In our last installment of Late Coals to Early Diamonds last week we focused on the offense. This week we are going to show some love to the defensive side of the ball. Remember that these are mid to late round prospects that organizations think that these athletes are lacking some sort of attributes such as height, strength, speed, weight, and etc. So without further wait here are some of our future defensive stars.
DE E.J. Wison 6' - 4" 286 lbs (North Carolina) This Defensive end is shooting up draft boards as late. with his size and speed he has the ability to play defensive end in both the 4-3 and the 3-4 defense. In the right system he could be first and second down end and a situational nickel on third down. E.J. posesses a good rush to the outside to push everything back inside and have enough burst to put pressure on pass plays. He could be grat in a team's line rotation and in a year or to might push to start.
DE Lindsey Witten 6' - 4" 250lbs (Connecticut) Lindsey is a DE, they tried to move him OLB during the all star game practices and he seemed a little out of place. He is a natural defensive end who is pojected in the middle rounds. He has a pretty good motor and a knack for getting to the quarterback. Whith 11 sacks in his senior year and a steady improvment over his college career he could show that he should have been a second round pick. If Lindsey Witten can add some more defensive end moves he could be a young version of Robert Mathis of the Colts. He has a lot of upside.
DE/OLB O'Brien Schofield 6' - 2" 221 lbs (Wisconsin) This tweener is a beast or a freak you choose. At his size he would be to small to play defensive end on either 4-3 or 3-4, so he would be suited to play OLB. If he gets drafted to to a 4-3 team he could surely play nickel end on a blitzing team. With his strength and speed he could cause havoc an opposing quarterbacks. Before his injury at the Senior Bowl, he was more than impressive in the Shrine game. Due to his injury he will be a mid to late round pick, but if a team drafts him and waits for his injury to heal they find that he is a gem.
DT Al Woods 6' - 4" 309 lbs (LSU) Al is not the flashiest guy on the field and times you may not hear his name as often as you hear others, but at the end of the day he seems to make the stops that the defense needs. Al is a blue collar type player that you can hear his name for eight to ten years. He is not your Warren Sapp but he is your Grady Jackson, he's not your Albert Hayneswoth but he is your Casey Hampton. He'll be good for years to come.
DT Mike Neal 6' - 3" 294 lbs (Purdue) Mike Neal is a mid round player thats a star in the making. He plays with leverage,technique, and strength. Also have above average quickness which will put you in the mind of New Orleans Saints NT Sedrick Ellis. Mike has the intangibles to be a star, look for hime to make the Pro Bowl in a couple of years.
OLB Rico McCoy 6" -0" 220 lbs (Tennessee) Only by two inches, two inches stopped Rico McCoy from being a late first early second round. He has all the positive qualities to being a starter at least real early in his career. He has speed, smarts, instincts, and important of all he can tackle. Put Rico in the right scheme and you'll have an All Pro for years to come.
OLB Dekoda Watson 6' - 1" 240 lbs (Florida State) Not to many word to say about Dekoda Watson, but if in the right system he could be the next famous Noles (Derrick Brooks). Not to much said but a whole lot of potential.
MLB Donald Butler 6' - 1" 245 lbs (Washington) Quietly he is climbing up a lot of draft boards. Donald Butler is a smart, fast, strong, instinctive linebacker who could play in space or in the box. He has enough speed and smarts could play in time at strong safety, but that is what makes him special. He could cover running backs, tight ends, and even some slot receivers. He is definately a diamond in the rough.
MLB Darryl Sharpton 5' - 11" 236 lbs (Miami) Look at Rico McCoy with the abilities of Detroit Lions Ernie Sims.
S Reshad Jones 6' - 1" 214 lbs (Georgia) Reshad Jones is quietly catching the eyes of a lot of pro personnels looking for a safety. Projected to play Strong, he could play Free. Reshad is a sound tackler, with decent speed, strong, and very talented. I shouldn't put him on this list because he might sneak into the second round, but if he doesn't then some team got themself a steal.
These are players you can look to make an impact in the 2010 season if they are drafted to the right teams. We will see in a couple of weeks to see who will be the sleeping stars of tomorrow.