This summer, the National Football Post is breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who might warrant interest from teams in the 2010 NFL Draft.
The North Carolina Tar Heels have a surplus of talented underclassmen on the defensive side of the ball and have the potential to become one of the nation’s top defenses in 2009.
Kyle Jolly: No. 72, OT, 6-6, 312
Displays good bend in his lower half and gets off the ball quickly, but lacks the fluidity to consistently reach the corner. Does a nice job extending his arms on contact and sitting into his stance.
However, he lacks power in his base and can be bullied at the point of attack. Struggles getting much push as an in-line run blocker, but does a nice job dropping his pad level and cutting down defenders in space.
Impression: A technically sound offensive tackle, but his lack of athleticism and power will make it difficult for him to find a home on either side of the offensive line in the NFL.
Marvin Austin: No. 9, DT, 6-3, 305
A gifted athlete in space who plays the piano well down the line. Showcases an ability to close on the ball quickly.
Snaps out a strong punch on contact and can jolt opposing linemen at the point of attack. Displays impressive lateral mobility as a pass rusher, possesses the balance and coordination to sidestep linemen inside and gain a step.
Exhibits good flexibility out of his stance, but consistently gets too high and doesn’t display much power after his initial surge.
Struggles getting under the pad level of opposing linemen and lacks the technique to quickly disengage from blocks.
Doesn’t showcase a consistent motor and looks content to be blocked at times. Lacks ideal awareness and displays questionable instincts off the snap.
Impression: Possesses impressive natural athletic ability but isn’t technically sound, and I worry about his work rate and overall motor inside. Looks like a real boom-or-bust kind of prospect.
Cam Thomas: No. 93, DT, 6-3, 328
Isn’t really flexible and lacks explosion out of his stance. Has a tendency to get too upright off the snap and allows opposing linemen to get into his frame.
However, he possesses a powerful base and the girth to absorb the initial jolt and hold his ground on contact. Is difficult to move off the ball and does a nice job extending his arms and working his way toward the play.
Is a real space eater who can control the point of attack vs. the double-team and clog run lanes inside. However, he lacks the fluidity to make plays away from his frame and struggles getting up and down the line.
Possesses the natural strength to push the pocket and walk opposing linemen into the backfield, but isn’t much of a factor vs. the pass.
Impression: Has the size and power to clog up run lanes inside at the next level, but he needs to continue working on lowering his pad level off the ball.
Aleric Mullins: No. 97, DT, 6-3, 296
Displays a good motor inside and does a great job driving his legs through contact and shifting is body angle in order to work his way toward the QB. Has a tendency to get too high on his pass rush.
However, he uses his hands well to keep opposing linemen off his frame and exhibits the quickness to sidestep a block and cleanly penetrate upfield. Is very sudden on contact and does a good job creating space with his club move and beating his man laterally.
But he needs to do a better job dropping his pad level once he gains an initial step in order to maintain balance up the field.
Lacks ideal awareness off the snap, which will at times cause him to struggle vs. the run. Displays some natural power in his lower half and can handle blockers 1v1 at the point of attack.
However, he needs to do a better job playing with a more consistent pad level in all areas of his game.
Impression: Is the most impressive of the three UNC defensive tackles. Uses his arms well to shed blocks and is very sudden as a pass rusher. He may not have the hype of Marvin Austin, but he’s more impressive on film.
E.J. Wilson: No. 92, DE, 6-2, 280
Showcases a good pad level out of his stance and does a nice job extending his arms and keeping opposing linemen from getting into his frame. However, he isn’t really explosive off the ball and lacks the burst to threaten the corner.
Displays a good motor but lacks the lateral mobility to sidestep offensive tackles and penetrate inside. Is easily mirrored in space and doesn’t exhibit much as a pass rusher.
Plays with natural leverage and does a nice job getting under linemen and holding the point of attack vs. the run.
Possesses a powerful base and showcases the coordination to stack and shed on the outside. Isn’t really sudden when asked to disengage but has the length to eventually fight his way off blocks and works hard in pursuit.
Impression: Has a thickly built frame and plays with natural leverage, but lacks the athleticism to be much of a factor in the pass game. Might be able to find his way as a rotational two-down player at the next level.
Quan Sturdivant: No. 52, ILB, 6-2, 232
Showcases good range and has the ability to make plays sideline to sideline, but needs to do a better job breaking down in pursuit. Doesn’t consistently take proper angles toward the ball and has a tendency to over-pursue at times.
Displays the lateral quickness to slip blocks in space but lacks instincts and will take himself out of plays at times.
Is comfortable in the open field and does a nice job redirecting vs. the pass and quickly closing on receivers laterally. Displays a good first step out of his breaks and has the range to drive on plays underneath.
Exhibits the athleticism to consistently put himself in position to make plays but will second-guess himself at times and not always trust his initial read on the ball.
Impression: The tools are there for him to become a contributing NFL linebacker, but he needs to continue to improve in the mental aspects of the game.
Bruce Carter: No. 54, OLB, 6-3, 225
A long-armed athlete with good athleticism and body control in and out of his breaks. Looks natural in coverage and does a good job reading the quarterback’s eyes and getting early jumps on the ball.
Keeps his head on a swivel and displays impressive awareness in zone coverage; feels receivers around him and always seems to redirect quickly toward his man.
Showcases good closing speed toward the ball and uses his length to consistently wrap up on the play. Has a tendency to get a bit high as a tackler, but for the most part gets his man on the ground.
Demonstrates good instincts vs. the run and does a great job slipping blocks and making his way toward the play. However, he will get caught ball-watching at times and can get picked off by opposing linemen.
Does a good job taking on blockers in the hole. Possesses the power and coordination to stack at the point, slip the block and quickly find the football.
Impression: Plays the run and pass game well and looks like a starting-caliber linebacker at the next level.
Deunta Williams: No. 27, FS, 6-2, 205
A strapping safety prospect who showcases good burst out of his breaks and redirects cleanly in space. Deciphers information quickly and does a good job reading his run/pass keys and making his way toward the football.
Is very instinctive vs. the run game and takes proper angles in pursuit. Isn’t the most technically sound tackler, but is a physical specimen who has the power to consistently get this man to the ground.
Doesn’t look real interested in taking on blocks at the second level and will take himself out of too many plays by trying to run around them.
Displays good straight-line speed when tracking the football and possesses the range to make plays sideline to sideline.
However, he has a tendency to make some wrong reads in the secondary and will open up gaping holes down the middle of the field.
Impression: Has the makings of a very good starting safety at the next level if he continues to develop mentally.
Be sure to check out the rest of my team breakdowns at Nationalfootballpost.com.