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Old 08-13-2011, 03:32 PM    (permalink
Ozzy
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Default Best Pass Rushing Prospects for 2012

Everyone team needs players that can get to the quarterback. Here are a few players to watch out for this season as they potentially prepare for the 2012 NFL draft.




Bruce Irvin West Virginia OLB- Will be interesting to see if he keeps up his production from last year, if so, easy 1st round pick.

Jared Crick Nebraska DE/DT- Very consistent from his defensive tackle position, good solid pass rusher who has good quickness for his size.

Quinton Coples UNC DE- Totally collapses the pocket, big man and should continue off of his breakout season last year.

Vinny Curry Marshall DE/OLB- Speed rusher, made a big splash last year, see if he can keep it up.

Brandon Jenkins Florida State DE JR- Great quickness off the edge, is a fine pass rushing prospect.

Devin Taylor South Carolina DE JR- Huge man, good quickness off the edge, long arms, if he gets a little stronger he could move up this list.

Courtney Upshaw Alabama OLB- Very fast linebacker, gives consistent pressure off the edge and has been for awhile.

Nathan Williams Ohio State DE/OLB- I like how he plays with leverage, good talent and can get a lot better.

Donte Paige-Moss UNC DE JR- Could move way up this list with a little improvement and another good year, very talented player.

Nick Perry USC DE RS JR- Underachiever, but has a lot of talent, thick defensive end with the quickness of a smaller player.

Jacob Lattimer Iowa State OLB/DE- Very underrated player, gives great consistent effort off the edge, could be a real sleeper in the draft.

Audie Cole NC State OLB- Very good athlete, runs really well and when put on a blitz he gets to the quarterback.

Frank Alexander OU DE- Underachieved for awhile, but if he puts it all together he is a solid player.

Kyle Wilber Wake Forest DE- I like his length as a defensive end, can get to the quarterback and deflect passes.

Dont'a Hightower Alabama OLB/ILB- Could be way higher on this list, not a statistically productive pass rusher yet but on a blitz he can totally destroy blockers, could be a star pass rusher potentially.

Kheeston Randall Texas DT- Can break down the offensive line and get to the quarterback, good as getting pressure up the middle.

Andre Branch Clemson DE- Should have a breakout year, very talented defensive end.

Chandler Jones Syracuse DE- Huge player, big man that gets good push off the edge.

Matt Broha La Tech DE- Not well known, but is a fine pass rusher and if he puts together another good year he will see a benefit from that.

Walter Stewart Cincinnati OLB JR- Could be a lot higher on this list, a very athletic and fast linebacker, not a natural pass rusher though, but has the speed and quickness to do it.

Billy Winn Boise State DT/DE- Gets good pressure as and undersized tackle, strong and gets good push.

D.T. Shackelford Ole Miss OLB JR- Built low to the ground and gets good leverage off the edge, could be a good player.

Adewale Ojomo Miami FL DE- Has a lot of ability, just has to put it together and be consistent on the field getting to the quarterback.

Olivier Vernon Miami FL DE JR- Has great speed off the edge, not strong at the point of attack yet but can really get to the quarterback when he wants too.

Shea McClellin Boise State DE- Another good pass rusher, has good quickness and gives good consistent effort.

Steven Sylvester Georgia Tech OLB- Underrated, can get pressure from the linebacker position, good quickness and plays with toughness.

Broderick Binns Iowa DE- Had a bad year last season, but is an athletic player with talent to get around the corner.

Craig Roh Michigan DE/OLB JR- Very talented player potentially, good size but has to produce more as a pass rusher and reach his potential.
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Old 08-13-2011, 04:08 PM    (permalink
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I expect Goodman from Clemson to have a big year.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:18 PM    (permalink
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D.T. Shackelford Ole Miss OLB JR- Built low to the ground and gets good leverage off the edge, could be a good player.
Shackelford is a beast and probably our best player on defense, unfortunately he messed his knee up in the spring and is out for the season. Hopefully he rehabs back to full strength because he is a beast and one of if not the biggest leader on our team.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:35 PM    (permalink
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Coples is that dude.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:41 PM    (permalink
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Jared Crick is my favorite defensive linemen in next years class, as far as five techs go. Really like the overall package he brings to the table. A lot of people are passing him off as a guy who got hype and inflated stats for playing next to Suh, but he was actually better last year without him despite often drawing double teams.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:44 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Shackelford is a beast and probably our best player on defense, unfortunately he messed his knee up in the spring and is out for the season. Hopefully he rehabs back to full strength because he is a beast and one of if not the biggest leader on our team.
That is awful, to bad for him, I agree he is a very good player, I like his potential.
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:03 AM    (permalink
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A name to possibly add to your list is Stanford 3-4 OLB Chase Thomas. 6'4 240, he had 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks last year. Has experience standing up and with his hand in the dirt. He really did well adjusting to a 3-4 and looks to keep improving.
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:31 AM    (permalink
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I'm sure you've heard of him, but keep an eye out for Wes Horton. Before he got injured last year, he looked better than Nick Perry. He's more of a well-rounded DE, but he had some good production in six games. He'll be starting again this year. If he stays healthy, I can see him being a 2-3rd if he decides to leave. Great frame of 6'5" 260+

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Old 08-14-2011, 04:12 AM    (permalink
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I've always been drawn to the pass rushing DE or OLB, so i'll give my opinion on the guys that i've scouted, will mostly be 3-4 OLB prospects because thats what i've been focusing on, and it is what my favorite team needs (SD).

I'll just start it out saying what i think are the most important qualities in a pass rusher. The top one for me, is the handwork and move set, as well as ability to use counter moves. You can have insane burst off the line, but if you aren't able to do anything other than run around a guy, you wont be able to do anything in the NFL. The second most important thing is the burst off the line and pure athleticism, not saying that being an incredible pure athlete, but most times, if you dont have a good burst off the line, you wont make a great pass rusher at the next level, maybe a good to very good one, but they will never be an elite level pass rusher. The final most important thing is the knowledge of how to set up OT's. This is pretty tied into the move set, but you have to read the OL and know when to use a move, and how to set a guy up, moving from speed to bull rush, to a counter rip, etc.

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Bruce Irvin West Virginia OLB- Will be interesting to see if he keeps up his production from last year, if so, easy 1st round pick.

Vinny Curry Marshall DE/OLB- Speed rusher, made a big splash last year, see if he can keep it up.

Brandon Jenkins Florida State DE JR- Great quickness off the edge, is a fine pass rushing prospect.

Devin Taylor South Carolina DE JR- Huge man, good quickness off the edge, long arms, if he gets a little stronger he could move up this list.

Courtney Upshaw Alabama OLB- Very fast linebacker, gives consistent pressure off the edge and has been for awhile.

Nathan Williams Ohio State DE/OLB- I like how he plays with leverage, good talent and can get a lot better.

Donte Paige-Moss UNC DE JR- Could move way up this list with a little improvement and another good year, very talented player.

Nick Perry USC DE RS JR- Underachiever, but has a lot of talent, thick defensive end with the quickness of a smaller player.

Frank Alexander OU DE- Underachieved for awhile, but if he puts it all together he is a solid player.

Kyle Wilber Wake Forest DE- I like his length as a defensive end, can get to the quarterback and deflect passes.

Dont'a Hightower Alabama OLB/ILB- Could be way higher on this list, not a statistically productive pass rusher yet but on a blitz he can totally destroy blockers, could be a star pass rusher potentially.

Adewale Ojomo Miami FL DE- Has a lot of ability, just has to put it together and be consistent on the field getting to the quarterback.

Craig Roh Michigan DE/OLB JR- Very talented player potentially, good size but has to produce more as a pass rusher and reach his potential.
I LOVE Bruce Irvin as a pure pass rusher, easily the best in this class. He's up to 245 this year, and will play on all downs this year (Yes, he didn't start a SINGLE game last year), so he's gotta show that he can play more than just as a situational pass rusher. Former WR/S, moved to LB, moved to DE, so he's played all over the field, and is REALLY good in space from what i've seen. He really needs to bulk up, but if he can get up right around that 250 lb plateau, then i think he's EASILY a mid/late 1st rounder. Elite burst off the snap, elite handwork and very good knowledge of how to set up OT's, does a good job of mixing up a bull rush, inside rip and just using pure speed. He's simply deadly as a pure pass rusher.

Vinny Curry is a guy that i also really like. I haven't seen as much of him, since he plays for a much smaller name team in Marshall. But he's got good burst off the line, and is another one with really good handwork. He'd be a very good RE in quite a few schemes, but to see him in a 3-4 as an OLB, i need to see him work in space better.

I've never really been a fan of Brandon Jenkins. He is an INCREDIBLE athlete, but beyond that, he just isn't all that impressive to me. He seems alot like Aaron Maybin, but with better flexibility in the hips and agility. He doesn't use his hands to get by/set up blockers. He only has his athleticism. According to the team site, he's added 20 lbs this offseason, which is a BIG number, so i really have to wait to see him then, but just going off last year, i wasn't as impressed to put him in the mid 1st like most people have him. So far, he seems like a mid/late 2nd rounder.

Now Devin Taylor is an interesting one. I like him alot. He's got a good burst, uses his hands well and actually moves in space really well, but seems too tall to be a LB, and too slim to be a DE. I assume that he'll come out at around 6'6", but he's another guy thats added around 10 to 15 lbs which i really like. I feel like thats a REAL good weight for him. I think it will allow him to keep his athleticism and burst, but also give him more strength at the point. He could end up as a top 20 pick by the time this season is all done. He's a perfect fit for a team like the Patriots, who like Taller OLB's to dissrupt passing lanes and shut down the run as well as rush the passer.

Right now Courtney Upshaw is my #2 3-4 OLB prospect right behind Bruce Irvin. He's got really good handwork, and IMO is the most pro ready pass rusher in the draft, since he's got the athleticism, knowledge and move set to make an immediate impact in the NFL. Now he doesn't have the ceiling of an elite LB, but his ceiling is that of a guy like Shaun Phillips. Will be good as a pass rusher, and will be around a 10 sack guy, but will never have that Demarcus Ware type upside that Irvin/Jenkins have. But he also has value as just an LB as opposed to a pure pass rusher. He's really good in coverage and is strong against the run, which is why i say he's alot like Phillips.

Nate Williams is a very interesting one. He's got really good agility and will make a good OLB, but probably wont be a upper eschelon DE if he goes to a 4-3 team. He's got very solid athletic ability, and can build on that, but is pretty raw and has yet to really put up the numbers you want from anything more than a mid/late round pick.

DPM is someone that the more i watch him, the less impressed i come away. Every time i look at him, i expect to see that elite level athleticism, with great burst off the line, and show that just natural athleticism, but he never does. He doesn't seem to play very fast, and seems like a pure underachiever to me. I dont see him as a first round pick, and alot of his sacks seem to be more coverage sacks, than him just getting after the OT and beating him. From what i've seen of him, he's a 2nd to 3rd round pick.

I absolutely love Nick Perry. He's got incredible burst off the edge, and is another one of those guys who is just such a natural pass rusher that has that instinct on how to set blockers up with a mix of outside/counter/power moves and has the strength to use that speed off the edge to set up an overpowering bull rush. He's also one HECK of an athlete, who will have BIG explosion numbers, and will do very well in the agility drills.

Another interesting guy to watch out for is Perrys teammate, Devon Kennard. He's a former ILB, and former DE, getting moved back after playing a new position every year of his career. Came into USC as a DE, moved to OLB with that wave of LB's leaving (Maualuga, Cushing, Matthews, and Maiva), then moved to ILB with Galippo getting injured, and is now moving back to DE, and has the size, speed and agility and acceleration that you want in a DE, but isn't as natural of a pass rusher as some of the other top guys. Could be a project, but could pay off BIGTIME.

Frank Alexander is a complete sleeper. He shows flashes, but really needs to learn quite a few of the technical, and Mental aspects of the game. He seems a bit hesitant when going against blockers, and the move set just isn't there yet. He also has trouble at times disengaging from blocks when pass rushing, which is partially not knowing what to do, and partially not having the handwork to get off of it.

As i did with Nick Perry, another interesting guy we should add is his temate Ronnell Lewis, who is a very quick player who can rack up sacks this year if he plays to his potential. Quick, Agile and does really good disengaging from blocks with handwork, but needs to put his skillset together to put up the numbers to keep him a high draft candidate.

Kyle Wilber is a sleeper of mine, who has really good athletic ability and is really quick as a pass rusher, but really needs to add weight if he wants to play anywhere in the NFL, let alone DE. If he adds that weight, i really like his chances to be a productive player in the NFL.

Dont'e Hightower is an interesting one. He plays ILB in Bamas 34, but moves around at LB in that scheme, rushing the passer from the outside as well. He would only be a 3-4 OLB as a pure pass rusher goes, but could be a guy that teams love to move around and create mismatches with, since he can line up in so many different spots. We'll see what comes of him this year, since he's kind of underachieved the last few years, and we need to check out the knee.

Ojomo is a guy who has a good skillset to be a good pass rusher, but is another project, and i would like to see him as a RE, but pretty much placed himself out of being an OLB with the way he got up to 270 this offseason, but he's still got a chance to be a great pass rusher.

Roh is another guy i really like, but needs to put it all together. Has really showed flashes, but has really struggled at other times. Again, its about consistancy from him. He'll show you flashes that he should be a top 20 pick, and then he'll back off and just get lost in the shuffle.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:14 AM    (permalink
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And to add my sleeper, that i already made a thread on, Cornelius Washington may have more upside that any other pass rusher in the draft, but needs to put those numbers on the field. Is still raw, but could be in for a season similar to what Justin Houston had last year in that 34 OLB spot with his athleticism.
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:11 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
As i did with Nick Perry, another interesting guy we should add is his temate Ronnell Lewis, who is a very quick player who can rack up sacks this year if he plays to his potential. Quick, Agile and does really good disengaging from blocks with handwork, but needs to put his skillset together to put up the numbers to keep him a high draft candidate.
That is True, Ronnell Lewis on Oklahoma I like a lot, great quickness off the edge and can really consistent get to the quarterback.


Quote:
Dont'e Hightower is an interesting one. He plays ILB in Bamas 34, but moves around at LB in that scheme, rushing the passer from the outside as well. He would only be a 3-4 OLB as a pure pass rusher goes, but could be a guy that teams love to move around and create mismatches with, since he can line up in so many different spots. We'll see what comes of him this year, since he's kind of underachieved the last few years, and we need to check out the knee
At the point of attack I like his push, I like the pressure he can apply that way, he is not really quick and does not have real pass rush moves. But if a running back attempts to pick him up, it is done, he will crush him, he has a lot of ability as an edge rusher, not getting the corner but holding it. Hope he has a better season than last year, he might even end up playing a down DE in a 4/3 because he is not very fast in the open field at all, or at least he was not last year.
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:44 AM    (permalink
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Am I the only one who thinks Dont'a Hightower is incredibly overrated? I just didn't notice a lot of aggression or urgency in his game last year and feel like he's been skating based on his reputation at this point and not what he's actually been doing out on the field. Nowhere near as good of a prospect as Rolando McClain or even DeMeco Ryans and should go somewhere in the third round if you ask me.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:27 AM    (permalink
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No Brandon Lindsay? Fail.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:06 AM    (permalink
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Hines No Brandon Lindsay? Fail.
He didn't graduate? Oh my bad, still I would take Sheard over him any day, he has potential but we will see what he is like this year, still liked Sheard and a healthy Romeus any day over him, but maybe he will improve, solid but not sure he is that elite, will see...


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RavenOfProphecy Am I the only one who thinks Dont'a Hightower is incredibly overrated? I just didn't notice a lot of aggression or urgency in his game last year and feel like he's been skating based on his reputation at this point and not what he's actually been doing out on the field. Nowhere near as good of a prospect as Rolando McClain or even DeMeco Ryans and should go somewhere in the third round if you ask me.
Most feel he is overrated, I hated him at points last year, but that was when he was asked to be in coverage where he is simply not good at all. When he is consistently blitzing and getting after the quarterback is where he is best at, he is not a coverage guy with good running that is for sure. But yes he has underachieved, but he will never ever be as productive as McClain or Ryans were at Alabama, never.

Different type of player, but I say again, him on a blitz where a running back or small tight end has to pick him up, watch out.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:38 AM    (permalink
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Melvin Ingram is another guy who really showcased his explosion off the line this past year for South Carolina. 9 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. He plays a multitude of positions and he can effectively rush from anywhere. He may not be the most complete player yet, but as far as rushing the passer goes...he's up there.

I drool at the thought of throwing Taylor, Ingram, and Clowney in there all at once. Sick. Ingram's draft stock could also be one that soars with another solid campaign.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:40 AM    (permalink
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Jadaveon Clowney?
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:41 AM    (permalink
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Jadaveon Clowney?
He's a true Freshman. Thread is for draft eligible prospects.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:45 AM    (permalink
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Am I the only one who thinks Dont'a Hightower is incredibly overrated? I just didn't notice a lot of aggression or urgency in his game last year and feel like he's been skating based on his reputation at this point and not what he's actually been doing out on the field. Nowhere near as good of a prospect as Rolando McClain or even DeMeco Ryans and should go somewhere in the third round if you ask me.
Yeah, I have him falling like a rock too. I bought into him before he got hurt...but since he's come back he's just not the same kind of player. Maybe that has to do with McClain's departure as well, but I just don't see a guy that can get picked in the first few rounds.

I really like Chase Thomas as well. I watched a lot of Stanford defense last year for Skov and Keiser, but Thomas really showed up quite a bit too. I would wager he has an even better season this year.
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:27 AM    (permalink
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I watched Florida State's Garnet and Gold game and Brandon Jenkins was literally unblockable. The first drive of the game, Jenkins got a TFL and three QB hurries in five plays.
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:00 PM    (permalink
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The sig says it all. Bruce Irvin is easily the most natural in the draft. Size concerns may knock him a bit but with him playing every down this year, I don't see how he doesn't improve his stock. I have him as an easy first rounder as it is. I'd say his peak is in the 8-12 range. I've heard some comparisons to Von Miller but I don't think he's up there right now.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:55 PM    (permalink
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U missed one of my favorites

Jonathan Massaquoi of Troy

Here is a vid I cut of him

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Old 08-14-2011, 09:06 PM    (permalink
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The sig says it all. Bruce Irvin is easily the most natural in the draft. Size concerns may knock him a bit but with him playing every down this year, I don't see how he doesn't improve his stock. I have him as an easy first rounder as it is. I'd say his peak is in the 8-12 range. I've heard some comparisons to Von Miller but I don't think he's up there right now.
Irvin has a LOT to prove to me, in spite of the fact he'll likely be picked in the upper echelon of the draft if it were held today. We've seen flashes in the pan with pass rushers before. You've always got to be careful when you have a guy playing at that low a weight and registering a bunch of sacks and then bulking up. You can talk about leverage all you want(Irvin is very good about that), but 235 pounds just isn't going to cut it against guys starting off at 315. Ultimately, I think he'll prove himself, but I have him as one of those buyer beware types as it stands. Like his overall package and tools a bunch though, and it's hard to knock last years production. He also has Clay Matthews and Von Miller as two recent examples of guys playing at a similar weight in college and being drafted highly/being successful(although not yet with Miller).
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:18 AM    (permalink
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Irvin has a LOT to prove to me, in spite of the fact he'll likely be picked in the upper echelon of the draft if it were held today. We've seen flashes in the pan with pass rushers before. You've always got to be careful when you have a guy playing at that low a weight and registering a bunch of sacks and then bulking up. You can talk about leverage all you want(Irvin is very good about that), but 235 pounds just isn't going to cut it against guys starting off at 315. Ultimately, I think he'll prove himself, but I have him as one of those buyer beware types as it stands. Like his overall package and tools a bunch though, and it's hard to knock last years production. He also has Clay Matthews and Von Miller as two recent examples of guys playing at a similar weight in college and being drafted highly/being successful(although not yet with Miller).
Clay is around the 250 pound mark right now. I'd rather have a guy like Irvin who needs to add size at the next level coming in with a chip on his shoulder than most of the other pass rushing prospects that are already at weight. The thing that is underrated in the NFL is the off season workouts that guys like Irvin would endure. We missed that this year. Give Irvin 2-3 years in the NFL, and he's right around the 250 mark as well. He's been very good at adjusting to his position, fluctuating weight and not losing much physically. If this is Irvin's biggest knock as of now, then I'm all in. Again, not to put off the fact that a natural progression is taken into account here. I think he hovers around the same sack total, maybe 2-3 more but we see an overall development in his game.
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:08 PM    (permalink
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Clay is around the 250 pound mark right now. I'd rather have a guy like Irvin who needs to add size at the next level coming in with a chip on his shoulder than most of the other pass rushing prospects that are already at weight. The thing that is underrated in the NFL is the off season workouts that guys like Irvin would endure. We missed that this year. Give Irvin 2-3 years in the NFL, and he's right around the 250 mark as well. He's been very good at adjusting to his position, fluctuating weight and not losing much physically. If this is Irvin's biggest knock as of now, then I'm all in. Again, not to put off the fact that a natural progression is taken into account here. I think he hovers around the same sack total, maybe 2-3 more but we see an overall development in his game.
Though i know you guys are only talking about last year, he is listed up to 245 this year, which isn't a bad weight at all, can pretty easily add another 5-10 lbs after that. Actually heavier than both Miller/Matthews.
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:49 PM    (permalink
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Jake Bequette (University of Arkansas) 6'5" 270 lbs good size. great motor. has the ability to make a roster. not sure where his draft position will be. he'll need a great senior season if he wants to go day 1.
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