Posts Tagged ‘Prospects to Watch’

2015 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Leonard Williams, DL, Southern California

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
USC junior defensive lineman Leonard Williams could be a top prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft. (Photo: Kirby Lee — USA Today Sports)

USC junior defensive lineman Leonard Williams could be a top prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft. (Photo: Kirby Lee — USA Today Sports)

BBD Contributor: Brian Krosky

Versatility is the name of the game in the NFL. Most players are now asked to do more than one job, and the ability to contribute in multiple capacities sets great players away from good players. This is especially true for defensive linemen, where the best players need to be able to rush the passer and stuff the run, play in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes and adjust their talents to multiple roles. Leonard Williams, a 2013 third-team AP All-American from USC, has no shortage of versatility.

As a freshman in 2012, Williams played 3-technique defensive tackle on a defense coached by Monte Kiffin, who is now a member of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff. The Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year, he totaled 64 tackles, including 13.5 for loss (8 sacks), while he also had four deflections, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

Last season, Williams occupied the 5-technique defensive end position under new USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. He started 13 games and had 74 tackles, including 13.5 for loss (6 sacks), with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He suffered a shoulder injury against Oregon State on Nov. 1, and struggled with the recovery the rest of the year.

USC’s defensive scheme is changing yet again this year and Williams is set to play defensive end in the Trojans’ 3-4 alignment. He has two years of remaining eligiblity for USC, but should be a top prospect for the 2015 draft if he declares.

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2015 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Michael Bennett has versatility that gives him the potential to excel in any defensive scheme. (Photo: Greg Bartram — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

Very few NFL teams feature a strictly 3-4 or 4-3 base defense, as most employ a multi-front scheme where players are able to line up in different spots and show the offense a variety of looks.

Having players with the versatility to function in multiple spots, and in a variety of roles, is extremely valuable in being able to move players around and show different looks on defense. That versatility is what an NFL defense could get from Ohio State defensive lineman Michael Bennett.

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2015 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Duke’s Jamison Crowder could be the next small but dynamic wide receiver to be a high selection in the NFL draft. (Photo: Mark Dolejs — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

If you don’t think there’s a place and demand for small explosive receivers in the NFL, you haven’t been paying attention to the first rounds of the last two drafts. In 2013, the St. Louis Rams traded up with the Buffalo Bills to acquire the No. 8 overall pick and select Tavon Austin, a West Virginia product who is listed at 5’8” and 176 pounds. In similar fashion, the New Orleans Saints traded up seven spots to the No. 20 overall pick in this year’s first round to draft 5’10″, 189-pound Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Listed at 5’9” and 175 pounds by Duke’s official athletics website, senior wide receiver Jamison Crowder is built similarly to Cooks and Austin while possessing a comparable skill set to the recent first-rounders.

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2015 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Denzel Perryman has the upside to become an NFL starting linebacker, but he has to prove himself as a three-down prospect in his senior year. (Photo: Robert Mayer — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

Denzel Perryman, who has been at least a part-time starter in all three of his seasons on the Miami defense, took over a full-time role as the Hurricanes middle linebacker in 2013. Perryman relished that opportunity and ended up being the team’s defensive MVP and a first-team all-ACC selection. In his standout junior season, Perryman racked up 108 tackles and five tackles for loss. Across 34 career games with 24 total starts, Perryman has tallied 241 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception.

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2015 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

Friday, June 13th, 2014

As one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the 2015 NFL draft class, Brandon Scherff could be a very high draft selection. (Photo: Kim Klement — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

With ten offensive tackles being selected in the first round over the past two drafts, the position has cemented itself as a premium in the NFL. General managers are prioritizing having a pair of bookend tackles who can solidify their offensive line.

Iowa’s Brandon Scherff is one of the offensive tackle prospects who is likely to be looked at early in the 2015 NFL draft.

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