Steve: Draft preview - Top LB's and DB's in 2014 Draft class
by Steve Geller,posted May 2 2014 9:22PM
Time to take a look at some of the top linebackers and defensive backs in this year’s draft. I could see the Saints having interest in a number of these players with some being available when the Black and Gold first pick at 27th overall.
1. Khalil Mack 6ft2, 250lbs. Buffalo
This “Mack Daddy” can do it all, making plays in the backfield and can also drop back in coverage. Mack is a monster on the gridiron. Effort is not a concern either as he gives it his all on every play. Will quickly be a double-digits sack guy in the NFL
2. Anthony Barr 6ft4, 255lbs. UCLA
Barr is a physical player who enjoys dishing out punishing hits on the quarterback and is very explosive off the edge with phenomenal speed. He does need to work on his coverage skills as he was not asked much of him in college. Some are concern he lacks the ferocity to be a top notch defender.
3. C.J. Mosley 6ft2, 235lbs. Alabama
LSU fans know him well as the leader of Bama’s suffocating defense. A real tough guy who is athletic and keen instincts. Some are concerned over a knee injury, but there’s a lot to like here. Is always full speed, full-time.
4. Ryan Shazier 6ft1, 238lbs. Ohio State
Has really good instincts and the ability to cover a lot of ground quickly. Needs to bulk up a bit, but has the make-up to be a consistent impact player in the pros. Has a rare quality where it seems he was born with football already in him.
5. Kyle Van Noy 6ft3, 242lbs. BYU
A very disciplined player with great read and react skills. Good at defending the run, but excels in pass coverage. Love his mentality as a pass rusher. Always seems to be going for the strip sack. Can he do it consistently at the next level?
1. Justin Gilbert 6ft, 202lbs Oklahoma State
Has good height and speed with long arms that make him the top corner in this year’s class. Kid is bursting with natural talent and has high upside in the NFL. Adding to his value is the ability to be a return man on special team.
2. Darqueze Dennard 5ft11, 200lbs. Michigan State
Dennard may lack elite speed, but makes up for it with his good instincts and the ability to change direction smoothly. He is also a physical corner and very instinctive. Will need to become more disciplined about his contact though to avoid too many penalties.
3. Kyle Fuller 6ft, 192lbs. Virginia Tech
Has the ability to cover to go along with the aggressiveness to come up and play the run. Has sports hernia surgery in November but his stock has been rising since the NFL Combine surprising many with his speed. Has good coverage skills and leaping ability.
4. Jason Verrett 5ft9, 190lbs. TCU
May not have ideal height but sure can blanket an opposing receiver. Verrett has an aggressive approach to the game and is also physical. Only reason he isn’t ranked higher is due to his size. Played well against LSU in the season opener last year.
5. Bradley Roby 5ft11, 195lbs. Ohio State
He has the physical talent to be a #1 corner, but bad tape from last year is holding him back from being a sure fire first-round pick. So are his off the field issues. Just got in trouble LAST WEEK and has pleaded guilty to physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Making these kind of stupid decisions worry NFL GMs but I feel his talent may just be to good to let him slip out of round 1.
1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 6ft1, 210lbs. Alabama
A natural center fielder that can cover a ton of ground. Some feel his instincts and ability are better than his athleticism. I just see size, speed, aggression and ball skills of a kid poised to become a star in the NFL
2. Calvin Pryor 5ft11, 208lbs. Louisville
Can play in the box or drop in zone with his good speed and instincts. A devastating hitter that has the habit of creating turnovers. Has raw, relentless aggression you love in a defensive player.
3. Terrance Brooks 5ft11, 200lbs Florida State
Brooks is a former cornerback that can match-up well with slot receivers but is also an enforcer who can hot like a linebacker. Will instantly toughen up any defense. A lack of interceptions could cause him to dip into round 2.
4. Jimmie Ward 5ft11, 195lbs. Northern Illinois
Uses his speed and range to cover the deep part of the field. Ward always seems to always be in the right place which is a product of being a very smart player. Has good speed and toughness, only concern is his small frame.
5. Lamarcus Joyner 5ft8, 185lbs. Florida State
Joyner’s game could be compared to that of Tyrann Mathieu. Will likely be a hybrid defender in the NFL getting moved around from slot corner to safety. Also a good return man in the kicking game. He is a football junkie and has a good feel for the game.