Posts Tagged ‘Louisville’

2014 NFL Draft: Linebacker Options to Fix Buffalo’s Run Defense

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

If the Buffalo Bills choose to improve their linebacker corps with the No. 9 overall pick, UCLA’s Anthony Barr is one possible option. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski

The Buffalo Bills improved in many ways under a new coaching staff in 2013, but stopping the run continued to be a problem. The Bills ranked 28th in the NFL in run defense, allowing 129 yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry and 19 runs of longer than 20 yards.

Middle linebacker Kiko Alonso had a tremendous rookie year, totaling 159 tackles and two sacks, but he showed far more value in coverage, sometimes being swallowed up by blockers in run defense. If the Bills are going to get better against the run as a team, they need to spend the offseason adding more stout talent around Alonso in the linebacker corps.

With that in mind, the Bills should have their eyes on some of the following linebackers in the upcoming draft who excel against the run. Most of these players have experience in versatile defenses or possess skill sets that would lend themselves to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s hybrid system.

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Teddy Bridgewater, DeVante Parker and Other Prospects to Watch in Russell Athletic Bowl

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be in the spotlight in Saturday’s Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Miami. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Although the bowl season spotlight shines brightest after New Year’s Eve, few NFL draft prospects will face higher expectations going into their bowl games than Louisville junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the projected No. 1 overall pick should he declare for the 2014 NFL draft, will when the Cardinals (11-1) play the Miami Hurricanes (9-3) Saturday in the Russell Athletic Bowl (6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Orlando.

Bridgewater will certainly be in the spotlight Saturday evening, . His leading wide receiver, DeVante Parker, is another potential early-round draft selection if he declares for this year’s draft as a junior. His quarterback adversary in this game, Miami’s Stephen Morris, is also an intriguing NFL prospect.

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Joe Marino’s Senior Inside Linebacker Rankings for the 2014 NFL Draft

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley stands out among senior inside linebacker prospects for the 2014 NFL draft. (Photo: John David Mercer — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

If you are looking for a rangy, middle linebacker for a 4-3 defense who can stay on the field every down, the 2014 NFL draft’s senior class is not for you if you miss out on Alabama’s C.J. Mosley.

Mosley is in a class of his own and deserves consideration as a top-20 draft selection. After that, we see a solid group of run-stopping thumpers who could pair with a more athletic player inside in a 3-4 defensive scheme to create a formidable duo, but who project to be two-down players.

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Joe Marino’s Senior Defensive End Rankings for the 2014 NFL Draft

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Stanford’s Trent Murphy stands out as the top defensive end of the senior class. (Photo: Jason O. Watson — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

The 2014 senior crop of defensive ends is full of hybrid type players who may project to play 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. I based these rankings off of the positions these players primarily play in college, so all of the players ranked currently play defensive end.

The class doesn’t have any sure-fire top ten players but there are plenty of players with starter upside.

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2014 NFL Draft: American Athletic Conference and Mid-American Conference Sleepers to Watch

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

USF defensive end Ryne Giddins could be a riser in the 2014 NFL draft class if he bounces back strong from an injury-riddled junior season. (Photo: Danny Wild — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joseph Curtis

The Mid-American Conference has consistently produced a few selections in each NFL Draft. The American Athletic Conference, formerly known as the Big East, has produced a good amount of NFL talent.

As one of the power conferences, the Big East produced a good amount of selections, averaging 19.4 picks over the last five drafts. With an exodus of many of the conference’s top teams in progress, it remains to be seen whether the AAC will be able to sustain that production of NFL talent.

During that same five-year period, the MAC averaged 6.6 players selected. However, the MAC did produce the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, as the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher.

Top quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville leads the draft-eligible talent for the AAC this season, while the MAC’s top prospects are Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack and Kent State running back/wide receiver Dri Archer.

Although they do not play in any of college football’s major conferences, Bridgewater, Mack and Archer are already well-established names as prospect. Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-established names who could be sleeper prospects for the 2014 NFL draft.

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