One Weakness for Each Top 10 Defensive Line Prospect in 2013 Recruiting

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IOctober 25, 2012

One Weakness for Each Top 10 Defensive Line Prospect in 2013 Recruiting

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    The defensive line is another crucial unit to a team's success, as the New York Giants have won two Super Bowls thanks to excellent and superior defensive line play. There are some great defensive trench men in this year's class, and this piece will put the focus on the top 10 players at that position.

    Continuing on our "weakness" series, today I'm going to tell you one thing that each top 10 DL prospect needs to work on or just simply lacks in their skill set. Each player has a weakness and things can always be worked on and improved.

    Here's one weakness for each top 10 DL prospect in the 2013 recruiting class. 

10. Justin Manning

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    Manning is a 6'2", 275 pound DT prospect from Texas.

    He has excellent snap quickness, athleticism and strength. He could play some strong side DE, but I like him as a three-technique type of guy.

    He needs to add more bulk to his svelte frame, and Manning also lacks a good burst to finish. He fires out well, but he can have trouble gobbling up and finishing on a passer. 

9. Caleb Brantley

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    The 6'3", 300 pound Brantley is a Florida native with good quickness off the ball, strength and flashes two-gapping ability. He can anchor well when he reacts to blocking schemes and can be a handful in the interior.

    But Brantley gets by too much on raw strength these days. I would like to see better hand usage which will allow him to stay cleaner from blockers so as to free himself up to make even more plays. 

8. DeMarcus Walker

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    Also from Florida, Walker is a 6'4", 280 pound defender with the versatility to play both DE and DT.

    He has great natural strength, can shoot off the ball well and has good athleticism to make stops in the backfield.

    His main weakness right now is he plays too high, too often. He needs to work with better pad level and leverage because if not, a college OL will simply get under his pads, walk him off his mark and maul him into the grass.

7. Dee Liner

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    Like Walker, Liner is also versatile, as he can play both DE and DT. I think he fits best as a DT, however, and has gotten up to be a 6'3", 294 pound beast this year.

    He has excellent physical tools and consistently displays them each snap.

    Yet Liner must work on not letting blockers into his breast plate with their punches and stabs. Learning to play with better hand usage and counter moves will help him improve upon this weakness. 

6. Eddie Vanderdoes, DT

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    The 6'4", 305 pound Vanderdoes could be the strongest player I've seen on film in this 2013 class. He can toss blockers aside when shedding, anchor down with ease and press the pocket as a pass rusher.

    His main weaknesses now are his average snap quickness and athleticism in space. Vanderdoes can be jumped on top of by a blocker at the snap and struggles to break down in space when pursuing ball carriers.

5. Tim Williams, DE

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    Williams is a 6'4", 230 pound edge defender with great length, strength, athleticism and chase speed.

    He can be explosive at the snap, but it's a tad alarming that other times he can be what we scouts call "a late reactor".

    Williams must improve the consistency of his get-off if he's to become the great pass rusher that he should be. 

4. Montravius Adams

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    Adams has everything you want in a potential dominant, game-changing DT. He's 6'3" and around 300 pounds, possesses excellent snap quickness and great power.

    Right now, on tape, it's obvious that Adams knows he's simply bigger, quicker and faster than his opponents. He doesn't use his hands much, plays with reckless technique and is very raw.

    Once a full time DL coach gets their hands on him in college to refine his techniques, Adams should be fantastic.

3. Kenny Bigelow

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    Bigelow is 6'3", 297 pounds and just a great football player. He is extremely athletic for a big man and has played LB, DE, TE and FB during his prep career. He has great snap quickness, strength and instincts as a DT.

    He just doesn't have long arms and a great reach, which could see him struggle to create separation from blockers at USC. Bigelow also needs to develop more plans in his pass rush. 

2. Carl Lawson

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    Lawson is a super explosive 6'2", 255 pound DE from Georgia that just flat out gets the job done.

    He's strong enough to anchor vs. TE's to combat run plays and can attack the pocket as a passer with force, tenacity, athleticism and speed.

    The knock on Lawson, besides his lack of great height for a DL, is that he can lose track of the ball at times. Lawson can get too caught up with winning battles and his ball location skills are affected. 

1. Robert Nkemdiche

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    The nation's No. 1 player is an outstanding 6'5", 270 pound DE that plays like Dr. Jekyll. Nkemdiche is War-daddy in the trenches and has big time power.

    He is a very good athlete, shows outstanding speed, instincts and other tools. He should be a star in college but needs to work on some things.

    The first is Nkemdiche needs to play with his hands better. He can improve at countering blockers, using better moves and using his length to stay clean.

    The next thing Nkemdiche can improve upon is playing more under control. He can run himself out of plays, especially of the misdirection variety.


    Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to, and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.