2014 NFL Draft Preview: Defense

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Blog By: @CaptnJack24

Defensive End

1. Jadeveon Clowney –South Carolina Community College Clowney is physically one of, if not the most impressive prospect to ever enter the draft. He runs like a Wide Receiver and is built like a defensive end. He was the #1 recruit out of high school and is looking to become the #1 overall pick in the draft. If Clowney falls below the 5th pick I will be shocked and people will lose their jobs.

2. Dee Ford- Auburn Dee Ford is considered a pure pass rusher, which in the NFL is an invaluable trait to have. He is incredibly explosive off the edge, totaling 10.5 sacks in the SEC this season. He also played his best games vs. the best teams he faced. He is a little undersized but it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for him. He will be gone by the end of the 1st round. Dee Ford is considered a pure pass rusher, which in the NFL is an invaluable trait to have. He is incredibly explosive off the edge, totaling 10.5 sacks in the SEC this season. He also played his best games vs. the best teams he faced. He is a little undersized but it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for him. He will be gone by the end of the 1st round.

3. Stephon Tuitt- Notre Dame Tuitt is a colossal human being, coming in at 6’5 304 lbs. He is extremely strong and would do best as a 3-4 end. He had his best season as a sophomore when the ND defense was dominant with him and Louis Nix III in up front. Tuitt should be drafted in the late 1st round.

 

Defensive Tackle

1. Aaron Donald- Pittsburgh Donald is a 4-3 defensive tackle that caused all sorts of disruption on the interior in his college career. Won the Outland trophy, Lombardi, Nagurski, Bednarik and ACC defensive player of the year. Is a bit undersized but it incredibly quick and powerful for his size. He is most likely going to be the first DT taken off the board in the mid first round.

2. Louis Nix III- Notre Dame Nix III is massive coming in at 6’2 331 lbs. He had an incredible sophomore season on the dominant ND defense. Fell off a bit in his junior season coming off a knee injury. If healthy he is a dominant force in the middle of a 3-4 and should be worth a 1st round selection.

3. Timmy Jernigan- Florida State One of the best defensive lineman in the country last year, Jernigan was a force on the national champion Seminoles. He seems to live in opponent’s backfields, totaling 25 tackles for loss in his 3 years in Tallahassee. He is expected to be taken in the mid-late 1st round.

 

Outside Linebacker

1. Khalil Mack- Buffalo Mack had an incredible career at Buffalo, and projects to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL. He has elite athleticism to go with ideal size at the OLB position. He is one of 4 players that seem to have separated themselves from the rest of the draft (Clowney, Robinson, Watkins are the others) and is expected to be a top 5 pick.

2. Anthony Barr- UCLA Barr only played two years at UCLA but totaled 41 tackles for loss and 23 sacks in those two years. He is an incredible athlete for his size, running a 4.41 40-yard dash at his pro day, despite his 6’5 255 lb frame. He can be a potential immediate impact guy on any defense. One of the knocks against him was his performance in the Oregon game and other big games where he seemingly disappeared. Barr should be a mid first round pick.

3. Ryan Shazier- Ohio State Shazier is one of the fastest OLB in a long time, running a 4.38 40 yard dash at his pro day. Has the explosion and speed to make almost any play. He was a tackling machine in his junior season totaling 144 tackles and 23.5 tackles for loss. Shazier should go towards the end of the 1st round.

Inside Linebacker

1. CJ Mosley- Alabama Mosley played in an NFL scheme in college (Thanks, Saban) and should be able to fit into virtually any scheme in the league his rookie season. He is the prototypical middle linebacker and should be able to impact any team he’s drafted to right away. Mosley will be picked in the mid-1st round.

2. Chris Borland- Wisconsin Borland has incredible instincts and punishes people when he hits them. A tackling machine, he totaled 413 tackles in 229 games in college and seemed to play sideline to sideline for Wisconsin. You couldn’t watch the Badger defense without noticing Borland. Borland is projected as a 2nd round pick.

3. Christian Jones- Florida State There’s a bit of a fall off after Mosley and Borland, but the next best ILB is Christian Jones. He was relatively productive for the Seminoles defense this year, and is a pretty good cover linebacker showing good range and he moves pretty well. He is a bit raw and could use some coaching to help himself into a larger role for whoever drafts him. He is projected as a day 2 player, most likely 3rd or 4th round.

Cornerback

1. Darqueze Dennard- Michigan State Dennard was trusted by the Spartan coaching staff to basically be left alone on an island, which is in turn what he did to receivers. He was a dominant lock down corner and was a stud in press coverage. He has average size but his physicality makes up for it. Dennard should be a 1st round pick.

2. Kyle Fuller- Virginia Tech The Hokie’s struggles this season had nothing to do with their defense. Fuller was a star for the Hokies this season, a 2nd team All-American and 1st team All-ACC selection, Fuller was the total package for the Hokie Defense this season. He isn’t the fastest corner in the draft but he has the versatility to fit all schemes and should be a 1st round selection.

3. Justin Gilbert- Oklahoma State Gilbert had a very good sophomore season, then had a down year as a junior (0 INTs) but picked his play back up his Senior year (7 INTs). He was a consensus All-American. Gilbert is a little bigger than the other two CBs and plays big as will. He is also a high caliber returnman, and has the ability to take any INT to the house the other way. Gilbert will also be a mid-late 1st round selection.

Safety

1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix- Alabama Like Mosley, Dix played in an NFL scheme in college, and should be ready to have an impact immediately. He is a complete prospect with size and athleticism, not to mention he has a high football IQ. He was a consensus All-American his junior season at Alabama and should be picked in the teens of the 1st round.

2. Calvin Pryor- Louisville Pryor is a hard hitter, and attacks downhill when playing. He can be out of control at times but you have to love the physical nature he plays the game with. He is still developing in man coverage but has the ability to be impactful with that as well. Pryor is expected to go in the 20’s.

3. Deone Buchannon- Washington State Buchannon is a physical prospect as well, he is the biggest of the three safety prospects and impressed scouts at the senior bowl with his physique. He totaled 220 tackles in his Junior/Senior seasons at Washington State. He had 15 career interceptions and has the ability to make the big play. He loves contact as much as Pryor and is an interesting prospect to see if a team will fall in love with him after following the Seahawks mold. As for now he is expected to be a 2nd round draft pick.

 

 

 

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