March 9, 2011

Defensive End Prospects

Da'Quan Bowers
Height: 6-3. Weight: 280.
Hand size: 10 ¼ in.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Combine 40 Time: DNP.
Bench: 22. Vertical: N/A Arm: 33 1/8.
Projected Round (2011): Top 4 Pick.
Date of birth: February 23, 1990 (age 21)

On December 1, he won the honor of ACC Defensive Player of the year for the 2010 season. A week later, he was named the recipient of the 2010 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Bowers has the ability to become a franchise NFL defensive end with the potential to dominate against the run and pass. Appears capable of playing DE in different front alignments or inside at defensive tackle in pass rushing situations. Really came into his own as a pass rusher this fall terrorizing ACC opponents to the tune of 16 sacks. Can beat offensive lineman with his athleticism or power. A complete player against the run who can hold up at the point of attack or chase down plays from the backside. One of this year's truly elite prospects, Bowers should be vying for the No. 1 spot in April.

Bowers is an extremely impressive blend of height, bulk and athleticism for a bigger defensive end. Is very versatile. Gets to the quarterback with a nice combination of initial burst and power and closes in a hurry. Can anchor at the point of attack, use his strength and hands to get off blocks and jolt ball carriers with his short area explosion.

Is an athletic big-man but doesn't possess ideal top-end speed. Needs to do a better job of consistently playing low. Technique, awareness and motor have steadily developed but must continue to do so. Has dealt with some minor injuries during college career.

Pass rush: Combines explosion out of his stance and pure upper-body strength to overwhelm most college right tackles. Senses bootlegs to his side of the field, keeps outside leverage and sheds -- or gets a hand on a receiver to slow him up -- before chasing down the quarterback. Gets his hands into passing lanes when stalemated at the line, with a great vertical and the length to block passes at the line. Lines up on either side of the line. Does not have an elite first step as an edge rusher, relies on bull rushes and poor footwork by college tackles to turn the corner. When lined up wide, he can get inside lane with his hands and is tough to stop once in his man's jersey. Better tackles can stand him up as the game progresses. Too often, he is late coming off the snap.

Run defense: Ready-made strong-side NFL defensive end because of his strength as a run-stopper. Uses thick upper body, quickness and awareness, and leverage to keep containment on the edge, and sheds most tackles easily. Stays square to the line of scrimmage and shows good awareness throughout the play. Competes, chasing to either sideline, even after losing his balance. Takes on multiple blockers, (tackles, pulling guards and fullbacks) as they come with violent hands so he can hold his ground. Generally stays alive against cut blocks, but loses his balance regularly and needs to use his hands better to defeat.

Strength: Already looks like an NFL end, pushing some tackles into the backfield with one arm, and will only grow stronger over the next couple of years in a pro strength and conditioning program. More developed in the upper body than the lower body, but plays with excellent leverage against bigger linemen. Strong hands to shed on the outside.

Tackling: Combines NFL-quality strength and length to provide explosive tackling on the edge. Most ballcarriers find it difficult to evade him once in his grasp. Closing speed and strong wrap give him the capability of forcing fumbles on sacks or against ballcarriers in the open field. Changes direction well for his size and is able to keep himself in outside runs to force a decision. NFL backs won't go down as easily as college backs do when he gets one hand on them, however.

Intangibles: Matured and turned on his game after losing his mentor, former DE Gaines Adams (cardiac arrest) and his father (seizure) over the past year. Lost 20 pounds between junior and senior seasons. His best football is ahead of him. Has become a student of the game.

My take:
Bowers has been through a lot over the last year and really came into his own. The dropping of 20 pounds may explain the better production as he is more compact and faster. But the comparisons to Julius Peppers are wrong, is no where as big as Peppers, but he does take plays off like Peppers. Because of this there is some really bad tape of Bowers and he hasn’t proven to be elite. He is a good prospect with the potential to be great. There are issues about an knee injury suffered before the combine and his stock has fallen a little as other players performed well. Should still be a Top 5 pick though.

Robert Quinn
Height: 6-4. Weight: 265.
Hand size: 10 1/8 in.
Combine 40 Time: 4.67.
Bench: 22. Vertical: 34. Arm: 34.
Projected Round (2011): Top 10 Pick.
Date of birth: May 18, 1990 (age 20)

Scouts relayed to me that the UNC staff had told them Quinn was "supposed to be a very good kid" but some questioned whether the fact that Quinn is still viewed as a top prospect despite the suspension made him less concerned about the impact his suspension had on the Tar Heels' disappointing 2010 season. Quinn seemed surprised when asked if he cared about his suspension. "I definitely cared," he said.

"Watching the whole season, especially when UNC played LSU and I went down to support them, seeing our guys run on to the field, in the middle of the game I was about in tears in the stands. I made a selfish mistake and couldn't be out there..."
Quinn did not play a down in 2010, but he has the potential to be a premier pass rusher at the next level. He has an excellent first step and the burst to consistently get around the edge. He is a relentless pass rusher that will only improve once he develops an array of counter moves. He lacks the bulk to hold stout against the running game and can get overwhelmed by bigger blockers. Quinn has no recent tape, but he has the rare skill set to be a double-digit sack artist in the NFL and will likely be a first-round pick.

Quinn has a large frame and a muscular build. Explodes off the ball, shows good bend to get around the edge and has the closing burst to get after the quarterback. Plays with good balance and has a strong initial punch. Extremely fluid athlete that can make plays from the backside and flashes the ability to drop in coverage.
Does not have the bulk to anchor against the run and will get pushed around in phone booth situations. A bit late finding the ball and does not always feel the down block. Lacks a repertoire of pass rushing moves. Struggles to break down ball carriers in space.

Pass rush: Inconsistent off the snap. Is often among the last linemen off the ball, though he has such an explosive burst he can still beat the tackle with speed even when late and can leave his opponent grasping at air when he anticipates the snap correctly. Possesses a rare combination of burst and flexibility to dip under the reach of the tackle. Good agility and balance to turn the corner and has very good closing speed. Possesses a good rip move and the footwork to jab-step outside and cut back inside to split the gap; otherwise shows surprisingly little technique.

Run defense: Too light to hold up at the point of attack on rushing plays designed to go directly at him. Possesses good upper-body strength and explosive hands to shed blocks, but can be engulfed and driven off the ball. Doesn't do a good enough job keeping contain, too often slicing inside and losing his gap integrity when he incorrectly judges the speed of the ballcarrier. Good lateral agility, flexibility and balance to change direction and pursue. Good straight-line speed and effort to pursue.

Strength: Improving in this area and has the frame to handle an additional 10-15 pounds of muscle without a significant loss in quickness or speed. Good, not great strength at the point of attack. Lacks the sand in his pants to hold up against the run, though he does wrench himself free when he has space to operate. Good strength to drag down the ballcarrier.

Tackling: Good lateral agility and balance to break down in space and make the open-field tackle. Generally wraps up, though he'll go for the strip and miss tackles. Only average instincts but gets to the football quickly when he locates it.

Intangibles: Fluid athlete who appears capable of handling the transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Was occasionally asked to drop into coverage while at UNC. Suspended for the entire 2010 season after an NCAA investigation found that he had accepted benefits from a player agent. Didn't start his first career game but did start the other 25 in his two seasons.

My take:
Doom 2.0, great pass rusher but can’t hold up against the run, unless he puts on a bit of weight. Plus suspended for a year and having a brain tumor two red flags that turn me off. We need a run stuffing DE that can get after the passer (I personally think that Ayers and Hunter fit this mold quite well) I don’t think Quinn goes to the Broncos.

Aldon Smith
Height: 6-4. Weight: 263.
Hand size: 9 ¾ in.
Combine 40 Time: 4.74.
Bench: 20. Vertical: 34. Arm: 35 3/8.
Projected Round (2011): Top 15 Pick.

Smith has a chance to turn into a disruptive starting NFL 4-3 end if he can improve his strength and tenacity and become more stout against the run. Fluid, natural passer rusher who overcomes lack of excellent get off with terrific hand usage, elite lateral-mobility, very good closing speed, and a strong desire to get to the quarterback. Provides some value maintaining outside contain, pursuing from the backside, and making plays outside of the box, but needs to do a much better job against the downhill running game. Smith's currently holds a borderline first round grade.

Smith has outstanding height and length to go along with good speed. Very smooth athlete for his size. Can get to the passer with a variety of moves, impressive agility, and fast hands. Can be disruptive against the run when he gets into the backfield. Has the range to make plays on the backside.

Needs to add some bulk but has the frame to do so. Really needs to watch his pad level. Must improve his ability to anchor at the point of attack. Does not possesses elite initial burst for an edge player. Would like to see more sustained effort in run pursuit.

Pass rush: Great length and upper-body development with room to grow and become a top-notch pass rusher. When given the green light to attack the passer, he is able to turn the corner or quickly go outside-in to get a more direct path to the QB. Uses strength to get movement in his bull rush; able to release with his hands to harass a scrambling passer. Moves inside to a three-technique spot on some plays to take advantage of his quickness, as well as his height, to disrupt passing lanes (seven pass breakups in 2009-2010). Jumps over and uses his hands to beat cut blocks.

Run defense: Potentially strong edge run defender as 4-3 end or 3-4 linebacker. Stays balanced out of his stance, extends his arms to keep distance, able to shed to get to the ball on either side of the block. Good backfield awareness. Willing to lower his shoulder and stand his ground against pulling guards and moving tight ends. Gets down the line while engaged to be involved on inside runs. Beats reach blocks to get into the backfield.

Strength: Plays stronger than his height/weight numbers indicate. Does not give up room when holding the line. Violent with his hands, able to push aside blockers when rushing the passer or shedding to chase ballcarriers. Still requires time in pro strength and conditioning to gain 15-20 pounds before becoming a three-down player as a 4-3 defensive end.

Tackling: Uses his long, strong arms to wrap up quarterbacks and ballcarriers in the backfield; can chop down hard to force fumbles. Speedy chase tackler who closes well for his size due to that length, hustle, and straight-line speed. Misses tackles when leaving his feet early or short-arming (ducking his head and not fully extending.

Intangibles: Right fibula fractured against San Diego State in October 2010; fracture was high enough above ankle and below the knee so it could heal on its own without surgery. Returned just three weeks later and played hurt for the rest of the season. Only a redshirt sophomore, which is a positive given his upside, but some might view as negative given his relative lack of experience.

My take:
I like Smith but he is a project player, has some good ability and will do some things early but may be a few years before he provides a constant impact. He is outside our picking range but is a solid prospect with huge upside.

Cameron Jordan
Height: 6-4. Weight: 287.
Hand size: 11 1/8 in.
Combine 40 Time: 4.71.
Bench: 25. Vertical: 31. Arm: 35.
Projected Round (2011): Top 15 Pick.
Date of birth: July 10, 1989 (age 21)

Jordan is one of the higher-probability, game-ready prospects in this class. He's an ideal fit as a 3-4 defensive end but could also serve as a strong side DE in a four-man front. Really a good fit for any team that stresses gap integrity. Has good strength at the point of attack, plays with sound positioning, locates the ball carrier, gets off blocks and uses his good quickness and agility against the run. Not a big-time pass rushing talent by any means, but still has some good power moves. Jordan has the skill set to come off the board pretty quickly.

Jordan is a great combination of size, strength and speed for a 3-4 defensive end prospect. At his best against the run. Keeps blockers off his body, has the diagnosing skills to find the football and can get off blocks and make plays. Shows impressive stamina for a big d-end staying on the field for third down and playing all four quarters.

Probably will never be an impact pass rusher, hasn’t put up big sack totals, but still works hard in that area. Despite good bulk, may be considered a bit light in the pants for what some teams are looking for in their three-man front. Has one documented off-the-field issue to our knowledge.

Pass rush: Only moderate initial quickness off the snap. Doesn't possess the top-end speed to be more than a marginal pass rusher in the NFL. Relies on his power and technique to pressure the pocket. Has a strong club move and rip and swim moves. Has the hand strength to knock away the initial punch of the pass blocker and often supplies his own punch to drive his opponent into the pocket. Good use of leverage and very good strength for the bull rush. Locates the ball and shows a late burst to close when opportunities are presented. Has long arms but is still developing recognition and timing to get his hands up. Has only five passes broken up in 50 games.

Run defense: Stout run defender. Understands gap responsibilities in the 3-4 defense. Has the long arms to keep defenders away from his chest and the bulk to anchor. Locates the ball quickly and pursues hard. Good balance and appears more agile in run defense forcing the back wide to the sideline than he is as a pass rusher. Good effort in lateral and down field pursuit.

Strength: Arguably his greatest asset. Possesses very good upper- and lower-body strength to remain as a five technique defensive end in the 3-4 or a base (left) defensive end for the 4-3 alignment. Comes off the snap low and hard and has the bulk to create a pile. Can drive his opponent into the pocket with his bull rush and slide off to make the tackle when the ballcarrier is near.

Tackling: Good strength for the drag-down tackle. Will lower his shoulder and bring his hips for the big collision. Strong enough that he can slip off blockers and find the ball. Doesn't have great balance or flexibility to break down in the open field to tackle elusive ballcarriers but his long arms and good hand-eye coordination help him to at least trip up the target.

Intangibles: High-effort player. Plays to the whistle and pursues hard. Good bloodlines. Father, Steve Jordan, was a six-time Pro Bowl tight end during 13 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. Suspended for 2008 season opener after an arrest for suspicion of a DUI -- the only game he missed at Cal. Played in 50 of 51 games, including 32 starts. Characterized by teammates as a "locker-room clown" and a "just a big kid at heart." Had his maturity questioned by coaches early in his career, though he emerged as more of a leader since.

My take:
I really like Jordan but I don’t see how he fits on our team. He is good against the run and has a bit of pass rushing moves but I think he would be better served in a 3-4 with his lack of elite athleticism. Should be off the board at about 15 which could be where the Broncos trade down too.

J.J. Watt
Height: 6-5. Weight: 290.
Hand size: 11 1/8 in.
Combine 40 Time: 4.78.
Bench: 34. Vertical: 37. Arm: 34.
Projected Round (2011): Top 20 Pick.
3-cone drill: 6.88 secs.
Date of birth: March 22, 1989 (age 21)

Watt was the 2010 recipient of the Ronnie Lott Award

Watt is an ideal fit as a strong side 4-3 defensive end but some may like him more as a 3-4 end. A hard-working, intelligent, relentless player but does not have elite fluidity or burst. Uses his hands extremely well to get off blocks both rushing the passer and against the run. Doesn't possesses great initial quickness but closes hard and fast on the quarterback and has enough straight-lined speed to pursue from the backside. Good height, fast hands and great anticipation allow him to bat down a ton of passes. Watt will give you everything he's got, and should be a first round selection.

Watt has a good combination of size and speed. Takes direct routes to the quarterback, uses his hands well to get unblocked and shows a closing burst. Great hand usage against the run as well, keeps blockers off away from his frame and locates the ball-carrier. Outstanding football IQ. Non-stop motor.

Won't consistently get the edge on tackles with his get off or quickness. Plays high at times, can be blown off the ball by the double team, but does fight hard to hold ground. Lacks some lateral mobility both rushing the passer and playing in space. Will occasionally give up outside contain.

Pass rush: Relentless rushing the passer in obvious passing situations whether lined up inside or outside. Gets extra attention from opponents. Most dangerous when anticipating the snap and swimming over guards/centers inside. Spins off blocks to get outside after initial contact or pushes through doubles inside. Gets his hands into throwing lanes, using his height and length to knock down or affect passes. Nimble feet allow him to twist inside. Bounces back after initial contact, keeps his balance to find the ballcarrier. Knocks tight end off route before making his rush. Often lined up outside the tackle, can bull-rush and get corner at times against college right tackles but needs to continue improving his flexibility to beat NFL blockers.

Run defense: Active against the run. Able to stack and shed to get to outside runs, and is strong and agile enough to move down the line to be involved in inside runs. Displays some nice change-of-direction ability for his size to mirror ballcarriers trying to elude. Gives very good effort containing misdirection and bootlegs on the edge, though quicker NFL ballcarriers will beat him to the edge. When inside, has quickness to penetrate and gets his hands up quickly to maintain distance from the blocker but fails to keep his body square to the line and gets pushed out of the play.

Strength: Flashes strength to shed blocks and bull through double teams, but must gain muscle in both his upper and lower body to hold his ground at the next level. Can be pushed off the line by double teams, typically when turned sideways. Works with his hands against blockers, looks to potentially be good in this area. Can play too high when lined up inside to win the leverage battle.

Tackling: High-effort tackler with long arms and growing strength. Gets low despite his height to mirror and wrap up ballcarriers. Quarterbacks do not want to feel his explosive tackling in the backfield. Doesn't leave his feet, though he stretches to make a lot of ankle tackles other linemen couldn't make.

Intangibles: Excellent character and work ethic. Won the Lott IMPACT Award for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity among college defenders. Began the Justin J. Watt Foundation to help schools fund athletic programs, does quite a bit of community work. Academic All-Big Ten in 2009 and 2010. Brother Derek is scheduled to play football at UW in 2011.

My take:
Watt is my favourite player in the draft and fits the mentality that I think we need on defense (look at the mug shot, look into his eyes and try not to sh*t yourself). He is aggressive and makes plays in the back field, 21 tackles for loss. Reminds me a lot of Jared Allen. Has some issues with his explosion and speed coming around the corner. But it is said that a player can be a pass rusher in the NFL if he can run under 7 secs in the 3-cone, which he did. He impressed in all his measurable and was in the top of pretty much everyone of them. I think he is exactly what we need at left end and can provide a solid pass rush from that side to help Doom. It would also not surprise me if they play both Watt and Ayers at DE on running plays or kick Watt inside every now and then to rotate in Ayers and change the make up of the line. I think Watt brings a lot of versatility to the line.

Ryan Kerrigan
Height: 6-4. Weight: 267.
Hand size: 9 ½ in.
Combine 40 Time: 4.67.
Bench: 31. Vertical: 33.5. Arm: 33 3/8.
Projected Round (2011): Top 20 Pick.
Date of birth: August 16, 1988 (age 22)
3-cone: 7.18 secs.

Kerrigan is a beast of a football player that has the ability to be a difference maker at the next level. He appears to be versatile enough to play defensive end in a 4-3 and outside linebacker in a 3-4. He has the lower body strength to hold his ground in the running game and is a relentless pass rusher. He is a strip sacks specialist who became the Big Ten's all time leader in forced fumbles as a senior. There are questions whether he can play on his feet in space in the NFL, but Kerrigan is a likely a mid-first round pick.

Kerrigan has good size and speed. Explodes off the line and plays with sound leverage to get under offensive tackles. Persistent pass rusher with great closing burst that has a knack for making strip sacks. Reads quickly and has a strong lower half which makes him stout against the run. Very productive.

Lacks the elite burst and speed to consistently get around the edge. Does not show an adequate repertoire of pass rushing counter moves. Struggles at times to make plays in space. Lacks experience on his feet as an outside linebacker.

Pass rush: Hustle pass rusher with the size to contribute on either side of the line. Not a threat to turn the corner because he is a bit stiff in the hips, but anticipates the snap well and flashes the occasional burst to pressure tackles up the field. Defeats tight ends on the line and running backs in the backfield with his hands and strength. Capable of putting his blocker on skates to take him back into the pocket. Provides secondary rush, keeps his eyes in the backfield and will chase down quarterbacks if they hang onto the ball too long. Does not have an exceptional closing burst, but his height and length make it difficult to see over or pass around him. Drops into coverage on occasion and hustles to plays but lacks great agility in space. Lacks counter pass-rush moves.

Run defense: Intelligent, assignment-sure run defender. Keeps arms extended to stack tackle to contain on the edge, though he could shed more consistently. Works hard to get down the line if the play is run away from him. Recovers quickly from cut blocks using his hands to keep his balance, but will lose the ball in the process. Presses double teams, will not give up on a play. Good overall build and has improved his functional strength. Better tackles can control him off the snap, though he will overpower or shed tight ends on run plays when one-on-one. Lacks speed to keep containment against quicker backs if he takes a step inside.
Explosion: Is not a quick-twitch athlete but has enough explosiveness from his stance to challenge strong-side tackles as a pass rusher. Keeps his hips low and delivers a strong punch into his blocker's chest, giving him a strong bull rush and the ability to keep his distance from tackles on the edge.

Strength: A taller defensive end, he plays with good leverage on the edge and gets under the pads and moves tackles into the backfield. Moves with blockers on the edge to prevent plays getting outside. Must improve using his hands to consistently disengage from blocks to make plays.

Tackling: Secure tackler inside and when chasing down field. Excellent hustle to track down receivers and running backs down field on short throws. Long, strong arms make it difficult for ballcarriers to elude his tackles. More of a drag-down tackler than explosive, but brings enough pop to force fumbles when attacking the quarterback. Lacks elite speed and has only adequate change-of-direction agility for his size; he might struggle to corral quick and elusive NFL backs.

Intangibles: Team captain and unquestioned leader of the defense. Off-the-charts work ethic on the field and weight room, equally excelling at both. Exceptional student-athlete, has garnered multiple Academic All-Big Ten and All-American honors during his career. Full name is Patrick Ryan Kerrigan. Father played football at Ball State. He had surgery on broken foot after 2009 season, which he also aggravated during spring practices in 2010.

My Take:
Again is another solid prospect, I don’t think he has the upside of Smith but is very solid in what he does. But I don’t think he will ever be amazing and take over a game, flat out dominate. He is also outside the range of the Broncos picks but whoever picks him will be pleased and get solid production out of him.

Adrian Clayborn
Height: 6-3. Weight: 281.
Hand size: 9 ¾ in.
Combine 40 Time: 4.81.
Bench: N/A. Vertical: 33. Arm: 32 1/2.
Projected Round (2011): Top 20 Pick.
Date of birth: July 6, 1988 (age 22)

Clayborn has the ability to be a very good starting defensive end in a 3-4 or 4-3 front and can play some defensive tackle in passing situations. Smart, instinctual player, especially against the run. Doesn't stay blocked long and can stop the running game right at him. Uses his hands and power to take a direct route to the quarterback. Doesn't possess elite quickness or top-end speed which limits his big play ability rushing the passer, away from him in the running game, and in space. Clayborn could draw interest from several clubs due to his versatility. Probable first round pick.

Clayborn has good size. Uses a variety of power moves to jolt offensive lineman and get to the quarterback. Holds his ground well, gets off blocks and is a sure tackler when run at. Can play strong side end in a 4-3, the 5-technique in a 3-4, or move inside on passing downs. Great football IQ.

Lacks elite initial burst to consistently beat NFL tackles and get the corner. Overall athleticism and fluidity is just adequate. Not overly comfortable tackling in space or dropping into coverage. Won't consistently make plays chasing from the backside. Has some off-the-field issues.

Pass rush: Strong pass rusher able to rips off blocks with violent hands to get the corner. Good closing speed to the quarterback, even after absorbing a big punch from offensive tackles off the snap. Able to break down in space to get his hands on ballcarriers. Tight ends and fullbacks have little chance to handle his strength and strong punch on the edge. Will pause his pass rush to knock a running back off his route into the flat and continue on his path to the quarterback. Pass rush comes from strength and hustle, not an explosive first step that allows him to turn the corner. Does not have counter rush moves and will not be able to swipe aside most starting NFL tackles. Appeared less sudden and relentless in 2010.

Run defense: Active and stout run defender who stays square to the line of scrimmage and often gives a second and third effort. Plays with leverage, able to stack tackles and shed in either direction using strong hands to get to the ballcarrier -- even if pushed off the line a bit by stronger tackles. Feels cut blocks, keeps his eyes up and uses his hands well. Uses his hands to use tackles' momentum against them. Flows through traffic, keeps his feet moving, and separates from linemen with active hands on inside runs. Lowers his shoulder to anchor against pulling guards behind the line to help linebackers stay free. Consistently keeps contain on his side of the line, especially against mobile quarterbacks, and is able to change direction to chase down backs going for the sideline. Lack of height allows larger tackles to engulf him.

Strength: Uses his low center of gravity and strong upper and lower body to play with great leverage. Consistently leverages blockers and disengages from blocks with strong and violent hands. Lacks height to block field goals but provides good push and penetration inside; also a factor on punts as protectors cannot handle his strength and quickness.

Tackling: A solid tackler who is very active and stays square and low, but his technique is not always sound. Strong arms allow him to be explosive when coming straight on and force fumbles by ripping or simply creating a big impact. Punches blockers in space to keep them from latching on, stays alive to make a play. Doesn't have great length and will often slip or bounce off ballcarriers; his initial impact might be strong enough to bring down college running back, but NFL runners might have more success staying alive.

Intangibles: Unquestioned emotional leader of the Iowa defense on and off the field. Named a permanent team captain and praised by coaches for his character and work ethic. Teams will check out nerves in his right arm and neck to ensure the Erb's Palsy he suffered at birth is a non-issue. Charged with assaulting an Iowa City taxi driver in January 2009 after reportedly confronting a taxi driver who honked his horn in a traffic jam. Pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in March 2010, but was not suspended by Iowa coaches because they felt the situation required only minor internal penalties.

My take:
Was disappointed with his measurable, short arms and small hands will make it difficult against big tackles. He has a very compact body, not lanky at all. Also down on Clayborn because of his injuries and his run ins with the law. But will provide solid production for whichever team picks him, but for the Broncos I say no.

Justin Houston
Height: 6-3. Weight: 270.
Hand size: 10 7/8 in.
Combine 40 Time: 4.63.
Bench: 30. Vertical: 36.5. Arm: 34 1/2.
Projected Round (2011): 1-2.
Date of birth: January 21, 1989 (age 22)

Houston is a bit undersized as a traditional 4-3 defensive end but fits the mold of a 3-4 outside linebacker. Gets off the ball quickly, has enough athleticism to get the corner, and can also use the bull rush but needs to do a better job after contact and widen his array moves. Flashes the ability to keep blockers off his body, set the edge, get off blocks and make plays and make plays in pursuit but needs to show more intensity shedding and playing in a phone booth. Has the athleticism to drop into coverage but may struggle in man. Early Day 2 prospect.
Houston has good height, bulk and athleticism for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Active pass rusher. Displays good get off and can get the edge but also will utilize the bull rush. When technique is sound, will maintain outside contain against the run.

Can pursue from the backside. Has experience dropping into zone coverage.

Could be more consistent with his hands while pass rushing and against the run when disengaging. Needs to watch his pad level at times and can get washed out.

Awareness is still developing when finding the football. Inconsistent effort against the run. Potential liability in man coverage.

Read and React: A work in progress. Typically asked to rush the passer in the Georgia scheme but shows moderate overall awareness dropping into coverage. Locates the ball quickly and shows good flexibility and balance to scrape and pursue.

Run Defense: Lacks the bulk to move back to defensive end on a full-time basis in the NFL. As a linebacker, has good upper-body strength and arm length to fight off blocks at the point of attack. Locates the ball quickly. Keeps blockers off his chest and shows some explosiveness in his hands to disengage. Good balance and lateral agility to keep his feet while fighting through blocks.

Pass Defense: At his best rushing upfield. Fires off the snap with an explosive burst from a three-point stance and as a stand-up pass rusher. Shows some agility to elude blockers. Good flexibility and balance to dip under the blocker's reach and the burst to plant his foot and drive toward the ballcarrier. Has a closing burst when the ball is near.

Tackling: Has good but not elite lateral agility to break down in the open field to make one-on-one tackles. Good strength for the drag-down tackle. Generates explosiveness as a hitter, bringing his hips through to launch himself into the ballcarrier. Has the awareness to attempt to knock the ball out in pursuit but had only two forced fumbles in three seasons.

Pass Rush/Blitz: His greatest strength is his explosive burst upfield. Varies his speed off the edge, showing the speed to cross the pass blocker's face and beat him around the corner, as well as the quick feet and balance to fake outside and cut back inside. Learning to use his hands, but is not as developed in this area as you might expect, considering his time as a defensive end. Relies on his burst to beat blockers, and lacks a repertoire of rush moves. A bit of a one-trick pony. Too often stymied when his speed off the edge is contained.

Intangibles: Wrestled with the decision to leave school early. Was thought to be leaning that way, but reconsidered amidst private and public "re-recruiting" by the Georgia coaches. Ultimately declared on January 15, the NFL-imposed deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft. Was suspended in May 2009 for reportedly violating university substance abuse policy.

My take:
Houston has the talent to come off the edge and dominate, he has a really good first step. But he lacks good bulk to hold up in the run game at DE. The position that he would play would be the one that Doom currently holds. Also I have the feeling that a 3-4 team may take him and try to convert him to an outside linebacker.

Brooks Reed
Height: 6-3. Weight: 263.
Hand size: 10 in.
Combine 40 Time: 4.66.
Bench: 30. Vertical: 30.5. Arm: 32 1/4.
Projected Round (2011): 2.

Reed has the awareness, technique and heart to be a productive player at the next level. Has some upside as a possible conversion to 3-4 outside linebacker. Gets to the quarterback with a variety of moves and a relentless motor. Uses his hands really well to maintain gap integrity and disengage from blockers against the run. Lack of size, his all-out playing style, and minor injury history pose some questions about his durability. Reed's a polished college defensive end who will likely come off the board in the mid-to-late rounds by a team that values his veteran-like skill-set.

Reed is a maximum-effort player who will leave it all one the field. A true technician who overcomes lack of ideal size and top-end speed to be productive against the run and pass. Displays excellent awareness, maintains gap responsibilities, and can be counted on to play within your defensive system. Has the potential to stand up in a 3-4.

Does not possess ideal defensive end height or weight and isn't the type of guy who will turn heads in a combine setting. Can pressure the passer but doesn't exhibit elite burst or closing ability. Can be engulfed by strong run blockers at the point of attack. Hips and feet are only adequate.

Positives: Three-year starter at end is a combination of effort, hustle and quickness off the snap. Could get a look as a 4-3 end, but is also well suited for outside linebacker in a 3-4. Stays low, runs well and is relentless in pursuit. Powerful bull rush and a quality speed rush. Consistent and strong tackler, can deliver the big hit. Contributes on special teams. Smart in the classroom, fiery leader on the field - top intangibles.

Negatives: Appears a bit stiff in the hips and doesn't change directions well. Has bull and speed rushes and an OK spin move as pass rush techniques - that's it. Spin move is the double-move. Doesn't disengage from blocks effectively. Did not fare well against better competition. While effort is good, isn't very effective as a lineman against the run, and can be overpowered and washed. Doesn't have a lot of experience in pass coverage.

Reed was timed at 1.54 seconds over the first ten yards

My take:
Reed is interesting, doesn’t have a great first step but times really well in the first 10 yards. Like Houston he doesn’t have the bulk for DE and the lengthy build to beat tackles. But he has a non stop motor and will be a constant performer for the team that drafts him. He will be an interesting prospect that the Broncos will look at in the second round. But like Houston he is pinned for a 3-4 team that is looking for the next Clay Matthews.


  1. Crap, crap, crap, crap and crap. Pardon my french but now I'm P'od... damn player's association. Can't put aside their egos to come to an agreement with the league. Who knows how long it will take them to come to an understanding. This is why I'm against unions, they only cause trouble and all they care about is their f'n money. Yeah I'm that ticked off. My worst fear is coming true.

    Yeah, yeah, I know they could still come to an agreement but it would be after the deadline and now it will really screw things up. If its taken them this long and they still can't compromise, I don't see the point of having a draft if they decide to be THAT stubborn. Makes me sick.

  2. Now we have a lockout... doesn't get any worse than this. Frankly, if this goes on during the draft, I don't see the point of having a draft. No season... why bother??? Stupid I tell you, stupid!! All ego and all about the money will always get in the way, not to mention unions will screw up anything.

    On the other hand, TRAGIC what happened in Japan. So sad what's going over there. Already donated $10 by text. God bless those people.

  3. Yeah this is a very sad day in the NFL, pretty terrible.

    And it is very tragic what happened in Japan, 3 big disasters in the space of a few months.

  4. Is it the union or is it the lawyers? The owners offered 5 years of books to be opened and De Maurice Smith insisted on 10 or they will go to court. This is what he wanted all along. He's a lawyer. WITF do the players feel they have the right to look at the books in the first place. They're not partners. They don't have anything invested. They're employees. They take how much the boss gives them or find a new job. Simple as that. They have no right demanding anything. If the players do get more than what they get now the NFL will be ruined within 10 years. They already are 90% a bunch of thugs with $. I have a feeling this year will still be saved and there will be football, but in 10 years we won't even care so much.

  5. I have a hard time understanding whats going on with each side having so many titles. There is the union, the league, the players, the owners, the NFLPA, and there are a few others that I can't remember, so with all these titles used in these articles, I get a little confused. But I understand some of whats going on, though I don't agree with it, nor do I support it. Maybe some one can clear up which side all of those titles fall on. But I understand that the owners want 2 billion instead of 1 billion, and the players union wants to see what the owners have been spending money on to see if their request for more money is necessary. And the whole reason we are in this situation is because the owners opted out of the current agreement a few year back because they wanted more than the billion they were getting. And then to top it off I guess the players don't want to go to an 18 game season.... Is this right or am I off? But who is who? I hope they can make a deal and hopefully they don't try to use replacement players again. And what exactly does decertification mean? It says they are decertifying so that it can desolve.

  6. I've been confused by all the titles before too but for some reason after yesterday's announcement it all came to me. This is how I see it.

    The union & the NFLPA are the same thing and the players are under that union. Then you have the NFL & the owners. So basically its the owners/teams/NFL vs. NFLPA union/players. It only makes sense that way because when the union filed papers to decertify the league enforced a lockout and then in revolt of the lockout Brady, Manning and others filed the antitrust suit against the league. So I guess you could say that the union is a representative of the NFLPA & the players but bottom line is all 3 are on the same side vs. the NFL & owners.

    I had to look up decertify yesterday cause that part wasn't making sense to me either. It means "to invalidate a certificate or license that had been granted to". What I get from that is the union decertified the license/certificate/CBA/whatever the heck you call it that they had with the NFL. That part I still can't 100% wrap my brain around but I know it isn't good news.

    This whole thing is just a disgusting mess. I've said it before but this union is only after its share of money and they could care less about having a football season. I can't stress enough how much I HATE unions.

  7. And I totally agree with you Digger. The players are flirting with the line of really hurting the NFL (asking/demanding for stuff they have no business getting their hands on like those books). They are pushing too hard for something they have no right to be pushing for. They are going too far to protect their egos & pocket books that they aren't seeing the bigger picture. Eventually, their little union will hurt the league in a realistic 10 year span. And what they really fail to see is if there's no NFL not ONE of them will have a job. We'll see if their little union will protect them then (when they're not making their OUTRAGEOUS millions).

    You asked if it was the union OR lawyers... I think its both. They work hand in hand, they're on the same side so they are both to blame. They both want the same things and neither one of them can comprehend the word "compromise". Its all money & egos with them. Nothing more, nothing less.

    You have the NFLPA which is a union so same thing.
    Under them you have the lawyers which represent the players.
    The players are represented by all 3 (NFLPA, union, lawyers). <<<< VERY BAD combination.

  8. Hey Aussie - what other tragedies happened in Japan in the last few months other than yesterday's stuff?? ha, must've missed something.

  9. Yeah me too. I heard of a power plant explosion but I thought that was in relation to the volcano which caused the Tsunami(sp).

    Anyway, it seems to me you got a pretty good grip on who's who, BP. The National Football League Players Association is made up of retired and current players and so some of them have nothing to lose, but a bunch to gain if they can get 50% instead of 44% of the total profits. Something like that. Like you said it's about the money. The retired players are after what they feel they deserve with pensions and stuff. The lawyers want it to go to litigation because they're greedy money hungry bastards that don't give a damn about football.

  10. I meant world wide, there has been the floods in Australia, the earthquake in new Zealand and now this is japan, has been a terrible few months.

  11. thanks princess, and GO BRONCOS!!!!

  12. Also of note the Broncos scheduled a Private workout with Patrick Peterson after his pro day.

  13. Oh and Jazzy love the photo.

  14. Now looks like the Broncos will workout QB Locker, this is an interesting turn of events.

  15. Thanks gouldy, why in the world would we waste time working out a first round qb???????

  16. I have a feeling we may trade down and this will be a smoke screen for when we move down to say 10-12 that someone will trade up for locker as they think we may take him, so moving down into the 20s is the plan?, or fox and elway really like him or are bored and want to look at QBs haha.