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2018 Senior Bowl -- Defensive Skill Position Scouting Previews

Air Date:
January 24, 2018

Taking a look at each Senior Bowl prospect for 5-15 minutes of tape and reviewing their college career performance. Just a quick look/preview for some focus on what we'll be watching for during the practice week. We cannot properly grade/scout these players in our statistical scouting models until the NFL Combine and Pro Day data comes in.

Defensive linemen-NORTH

DT B.J. Hill, N.C. State (6’3.3”/321, 32.25” arm) – Big body but low production. Seems to be nice for his size but I rarely see him making plays. He more just takes up space.

DE Jalyn Holmes, Ohio State (6’4.6”/279, 34.75” arm) – Played 4-3 DT a bunch. As a part of a great D-Line…Holmes didn’t stand out and had low production numbers.

*DT Justin Jones, N.C. State* (6’2.3”/311, 33.63” arm) – Nice, quick feet for his size. Seemed to win a lot of the battles in the trenches, blowing back blockers. He has the makings of an NFL starter at some point. He’s a mass of humanity.

DE Harold Landry, Boston College – Good burst off the edge for pass rushing, playing more as a 4-3 DE in college. He’s like a 3-4 OLB for the pros. In 2016, Landry had 22.0 TFLs and 16.5 sacks in 12 games – leading all the NCAA in sacks, #4 overall in TFLs…he also led the NCAA in forced fumbles that season with 7 FFs. Had a down 2017 season, not sure why. Will have to find out in deeper studies.

DE Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State (6’2.6”/276, 33.63” arm) – Has size and some pass rush skills but his athleticism looked questionable. Didn’t look like an NFL pass rusher at first glance.

DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma (6’1.3”/243, 34.5” arm) – Great physique, chiseled. Moves well for his size. Flashes star talent at times but many times he’s drifting around as a 3-4 OLB. Talent here to work with.

DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford (6’3.3”/303, 33.75” arm) – Solid football player but questionable that he has enough speed to matter much in the NFL.

DT Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays State (6’3.7”/310, 33.0” arm) – A man against boys at the D2 level. Great movement skills for his size, but you would think he’d rack up crazy stats (even with double teams) at the lower levels…just 10.0 sacks over three years in college.

DE Chad Thomas, Miami (6’5”/277, 34.0” arm) – Growing to like him more…looks the part, but his college production is lacking. I’m wondering if this is a Danielle Hunter story…low production in college and a switch flipped into a star pass rusher in the NFL.

DE Kemoko Turay, Rutgers (6’4.3”/252, 33.63” arm) – Moves like a legit NFL player. Played 3-4 OLB…not sure why they have him as a DE. He’s more a move-around OLB.



OLB Ja'Whaun Bentley, Purdue (6’1.5”/252. 33.25” arm) – He worked as a nice OLB in college, a solid prospect there but looks much more like an ILB prospect. Big, thick lower body. Looks like an ILB at a glance. Very solid prospect.

ILB Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State (6’2.7”/243, 33.5” arm) – At a glance, he looks like too small for ILB and too slow for OLB in the pros. He moves around the field well and can play…not sure his best NFL position fit.

OLB Garret Dooley, Wisconsin (6’1.7”/248, 32.63” arm) – Played more of a DE/OLB than a pure linebacker. Quick pass rusher for college but looks like a bad fit for the pros at first glance. He might convert to ILB, maybe?

OLB Dewey Jarvis, Brown (6’2”/236, 31.8” arm) – Overwhelmed Ivy league blockers. Need to see him at the Senior Bowl to get a better feel. Didn’t get my attention grabbed at first glance.

ILB Mike McCray, Michigan (6’1.1”/241, 33.0” arm) – Really nice in pursuit or in coverage short range. He’s listed as an ILB and I could see that but a move to 3-4 OLB or 4-3 OLB isn’t out of the question. Looks like a very solid prospect.

ILB Myles Pierce, The Citadel (5’11.2”/227, 29.5” arm) – Maybe the hardest hitting player at the Senior Bowl. Measurables say ‘Safety’ but he looks and plays like an ILB…looks like Sam Mills 2.0.

OLB Fred Warner, BYU (6’3.4”/235, 31.6” arm) – Very unique weapons. I would be highly intrigued for the NFL with him. Can play all over…OLB primarily but he looks like he could be a big Safety or line up as a DE/OLB pass rusher by surprise and is naturally a linebacker who can cover and tackle. Swiss Army knife weapon here.


Defensive backs-NORTH

SAF Marcus Allen, Penn State (6’2.1”/215, 30.5” arm) – Big, physical safety. Good anticipation, nice tackling skills/technique. Decent in coverage. A legit NFL safety prospect.

CB Christian Campbell, Penn State (6’0.5”/192, 32.5” arm) – Nice cover corner. Wiry frame, long arms. Good anticipation. Solid cover prospect.

CB Duke Dawson, Florida (n/a, 30.7” arm) – Solid cover skills. Looks more like a slot cover corner. Questionable tackle skills and size.

*SAF Trayvon Henderson, Hawaii* (6’0.1”/204, 32.38” arm) – Great physique. Chiseled. Nice closing speed. Great against the run and solid+ covering the pass. Arguably the best safety prospect at the Senior Bowl.

CB Taron Johnson, Weber State (5’11”/189, 31.0” arm) – Solid, smart corner. A little small, thin-framed to the naked eye. Might fit as a slot corner.

CB Michael Joseph, Dubuque (6’0.5”/186, 31.13” arm) – Looks huge in D2 but is a little thin/wiry compared with the advanced competition. Seems more ‘OK’ than good or great.

CB Darius Phillips, Western Michigan (5’9.6”/188, 31.5” arms) – Solid in mirroring WRs. Will probably be a slot corner. Didn’t seem too interested in tackling/hitting.

SAF Armani Watts, Texas A&M (5’10.4”/191, 31.63” arm) – Very solid hitter. Nice run stopper and dislodger of the ball from WRs. If he runs below a 4.55 40-time, he’s going to go top 100 potentially. Size may hold him back in the draft.

SAF Kyzir White, West Virginia (6’2.1”/216, 32.0” arm) – Nice size. Moves OK. The tape I watched, White was out of position a lot – late in coverage and poor angles on ball carriers. He was playing more OLB/SAF than pure safety.

*CB Isaac Yiadom, Boston College* (6’0.7”/187, 32.25” arm) – Very nice cover skills. Great technique and fast feet to stay with outside WRs. He may have the best raw cover skills of any DB here this week.


Defensive linemen-SOUTH

DE Andrew Brown, Virginia (6’3.4”/294, 35.13” arm) – Versatile DL…played 4-3 DE, 4-3 DT, 3-4 DE on tape I watched from 2017. Not a high impact player but solid.

DE Kylie Fitts, Utah (6’3.6”/259, 32.37” arm) – Had a heck of a sophomore season in 2015…7.0 sacks, 10 PDs, 4 forced fumbles. Fitts has skills but he has battled injuries most college seasons. 1 game in 2013, didn’t play in 2014, 1 game in 2016, 8 games in 2017.

DT Poona Ford, Texas (5’11.5”/306, 32.75” arm) – Huge body in the middle. Run stuffer, plugs up the middle eating up space. Solid NFL prospect.

*DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA* (6’5.7”/259, 34.0” arm) – Has an ’it’ factor. Very long and very quick on his feet. He’s a bit of a freak with how well he bounces around for his size. 17.5 TFLs and 8.5 sacks in 11 games in 2017.

DT Greg Gilmore, LSU (6’3.7”/318, 33.7” arm) – Very good, active 4-3 DT. A future NFL starter.

DT Da'Shawn Hand, Alabama (6’3.6”/282, 34.25” arm) – Moves well but has low production. Is a 3-4 DE or bulk up to an interesting 4-3 DT. Looks the part in motion but I didn’t see him making any plays or frustrating blockers.

DT Christian LaCouture, LSU (6’4.3”/290, 30.25” arm) – Takes up space, gives a good effort just didn’t seem to have the ‘it’ needed for impact NFL play.

DT Derrick Nnadi, Florida State (n/a) – huge body in the middle eating space. A legit NFL prospect. Good-not-great.



OLB Shaquem Griffin, UCF (6’0.2”/223, 31.63” arm) – Unique story…had his right hand amputated as a small child. He is a ball of energy always around the ball, it seems. He’s picked off 3 passes and has 5 fumble recoveries in his career…his hand deficiency hasn’t seemed to cause big on-field issues…but it’s an issue to consider for the next level.

OLB Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss (6’2.4”/233, 33.0” arm) – Watched him play Alabama…didn’t love what I saw. No real impact. Lollygagged on plays. Not a great intro for me.

ILB Micah Kiser, Virginia (6’0.3”/236, 31.8” arm) – Solid college ILB. Looked like a fringe NFL hopeful at my first glance. Didn’t grab my attention.

ILB Darius Leonard, South Carolina State (6’2”/229, 34.13” arm) – Fast feet. Good anticipation. Didn’t see great tackling skills. FCS dominant but if he were D1 he’d be a ‘J.A.G.’, I have a feeling. Played OLB, might be better as a safety.

OLB Uchenna Nwosu, USC (6’2”/245, 33.5” arm) – A really nice NFL prospect. Probably has the best anticipation skills at the Senior Bowl. He just has a nose/finds a way to get to the ball/ball carrier especially getting into the backfield.

ILB Dorian O'Daniel, Clemson (6’0.4”/215, 31.13” arm) – A very good player. Looks more like a top safety prospect than an ILB/OLB prospect.

ILB Tre' Williams, Auburn (6’1.6”/238, 32.5” arm) – Not a fan. Don’t like the way he moves. Poor performance numbers at Auburn.


Defensive backs-SOUTH

SAF Quin Blanding, Virginia (6’2”/209, 31.75” arm) – Was not overly impressed with his tape. Has NFL size but slow reactions, not a big-time athlete that I saw.

CB Danny Johnson, Southern (5’9”/182, 31.38” arm)– Hard-working FCS corner, underwhelming size…dominated lesser talent, might not be built for success in the NFL.

CB Kameron Kelly, San Diego State (6’1.5”/195, 32.25” arm) – Nice size, good cover skills with a nice reach for defending passes. Might be an NFL body. Have to see what the Combine numbers turn out to be.

CB Jamarcus King, South Carolina (6’0.4”/182, 32.5” arm) – Tall, skinny, solid cover corner with nice reach. Solid CB prospect with nice mirroring skills. Not sure if he can be great. ‘Good’ might be his ceiling.

SAF Tray Matthews, Auburn (6’0.3”/209, 33.13” arm) – Nice size, movements, and instincts. His college output is dull but his tape shows a very legit starting NFL safety. Need to study this more if he shows the athleticism at the NFL Combine.

*CB Siran Neal, Jacksonville State* (6’0”/206, 31.1” arm) – Great DB prospect. Has NFL size. Moves with great instinct and athleticism. Hits like a strong safety but can cover like a legit CB. Very impressed.

SAF Jeremy Reaves, South Alabama (5’10.5”/204, 30.38” arm) – Plays corner with a safety’s mindset. Great anticipation on plays. A quality DB prospect for the NFL.

CB M.J. Stewart, North Carolina (5’10.5”/198, 31.5” arm) – Scrappy tough DB. Decent cover skills and likes to tackle/hit. Going to be an NFL DB starter for some team within a few years.

CB Chandon Sullivan, Georgia State (5’10.5”/190, 32.5” arm) – Solid not spectacular CB. Could make an NFL roster, maybe.

CB D'Montre Wade, Murray State (5’11.2”/201, 32.62” arm) – Great cover skills and instincts. Have to see how he hangs against better competition this week.

CB Levi Wallace, Alabama (6’0.3”/176, 33.3” arm) – Solid in coverage. Mirrors WRs well. Thin frame hurts as WRs can out physical him.



About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>