, Georgia (Combine: 40: 4.84, 10: 1.63, Bench: 33, Vert: 34″, 3 cone: 7.50): Before 06, not as highly regarded as Moses. After breakout 05 season, Moses got more attention from opposing teams in 06. With Moses fighting double teams, it allowed Johnson to increase his sack numbers from 4 in 05 to 9.5 in 06. Not really impressed with this player. TSN has him ranked #19 overall and a first round talent. While he’s a strong player versus the run, I don’t expect enough pass rush from this guy to justify a high pick. Round 3.
Ray McDonald, 6’4″, 275lbs, Florida (Pro Day: 40: 4.88, 10: 1.62, Vert: 29″, SS: 4.97, 3 cone: 7.41): After S Reggie Nelson, the most impressive player on the Florida defense. Not a highlight-type player but a real hustler. I love his high effort game. Excellent college football player. Versatile. Played DT and DE. After Florida suspended Thomas, McDonald filled in and played well on the inside. Hard working and coachable. Father is a former WR at Florida and high school coach. A bit undersized without the impressive measurables so he may not project as high as some of his teammates in the NFL but this guy is a gamer. Came back from two serious knee injuries. Plays very hard. Competitive nature really stands out on gameday. Long arms at 33+”. Quick DL who can play inside and out. Can get down the LOS and make plays in pursuit. Knows how to use his hands. Needs to add bulk to play fulltime at DT on the next level. Probably just a situational pass rusher as a DT in the NFL. His future is on the outside. He could develop into a full time starter at DE. Durability issues and tweener label drops him. Mid to late Round 3.
Brian Robison, 6’3″, 259lbs, Texas (Combine: 40: 4.67, 10: 1.49, Bench: 27, Vert: 40.5″, SS: 4.26, 3 cone: 6.89): One of the best athletes in college football. Not just the Combine numbers, Robison is a top track guy in discus and shot. He can probably hold his own in an Olympic decathlon. 30+ starts at Texas at DE. Injured a lot in 06. More productive in 05. With all of his speed and athletic ability didn’t get enough pressure on QB. Only 25 QB pressures in the past two seasons. Also, undersized for full time DE duty. Workout says round 2. Play on the field probably says round 5. Somebody will reach because of the Combine performance. Late round 3.
Dan Bazuin, 6’3″, 266lbs, Central Michigan (Combine: 40: 4.77, 10: 1.59, Bench: 25, Vert: 30″, SS: 4.75, 3 cone: 7.09): Small school pass rusher. Highly productive with 26+ sacks the past 2 seasons and a high number of forced fumbles. Only OK at Shrine Game practices. Didn’t help himself in one on one pass rush drills. Combine a bit of a disappointment. Didn’t display elite speed, quickness or change-of-direction skills at Combine. Early day 2.
Jay Moore, 6’5″, 272lbs, Nebraska (Combine: 40: 4.92, 10: 1.59, Bench: 26, Vert: 34″, SS: 4.35, 3 cone: 7.19): 30 starts at DE for Nebraska. Can drop into coverage and probably help a 3-4 team as a rush LB. Not close to teammate Carriker in terms of NFL potential. Only 9 sacks the past 2 seasons. Not impressive at Senior Bowl practices. Had a few sacks in the Senior Bowl game but he was unblocked as OT Joe Staley was lost on pass protection. Round 4.
Lamarr Woodley, 6’1″, 266lbs, Michigan (Pro Day: 40: 4.74, 10: 1.65, Bench: 29, Vert: 38.5″, SS: 4.42): Highly recruited high school player. Ranked in the top 5 in the nation at LB. Very productive at Michigan with 12 sacks in 05 and 12 more in 06. Post season slider. Pulled out of Senior Bowl after on rough day of practice. Ducked the Combine with reports of sub par workouts. Not as big as expected. Lacks elite measurables to offset lack of size. Several Shawn Merriman comparison’s but Woodley is much smaller and not nearly as explosive as Merriman. He’s a lot closer to a Reggie Torbor type than Shawn Merriman. Woodley plays hard. Powerful striker. His skills worked as an edge rusher at Michigan. In the NFL? I don’t think so. He’s short and lacks the burst off the line to beat NFL OT around the corner. Maybe a situational pass rusher in the NFL. Many have him in the top 50. I say he’s a day 2 player. Giants shouldn’t have much interest here. Round 4+.