This is mostly an unknown group for me. For the North team, Duke Dawson (Florida) and Darius Phillips (Western Michigan) are both undersized very productive corners that are most likely suited to play the nickel. Phillips is a tremendous return man. Jamarcus King (South Carolina) is a long, lean player with great ball skills. He needs to add strength. King played locally at Blount HS. Christian Campell (Penn State), Isaac Yiadom (Boston College), Michael Joseph (Dubuque), and Taron Johnson (Weber State) are all players I have either never seen play or not enough to form an opinion on.
For the South team, Levi Wallace (Alabama) is a former walk-on that became a starter this year. Wallace has excellent ball skills and good length. M.J. Stewart (North Carolina) has played at a high level since he walked on campus. He had 6 interceptions his first two years and teams just stopped testing him. Kameron Kelly (San Diego State) was a safety his first three years with the Aztecs and moved to corner this year. he has great size, ball skills, and is a sound tackler. Siran Neal (Jacksonville State), Chandon Sullivan (Georgia State), D'Montre Wade (Murray State), and Danny Johnson (Southern) are players I have not watched up to this point.
TOP PLAYER: Levi Wallace, Alabama
NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION: Christian Campell, Penn State; Isaac Yiadom, Boston College; Michael Joseph, Dubuque; Taron Johnson, Weber State; Siran Neal, Jacksonville State; Chandon Sullivan, Georgia State; D'Montre Wade, Murray State; Danny Johnson, Southern
NO LONGER PLAYING: Anthony Averett, Alabama; Kamrin Moore, Boston College
For the North roster, Justin Jones and B.J. Hill (NC State) are solid players that were forgotten about playing beside potential top-5 pick Bradley Chubb. Harrison Phillips is an early graduate who led Stanford in tackles this season. That is an amazing feat for an interior defensive lineman. Jalyn Holmes (Ohio State), like his teammate TyQuan Lewis, is a forgotten man behind his more hyped teammates. Nathan Shepherd (Fort Hays State) is a player I will be seeing for the first time this week.
For the South team, Da'Shawn Hand (Alabama) is a former #1 overall ranked HS recruit. He is scheme diverse with power and quickness. Andrew Brown (Virginia) is another top HS recruit. He is probably best suited to play 5-tech. Brown can wreak havoc in an opponent's backfield. Poona Ford (Texas) is another Shrine Game call-up. He is a sub-six-foot run plugger. Christian LaCoutoure was a late add. He had his best career season after tearing his knee up in 2016. He has pass rush ability. Greg Gilmore (LSU) was a late add. He is a nose tackle prospect that requires more study.
TOP PLAYER: Da'Shawn Hand, Alabama
NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION: Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays State; Greg Gilmore, LSU
NO LONGER PLAYING: Maurice Hurst, Michigan; Derrick Nnadi, Florida State
The 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl is upon us. Beginning on Tuesday, 110 senior football prospects will interview with and practice in front of hundreds of NFL coaches and scouts. Tuesday morning, the players will weigh-in and then both teams will lightly practice in the afternoon. Wednesday and Thursday are the two biggest practice days when both squads practice in full pads. This culminates in the game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday at 1:30 pm. The game can also be seen live on NFL Network.
Deep Fried Draft will have it covered all week. Look for daily write-ups about the practices each day. I will also post “Quick Snack” videos on my Youtube channel and/or podcasts on the Bumpers app reviewing the day’s action.
Below I will review each defensive position group that will be in Mobile this week:
This is probably the worst overall position group here with no players currently projected into the Top-100 picks. On the North squad, Nick DeLuca (North Dakota State) probably would have been here last year if not for an injury. He is a sideline-to-sideline tackler. Fred Warner (BYU) is a sure tackler who is solid in pass coverage (7 career INTs). Ja'Whaun Bentley (Purdue), Mike McCray (Michigan), and Myles Pierce (Citadel) are players I need to see more of. Pierce played locally at Daphne HS.
On the South team, there isn't a better story in this draft class than Shaquem Griffin (UCF). He has only had one hand since he was four years of age. He has won the AAC defensive player of the year award two years in a row. Griffin plays reckless abandon and ruthless aggression. He has great get off as a pass rusher and is always around the ball. Micah Kiser (Virginia) is a very smart player and is highly productive. Tre' Williams (Auburn) played locally at St. Paul's HS. He has nice range. Darius Leonard (South Carolina State) and Dorian O'Daniel (Clemson) require more study.
TOP PLAYER: Micah Kiser, Virginia
NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION: Ja'Whaun Bentley, Purdue; Mike McCray, Michigan; Myles Pierce, Citadel; Darius Leonard, South Carolina State; Dorian O'Daniel, Clemson
NO LONGER PLAYING: Rashaan Evans, Alabama; Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama; Skai Moore, South Carolina
2018 Senior Bowl Defensive Preview 1/20/18 7:15 pm
For the North team, Ogbannia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma) is quick off the edge but is a tad undersized. He could convert to linebacker like Haason Reddick did a year ago. Kemoko Turay (Rutgers) had his production tail off last year but he possesses the necessary traits to be a force rushing the passer. TyQuan Lewis (Ohio State) gets lost in the shuffle with the other Buckeye pass rushers. He can get after the QB. Chad Thomas (Miami-FL) was a late add and got called up from the Shrine Game. He is well built, physical at the point of attack, and has a quick get-off. Garret Dooley (Wisconsin) and Dewey Jarvis (Brown) are players I need to study more of.
On the South roster, Kylie Fitts (Utah) has battled injuries but has nice pass rush upside. Marquis Haynes (Mississippi) has also battled injuries. He came into this season as one of the top pass rushers in the SEC but saw his play tail off. Uchenna Nwosu (Southern Cal) has a crazy fast get off and an array of rush moves. He is a finisher. Marcus Davenport (UTSA) could leave this game as the biggest riser. He looks like he was made in a lab. He is physically dominant with his bull rush and has nice hand usage.
TOP PLAYER: Marcus Davenport, UTSA
NEED MORE INFORMATION: Garret Dooley, Wisconsin; Dewey Jarvis, Brown
NO LONGER PLAYING: Harold Landry, Boston College; Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest; Davin Bellamy, Georgia
DEEP FRIED DRAFT
Safety is always the last position I get to study and because of the lack of All-22 tape I have access to it is the hardest one for me as well. For the North squad, the only player I have a bead on is Kyzir White (West Virginia). White is a heat-seeking missile. He is the brother of former 1st-round pick Kevin White.
For the South team, Quin Blanding (Virginia) is a highly productive in-the-box safety. He needs more range and could eventually convert to LB.
TOP PLAYER: Quin Blanding, Virginia
NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION: Marcus Allen, Penn State; Armani Watts, Texas A&M; Trayvon Henderson, Hawaii; Tray Matthews, Auburn; Jeremy Reaves, South Alabama
NO LONGER PLAYING: