2012 NFL Draft: Players Who Will Have a Better NFL Career
Than Many Drafted Higher Than Them (Part II, Defense)
Vinny Curry, Marshall Curry will be
looked at as both a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside
had 23 sacks and 171 tackles during his last two years at
. At 63.1, 266
pounds he ran a 4.69 forty (1.58 10 yard split), had a 35
vertical, and 28 bench presses.
He also showed his agility by running a 6.90 three-cone.
Curry is more than just a pass rusher; he pursues and
plays the run well.
Shea McClellin, Boise
McClellin was invited to the Combine as a defensive end, but
should make his living in the NFL as a linebacker.
The book on McClellin was that he was a hard worker who
brought it every snap. In
some scouting circles they questioned how athletic McClellin
was. As it turns
out, he is very athletic as his 4.62 unofficial forty at the
Combine (4.66 official), 4.33 short shuttle, 7.07 three-cone,
and 910 broad jump illustrates.
He also demonstrated his athleticism both on and off the
field during Senior Bowl practices and the game itself.
Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
Lewis is another player invited to the Combine as a
defensive end who will make his living at linebacker in the NFL.
When it comes to a mix of strength and speed, its hard
to ignore Lewis 36 bench presses and 4.65 forty (unofficial
time, official time was 4.67).
Best of all the kids strength and speed
match his play on the field.
Lewis is a bit a raw, but he should develop into an all
around player, not just a pass rush specialist.
Cam Johnson, Virginia What I like about
Johnson is that he is just at the tip of his potential, and I
believe he possess the work ethic to develop into a solid
starting defensive end. Johnson
has kept his weight at the lower end of what he can carry which
placed him in the bucket of the pass rushing, hybrid defensive
ends. However, at
63.4, 268 pounds, I believe he can add 10 to 15 pounds and
become a base end rather than a pass-rushing end.
His production and measureables indicate he could come up
short as a hybrid, but his numbers (even if they go down a bit
with the added weight) translate very well as a base end.
He will have to hit the weight room to get stronger and
to ensure his added weight is muscle.
Oliver Vernon, Miami
One of the more head-scratching early entrants because of
limited college production,
has the skill set to succeed in the NFL.
He had 31 bench presses, ran a 4.64 forty, had a 34.5
vertical and a 102 broad jump.
However, he is very raw.
At 62.1, 261 many have
pegged as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
I dont. His
movement skills are more in line with a defensive end.
Dontari Poe, Memphis
Poe wowed at the Combine, saw his draft stock rise, and now
its settling a bit lower.
Thats a mistake. Players
who have the size, strength and athleticism of Poe are extremely
rare. His strength
and size alone will clog up the middle of a 3-4 defense.
His speed, athleticism and movement skills are tremendous
value-added traits. The
reason Poe has dropped a bit is his game tape.
I DONT CARE. At
63.5, 346 pounds with 4.87 speed in the forty (4.91
official time) with a 1.68 ten-yard split, 44 bench presses, and
a 4.56 short shuttle and a 89 broad jump; I would be
surprised if his game film didnt show him getting by on his
natural athleticism. By
all accounts this is a good kid, so when he gets to the NFL and
works with an NFL staff, the sky is limit.
Kendall Reyes, Connecticut
After Cox and Poe, the names you hear most for round one
include Brockers, Worthy and Still.
And while there are faint cries of Reyes, those cries
should be shouts. Reyes
not only belongs in the first round of the draft, but is my
third rated defensive tackle behind Poe and Cox.
Reyes, who could also kick outside to end in a 3-4
defense, may be the best athlete of all the defensive tackles in
the draft as evidenced by his 34.5 vertical and 95
broad jump. He also
ran a hand-held 4.85 forty at the Combine (official time 4.87)
and has long arms. Reyes
projects as a difference-maker at the next level.
Brandon Thompson, Clemson With the
depth and talent at defensive tackle in this draft, Thompson,
who looked terrific at the Senior Bowl, is not getting the press
he deserves. Thompson
is a strong kid (35 bench presses) who is the highly-coveted
run-stuffing defensive tackle.
Martin is another quality defensive tackle in this draft.
Martin has the physical gifts to be a special player in
the NFL. His
measureables stack up well against any defensive tackle in the
draft. With a 4.84
forty and 1.69 ten yard split, an impressive 4.25 short shuttle,
an equally impressive 7.19 three-cone, a 33.5 vertical, a
95 broad jump and 36 bench presses; Martin also possess a
Alameda Taamu, Washington Taamu
impressed me during the Senior Bowl. At
62.5, 348 pounds he lifted the bar 36 times.
He is the big strong player that a team wants in the
middle of its 3-4 defense. While
he does not posses the special athletic gifts of Poe my top
ranked behemoth., Taamu will be a long time starter at nose
tackle in the league.
Kendricks can play inside or outside; however his best fit
is a 4-3 middle linebacker because of his size (511.1", 239). Kendricks
combines a great attitude and work ethic, with a non-stop motor,
and phenomenal measureables.
I have him with a first round grade and he is my number two
ranked inside linebacker. Kendicksran
a hand-held 4.43 forty at the Combine (4.47 official time), a
1.57 ten yard split, had a 4.14 short shuttle, an eye-popping
6.68 three-cone, a 39.5 vertical, a 107 broad jump and
24 bench presses. All
of his numbers were towards the top of the middle linebacker
will make the team that drafts him very happy.
Bobby Wagner, Utah
State Wagner combines excellent college production (280
tackles the last two years) with measureables that indicate he
will be able to translate his skills to the next level.
Wagner will need to be coached-up a bit to help him
diagnose plays better, but once he gets it, he could be a very
effective starter either at MIKE or WILL.
Wagners numbers include 24 bench presses, a 4.45
forty, a 39.5 vertical and an 110 broad jump.
Worst case, Wagner will be a terror on special teams.
was not invited to the Combine but caught my eye at the East
West Shrine Game. Since
the East West Shrine Game is for secondary prospects, not the
top prospects, I wanted to see his workout to help me determine
if he had the measureables to continue what I saw of him at the
s numbers were just fine, in fact in some areas they were
much better than fine. With
a 4.63 forty, a 6.93 three-cone, a 37.5 vertical and a
103 broad jump, Im confident the
I noticed at the East West Shrine Game will be able to carve out
a good NFL career, even if its as a quality reserve and top
special teams player.
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Lavonte David, Nebraska Possibly the
top WILL in the draft, David is getting overlooked a bit because
of all of the conversion, pass rushing linebackers available in
this draft. With 285
tackles and 11.5 sacks the last two years, David is one of the
most productive linebackers entering the draft.
David is known for being a hard worker and, as his 4.56
unofficial forty (4.59 official), 4.22 short shuttle, 36.5
vertical, 911 broad jump and 19 bench presses demonstrate,
also possess the physical gifts to excel in the NFL.
Miles Burress, San Diego
All drafts have players who are labeled effort,
over-achievers who are limited athletically.
Then after workouts some remove the limited athletically
label and become players with both the intangibles and
tangibles. That is
what happened to Burris. His workout line of a 4.67 forty, 4.20
short shuttle, 11.54 long shuttle, 6.80 three-cone, 37.5
vertical, 101 broad jump and 31 bench presses is quite
will be a good get for a team and worst case be a solid backup
and special teams player.
State Bradham is a big hitter with speed (4.53 unofficial,
4.60 official forty time at the Combine) who plays with reckless
abandon. Worst case
this kid will be a special teams star and valuable
situational player. With
4.53 speed in the forty (4.60 official time at the Combine),
37" vertical, 10'1" long jump, 24 bench presses and
7.18 three-cone, Bradham has the physical traits to succeed in
Stephon Gilmour, South Carolina
A few weeks ago this would have looked better, but Gilmour
has risen on most draft analysts boards.
However, Ill go on record and say he is a top-ten
talent. Gilmour has
excellent cover skills, is a very confident player and has good
size for the position. His
4.40 forty, 3.94 short shuttle, and 6.61 three-cone indicate he
can stay with both the speed and quick receivers. Gilmour will
be a star in the league.
Josh Robinson, Central Florida When you go to a small school and
hope to be a top draft pick you have to stand out.
Robinson did just that.
The next question is whether Robinson stood out because
of the lower level of competition or because of his skills.
This is where workout numbers come into play.
If they were average, then competition played a major role.
However, when they are outstanding, as in Robinsons
case, that indicates that he has the potential to transfer his
skills to the next level. Then
it becomes a case of your belief in the player.
I believe in Robinson and his unofficial 4.29 forty (4.30
official time), 3.97 short shuttle, 6.55 three-cone, 38.5
vertical and 111 broad jump.
And these numbers were all at the Combine, not a Pro Day
where conditions are often better for getting better results.
Fleming is a player I like more than most other draft
analysts. I have a
high second round grade on him.
Fleming had academic issues at Oklahoma, but
eventually got his act together.
Fleming has good ball skills and is ideal for a zone
scheme. However, he
also has the speed to play man-to-man and the quickness to cover
receivers in the slot. His
versatility adds to his value.
I believe Fleming, who combines on field performance with
measureables will be a steal in this draft.
FYI 4.43 unofficial forty (4.46 official), 3.97 short
shuttle, 10.75 long shuttle, 6.71 three-cone, 34 vertical,
105 broad jump and 23 bench presses as impressive a
line as any player in the draft.
Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina Norman
looked so good at the East West Shrine Game that he was a late
add to the Senior Bowl where he held his own. Norman
isnt the fastest or quickest corner, but he has good
instincts and will be a valuable nickel corner and special teams
Terrence Frederick, Texas A&M
was initially viewed as a solid player who was not a special
athlete. The he
worked out. Frederick
had a 4.43 forty with a 1.48 ten yard split, a 4.03 short
shuttle, a 11.13 long shuttle, a 6.59 three-cone, a 35
vertical, a 101 broad jump and had 16 bench presses.
offers excellent value beyond the name cornerbacks in the draft.
Harrison Smith, Notre Dame Smith is the
second best safety in the draft and is a player I wouldnt
hesitate drafting in the first round.
He has the range and speed to play free safety and the
size and strength to play strong safety.
He also has the size (61.7), speed (4.56 forty) and
quickness (4.12 short shuttle, 6.63 three-cone) to cover tight
ends. He also has a
102 vertical and had 19 bench presses.
Justin Bethel, Presbyterian Every year
there is a safety who I like better than most.
Usually their true value lies somewhere in between where
I have him ranked and where others have him ranked.
Last year it was Joe Lefeged who went undrafted, but
ended up starting some games for the Colts.
This year that player is Justin Bethel.
He is a top character individual, he was a tackling
machine, he blocked kicks and he is a terrific athlete.
With a 4.54 unofficial forty (4.56 official), a 4.30
short shuttle, a 6.79 three-cone, a 39.5 vertical, a
1011 broad jump and 19 bench presses, this kid is a
State This talented safety/cornerback was not invited to the Combine. He
missed the 2011 season with a shoulder injury, but did play in
the East West Shrine Game.
However, Hardin has a very interesting skill set.
He has good coverage ability for a safety, is strong (24
bench presses), runs very fast (times reported as low as 4.36 in
the forty), is quick (4.17 short shuttle, 6.88 three-cone), and
is a good athlete (104 broad jump).
He also has the size (62.5) to cover tight ends.
Hardin is a very intriguing prospect.
Worst case he will be a top special teams player and
nickel safety. Best
case he is a solid starter who can play the pass and the run.