Sleeping Seniors: Big Ten Leaders Division

Could this be the year that Penn State fans have been waiting for from Jack Crawford?

As we continue this series we move into the Big 10 and take a look at the new Leaders Division. The Big 10 is known for its powerful based football and it shows in this article as 5 of the 9 sleepers listed below are lineman. So find out who may be sleeping this year in the Big 10, well other than JoePa.

DE Nathan Williams-Ohio State

6’3, 260 lbs.

4 Star DE-Scout

Williams is an explosive athlete coming off the edge, he has a very good first step. He does well to set up the offensive lineman with his speed rush, before showing off good strength on his bull rush. He is an all-effort type of a player who is not afraid of giving a little chase. Williams still struggles once he’s engaged to get off the blocks, he must learn to use his hands more effectively. He is likely a better fit at OLB in a 34 defense projecting forward.

DE Louis Nzegwu-Wisconsin

6’4, 245 lbs.

3 Star RB-Rivals

It’s not often you see a guy who comes into college as RB, bulk up and become a down-lineman. However in the case of Nzegwu that’s exactly what has happened. A gifted athlete who has ideal length, Nzegwu uses his frame impressively, doing a good job getting his hands up and into passing lanes. He’s much better coming out of a 2 point stance as opposed to the traditional 3 point stance of a DE and projects as an OLB at the next level. We feel that he needs to get stronger at the POA in order to help him get off blocks and make more plays.

OG Johnnie Trautman-Penn State

6’4, 323 lbs.

3 Star DT-Scout

Trautman is an athletic OG who has ideal size, and is a beast in the run game. He is so explosive out of his stance that at times he overwhelms the defensive tackle is able to blast huge holes for his RB. Still a very raw product who is learning how to block, and how to handle pass rushers. He still doesn’t know how to properly use his hands, he needs to use his punch more effectively to keep rushers at bay. Trautman needs to become more consistent with his hand placement and could use to get stronger in his upper body.

DE Jack Crawford-Penn State

6’5, 265 lbs.

3 Star DE-Rivals

It seems like we have all been waiting a few years for Jack Crawford’s light to finally click on, and so far all we’ve seen is flashes of that light. A prospect from England who originally came over the pond to showcase his basketball skills has incredible athleticism, and at times will absolutely explode out of his stance. He has a rather limited repertoire of pass rush moves that is predicated on the success of his speed rush. He is still learning the basics of how to play football, let alone how to play defense. Crawford may be one of the biggest risk/reward draft prospects in this entire class.

CB D’Anton Lynn-Penn State

6’1, 210 lbs.

4 Star S-Scout

Lynn has great size for the CB position and he knows how to use it, showing no fear in mixing it up with WR’s. He has very good speed which he uses both in closing on the ball and when trying to recover. He is a very accomplished tackler for a CB, and is a big help in Penn State’s run defense. Still struggles in man to man coverage and has the habit of biting on fakes. Lynn looks like he could be primed to take big leap this year for the Nittany Lions, if he can find a way to play with more control and make less mistakes.

RB Jason Ford-Illinois

6’0, 235 lbs.

3 Star RB-Rivals

Exit one star RB, and enter his talented replacement, that’s how the Illini have seemingly been operating these past few years as names such as LeShoure, and Mendenhall have made it into the NFL. Next in line appears to be the big bodied Jason Ford, who hopes that his vision based running style will get his name called next April. Ford may be a bigger back but don’t think he’s can’t smoke you, he has deceptive speed and seems to find a new gear in the open field. He’s not, however, going to make many people miss in the open field. He’s a little stiff in the hips which limits his lateral agility in the open field and cause him to be caught when trying to cutback.

WR AJ Jenkins-Illinois

6’0, 185 lbs.

4 Star WR-Scout

One of the most dangerous players for Illinois this year, Jenkins can beat you in a multitude of ways. He’s especially dangerous down the field, showing off impressive body control on jump balls, and utilizing his acceleration to get behind the defense. He runs crisp routes that allow him further separation and make him a pain to cover in man defense. We’d like to see Jenkins add some bulk and strength to his frame, because he isn’t much of a blocker and could use the extra weight when trying to get off the jam and into his route.

OT Jeff Allen-Illinois

6’5, 305 lbs.

2 Star OG-Rivals

One of the most technically gifted OL in the Big 10 this year, Allen uses his technique to keep defenders subdued. He is gifted with his hands, utilizing them in combination with a strong punch to keep pass rushers back. Allen is a versatile lineman who is able to play 4 of the 5 offensive line positions and could be a fit at any position in the NFL. Allen is not your typical athletic specimen at LT, he struggles a bit with speed rushers and can get caught in no man’s land on stunts and delayed blitzes. We would also like to see Allen get stronger and add some bulk to his frame.

WR Justin Siller-Purdue

6’4, 215 lbs.

3 Star QB-Rivals

The former Boilermaker QB, Siller, has since moved over to WR and has had relative success early on. He’s an athletic WR who has shown the ability to go up and get the deep ball early on in his transition. He has fantastic size for the position, but needs to learn how to use it better down the field. He still struggles at times with lapses of concentration. The area he most needs to improve is with the route tree. Having spent so much time at QB in his career, Siller has very limited experience running routes and still struggles at times to get the proper depth and timing down.

Tags: Big 10, College Football, Illinois, NFL Draft, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

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