With only a couple weeks left until the NFL Combine, the NFP looks at which defensive prospects aren’t getting the kind love they should at this time and who could be poised for a rise up draft boards over the next couple weeks.
For our underrated offensive prospects click here...
ICONJohnson has the ability to stand-up as well and be effective.
DE Cam Johnson: Virginia (6-4, 270)
A solid college defensive end who has never been much of a sack artist but there are intriguing tools there. Showcases some fluidity in his drop and in coverage and has the ability to mature into a more sudden pass rusher with time. Will get looks in both a 34 and 43 front. Could end up having a similar impact in year one as Cleveland Browns second round pick Jabaal Sheard.
DE Tyrone Crawford: Boise State (6-4, 276)
I like his skill set. I think he's going to develop quickly at the next level and he has the ability to be a solid three down lineman with some time. He isn't there yet, but as a prospect Crawford has some real upside and displays the kind of blue-collar pass rushing mentality that I like with a powerful element to his game on contact.
DT Josh Chapman: Alabama (6-1, 310)
Has the making of a starting caliber nose at the next level in either a 3-4 and 4-3 front. Can consistently anchor on contact, is long armed and tough to move off the football. Also, is a better pass rusher than given credit for. Will likely fall because of medical concerns, but could be a real bargain because of it.
DT Chigbo Anunoby: Morehouse (6-4, 324)
He's never going to be a "plus" pass rusher in the NFL. However, he's a strong, long kid with a really well proportioned frame who can anchor inside and certainly has the talent to get plenty of looks from both 34 and 43 teams as a developmental big body.
OLB Bruce Irvin: West Virginia (6-3, 245)
A gifted athlete who has the initial burst to routinely reach the edge. However, lacks ideal size and doesn't have a real sophisticated pass rushing repertoire. Is going to make the move to a 34 OLB at the next level and might need a little time. Reminds me some of the Seahawks DE Chris Clemons.
ILB Mychal Kendricks: California (6-0, 240)
Is a thick, shorter compact backer who explodes through contact and is a real violent striker. Finds the ball quickly vs. the run and has the range to make plays in pursuit. Lacks ideal size however to stack and shed and lacks a great feel in zone. However, as a thumper inside with the potential to get into the backfield as a blitzer who should get plenty of looks from both 34 and 43 teams in need of a versatile, high motor backer.
OLB Travis Lewis: Oklahoma (6-2, 227)
He's a bit undersized and doesn't tackle as well as you would like inside the box. However, he's a good run and hit backer who plays the run well and will be able to make plays vs. the pass game in the NFL. Looks like a day one starter to me as a 43 backer, either on the weak side or possibly in the middle.
ICONJudie knows how to make plays on the football.
CB Coryell Judie: Texas A&M (5-11, 190)
He's a naturally gifted athlete with good range and great ball skills. Displays enough fluidity and balance to develop as a man-to-man corner, but looks ideally suited for a cover two type role at this stage that allows him to attack the football and create turnovers. An eventual starter in that type of scheme.
DB Desmond Marrow: Toledo (6-3, 210)
Marrow is the type of big defensive back you are willing to take a chance on late because of his athletic and physical skill set. The guy is raw and is going to need time to clean up his technique, but has the size/speed/fluidity to intrigue.
SS Tony Dye: UCLA (6-0, 216)
Isn't an elite athlete, but plays faster than he times. Will tackle consistently and is coordinated in coverage. Looks like a potential special teams stud who with some time could fight his way into a starting line-up as a strong safety. However, due to neck issues that caused him to struggle at times this year, he will likely fall on draft day.
SS Jerico Nelson: Arkansas (5-10, 216)
A tough, rangy kid who holds up well in coverage and I love him as a football player. But where do you play him in the NFL? Body type says strong safety. Looks like a nickel backer to me who can play special teams from day one.
Follow me on twitter: @WesBunting
Check out the NFP Draft page here...
DEC 09 Jason Cole
Are the Washington Redskins headed for yet another coaching change?
DEC 06 Joel Corry
An inside look at the three NFL teams with the most dead money.
DEC 06 Jason Cole
Are NFL officials overwhelmed more now than they have been in the past?
DEC 03 Erik Oehler
A sneak peak at a documentary chronicling one of the biggest college games ever played.