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Green Zone League Articles

GZL's Most Freakish Athletes(DE/DT/OLB)
By Paul Willis
Special to gzl-football.com

Last season I started this series and got through every offensive position before I got distracted at forgot about it. Decided I wanted to write something, and remembered I have this to finish. Going to get right in to it but if you missed the others, the links are below.

QB/HB, FB/WR/TE, OL.

Defensive End

Amos Houston - 6'1" - 262 LBS - 86 SPD - 80 STR - 85 AGI - 89 ACC

Until Houston entered the draft this year, Mario Williams was the clear pick for this award. Williams could still arguably get this spot since he's got 6 inches and 13 pounds on Houston, but after a regression in strength I had to go with the rookie. While he's short, that shouldn't make too much of a difference at his position, since line of scrimmage deflections are fairly rare in GZL regardless of one's height. He's among the league's best at speed, agility and acceleration at the position, and his 80 strength is more than good enough to make him an elite prospect.

Although he's only got one game under his belt, Houston looks like he's going to be a producer. His 5 tackles and 1 for loss against the Browns aren't particularly eye popping on paper, but the sacks will come sooner than later. Houston has massive potential going forward since he's got two more training camps in his future. If Justin Herr continues to put points in to his SPD/ACC like he did this season, the kid will be an 88 SPD - 80 STR - 85 AGI - 91 ACC monster.

Honorable Mention

Mario Williams - 6'7" - 275 LBS - 84 SPD - 82 STR - 87 AGI - 86 ACC

Mario is the best defensive end in league history. He has 10 more sacks than anyone else, and will be one of the first players to be inducted in to the GZL Hall of Fame based solely on his actual GZL numbers. Losing 3 points of strength and acceleration this offseason cost him the top spot by a hair, but Williams is still among the beastliest in the league even at his advanced age.

Allen Bailey - 6'3" - 295 LBS - 84 SPD - 85 STR - 80 AGI - 83 ACC
Allen Bailey has always been a bit of a Mario Williams-lite. An absolute beast in terms of speed and strength, but just above average at agility and acceleration. His freakish attributes haven't translated to the field as much as you'd hope, he's averaged a fairly pedestrian 8 sacks a season from LE over his career and has never cracked double digits.


Defensive Tackle

Dontari Poe - 6'5" - 360 LBS - 68 SPD - 98 STR - 68 AGI - 80 ACC

This was the toughest decision I've had to make thus far I think. Defensive tackles come in many different shapes and forms and everyone has different traits they look for. For me, Poe wins out thanks to his amazing blend of size, strength, speed and power. There's quite simply nobody quite like Poe in the league right now. He can easily man the middle in any defense, and is athletic enough to play DE in either a 3-4 or 4-3 as well. Only 4 players weigh in heavier, 1 can claim to be stronger and very few possess as quick a burst off the snap. Of the 32 tackles in the league with 80 or better acceleration, only Poe weighs 330 pounds or more.

Poe has been very productive in his 3 seasons, notching 18 sacks while spending at least half of his time in the league as a nose tackle(at least from what I can tell). In 2014 Poe logged 8 sacks, a number he could easily top if the Packers stick with the aggressive 46 defense they've become known for.

Honorable Mention

Ndamukong Suh - 6'4" - 317 LBS - 66 SPD - 97 STR - 72 AGI - 85 ACC
Suh is 1A to Poe. While not the massive body that Poe is, Suh has the measurables to be one of the best pass rushing tackles in the league. For some reason his sack total has never been great, aside from 9 in 2013, but he's got an impressive 49 tackles for loss in 6 seasons.

J.J. Watt - 6'5" - 300 LBS -78 SPD - 93 STR - 68 AGI - 78 ACC
J.J. Watt could've gone on the defensive end list. Along with Jacquez Emanuel he's the fastest tackle in the league and has great strength to go along with his speed. He had 5 solid years in Carolina and is off to a fast start in Baltimore this season.

Outside Linebacker

Jarvis Jones - 6'2" - 255 LBS - 89 SPD - 79 STR - 84 AGI - 90 ACC

I doubt anyone will argue this one. Jones is an absolute monster at OLB. Only 1 player is faster and only 1 accelerates quicker but nobody with his blend of speed and acceleration has his kind of strength. Normally players of Jones' caliber get moved inside, so it makes sense that the rest of the position is behind. Still, Jones would be in the running even if we were discussing the more glamorous middle linebacker spot.

Jones spent most of his rookie season as a 4-3 outside backer and had a fairly pedestrian season with decent tackle numbers for the position and just one sack. Something changed in 2015, where the Patriots ran a Cover 2 almost every week and Jones came away with similar numbers everywhere but in the sack category. He jumped from 1 sack to 9 and proved to the league that he's a true playmaker. Already one of the best in the league at his position, it's scary to think what his numbers might look like in a system specifically designed to utilize his pass rushing capability.

Honorable Mention

Barkevious Mingo - 6'4" - 255 LBS - 88 SPD - 74 STR - 82 AGI - 87 ACC
Mingo is basically Jones minus some strength. This was nearly Jorge Mays, but I gave "Keke" the edge thanks to his size. Mingo has been a solid pro, but has been chasing the dragon since a stellar rookie season.

Oliver Nixon - 6'4" - 261 LBS -85 SPD - 80 STR - 82 AGI - 86 ACC
Alright, you guys knew a homer pick was coming. I don't think it's too much of a stretch though, Nixon is a beast as a rookie and the only 80 STR outside linebacker in the league who has more than 80 SPD. Had a solid debut with 4 tackles and 1 for loss.
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