2010 Senior Bowl Preview: Defense

By Matt McGuire
Jan. 24, 2010
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The defensive talent in 2010 is just as intriguing as the offense. Let’s get to it.

Defensive Line

The guy I am here to see is Texas Christian rush linebacker Jerry Hughes whom I have given my 4-star first-round grade. His explosion off the ball is phenomenal and he was a pleasure to watch on tape. He isn’t the biggest prospect, but he plays big and that’s ultimately what matters – just ask Elvis Dumervil.

Utah’s Koa Misi and Troy’s Brandon Lang are other defensive ends I will have my eye on. Misi is a fluid, athletic end that can get off the quarterback. Lang does a great job of using his hands as a blue-collar, physical lineman who is a little undersized. Michigan’s Brandon Graham has a lot to prove because I don’t see the first step or athleticism on tape to say he can play 3-4 outside backer at the next level. He is a stocky, productive lineman who will likely find a home at 4-3 left end.

I expect Alabama’s Terrence Cody to drop out because this just isn’t his environment. Scouts are definitely going to be looking forward to his weigh-in – they want to see how “in shape” Mount Cody is.

Texas’ Lamarr Houston seems to have some momentum going into the Senior Bowl as an athletic 3-technique who can make plays in the backfield. Tennessee’s Dan Williams has a big chance to skyrocket up boards much like USC’s Sedrick Ellis in 2007 and Boston College’s B.J. Raji in 2008.


My guy is Texas Christian’s Daryl Washington. He’s a second-round pick. He bounces around the field like a cat with his freakish athleticism and range. I’m a big fan of his and I expect him to turn it out.

Missouri’s Sean Weatherspoon has a ton of ground to make up. He was a potential top-15 pick before the season, but now he might seem destined for the third round with a mediocre senior season. He needs to show up like the playmaker we all know he is.

Sleeper Watch: Mississippi State’s Jamar Chaney, Miami’s Daryl Sharpton and Troy’s Cameron Sheffield are all guys I will be watching closely. They all flash on tape, but I want to see who steps up their game to the next level on the big stage.

I think the “surest thing” in Mobile will be South Carolina’s Eric Norwood. You can hate him because he is undersized all you want, but he makes plays. He will be a steal for some team in the third round in April’s draft, but it wouldn’t shock me if he vaults up boards if he shows his versatility this week. He is a pass rush extraordinaire who is a big-time leader and playmaker.

Defensive back

My guy of the corner group is Wake Forest’s Brandon Ghee as he is currently ranked No. 3 on my board. He’s big, he plays big, and he is FAST. I expect him to make plays this week and if he doesn’t, it’s a disappointment in my book.

Florida State’s Patrick Robinson is still everyone’s No. 1 senior corner despite a really poor senior season. Find me one game where he was dominant – seems like a lot of draft analysts are still intrigued by his triangle numbers and afraid to move him out of the top spot. I consider him the Derrick Williams of the corner class: overrated. I hope I’m not eating crow by Friday.

Give it up for the Todd McShay duo: Cal’s Syd’Quan Thompson and Alabama’s Javier Arenas. McShay pegged both as first-rounders this preseason – at least it wasn’t as bad as putting Fili Moala as the No. 1 player in the entire 2009 NFL Draft.

Kentucky’s Trevard Lindley has a free-falling draft stock. He needs a big week after an unimpressive season. His stock at the moment is in the third-fourth round range.

Taylor Mays – all eyes will be on him this week. Mays is a beast in run support, but a major liability in coverage. We’ll see if he has improved his awareness and angle taking this week. I think he is destined to be a Seahawk when it’s all said and done even if he has a bad week.

My guy of the safeties is South Florida’s Nate Allen. He is a playmaker in coverage with great instincts, and he does a great job of reading the quarterback’s eyes.

2011 Senior Bowl Stock: Senior Bowl Game
2011 Senior Bowl Stock: Day 4 Practice
2011 Senior Bowl Stock: Day 3 Practice
2011 Senior Bowl Stock: Day 2 Practice
2011 Senior Bowl Stock: Day 1 Practice
2011 Senior Bowl Stock: Weigh-In
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Quarterbacks
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Running Backs
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Wide Receivers
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Tight Ends
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Offensive Linemen
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Defensive Linemen
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Linebackers
2011 Senior Bowl Weigh-In: Defensive Backs

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