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Green Zone League Articles

The Draft's Elite Athletes: Defensive Analysis
By Nic St. Marie
Special to gzl-football.com

So...this has been fun so far. A lot of work, cause I'm looking at literally every player's attributes (and total number) to determine where the 10% cutoff is. Luckily our site is powerful so that isn't nearly as hard as it sounds. But it has taken a good amount of work, so I couldn't stay up any later to do the defensive side last night.

Here goes nothing

DT
Malcom Brown - 63 SPD, 95 STR, 68 AGI, 78 ACC
Archie Waters - 70 SPD, 91 STR, 70 AGI, 83 ACC

We'll start with strength, 96 STR is required to be in the club, and two guys at 95 have a good chance to make it in. Malcom Brown has an easy time sticking out, but actually is not in the top 10% for anything. He's one or two points from reaching that level in STR, AGI, and ACC.

Moving onto SPD, three players just make it into that threshold. One of those is notable, Archie Waters. He's also the only person to be elite in Agility and Acceleration, and overall is one of the top three prospect at DT. He is likely to go in the middle of the first round.

DE
Ronaldo Plunkett - 85 SPD, 63 STR, 76 AGI, 80 ACC
Owa Odighizuwa - 85 SPD, 79 STR, 78 AGI, 86 ACC
Alvin Robinson - 61 SPD, 87 STR, 55 AGI, 66 ACC
Zeus Bryant - 79 SPD, 86 STR, 79 AGI, 81 ACC

To start, it is noticeable that none of the DEs in this class approach the top 10% in agility. And none reach it in acceleration, but with that cut-off at 87 a couple of players are very close.

Elite speed belongs to two players. Only one is a notable starting prospect, the well-known Owa Alphabet. His SPD/ACC is an elite combo, and he has really good strength for a speed rusher as well. Elite prospect all the way.

Strength gets to be more diffiecult. I didn't separate 3-4 and 4-3 types because there are too many crappy players (70 SPD/70 STR) and too many shades of grey in the pass rushing/run stopping world of DEs to get a good sample size to compare this class to. So the speed rusher strength isn't being compared against just speed rusher or balanced DEs but all of them.

One player reached the 87 STR threshold, and one more notable player is just short of it. Zeus Bryant is the more purely balanced DE that has 3-4 DE strength, making him likely a top 15 player in this draft.

OLB
Scottie Powers - 88 SPD, 70 STR, 83 AGI, 87 ACC
Fernando George - 86 SPD, 72 STR, 81 AGI, 86 ACC
Coleman Burke - 85 SPD, 66 STR, 85 AGI, 78 ACC
Luke Papadopoulos - 79 SPD, 82 STR, 78 AGI, 77 ACC
Eli Harold - 81 SPD, 79 STR, 79 AGI, 80 ACC
Kevin Cunningham - 77 SPD, 79 STR, 75 AGI, 80 ACC

Looking at the cutoffs here, I didn't put one of the LBs with 79 STR up here, because he is a borderline LB prospect. But 80/80 types are pretty much the standard for balanced 3-4 OLB (in the NFL) so they were worth putting up here.

SPD and ACC showed two people who are in or just outside the elite club. Powers and George are also the two top OLB prospects on most boards.

I put Burke up to note his elite agility, and he pairs it with pretty good SPD so he's a legitimate prospect here. Finally, you see the 3-4 OLB types, who bring better ability to hold up against run blockers on the edge of the formation.

MLB
Denver Wakefield - 86 SPD, 61 STR, 83 AGI, 84 ACC
Trinidad Walker - 84 SPD, 78 STR, 84 AGI, 80 ACC
Brick Baylor - 82 SPD, 84 STR, 80 AGI, 82 ACC
Adam Cooke - 76 SPD, 80 STR, 73 AGI, 76 ACC

Speed here gave us one candidate, in Wakefield. He's an all-around speedy undersized athlete so he's a legitimate player but will need his weaknesses minimized.

No one reached 10% in acceleration, but agility brings us Trinidad Walker, a legit pro bowl candidate athlete. In fact, Walker could get +2 and SPD and +2 in STR and reach top 10% in both, and be the one player threatening in three catagories.

The cutoff for Strength is 80, and that brings us to Cooke, a bigger guy who is understandably slower, and Brick who is an obvious freak. Baylor is a Julius Peppers type freak, a powerful athlete who has freakish ability to move for his great size. That'll make him great in the run or passing game, even if he didn't move quite like Trinidad Walker, and likely to be the first linebacker taken in the draft.

CB
Devon Harrison - 95 SPD, 44 STR, 91 AGI, 97 ACC
Emerson Dupree - 95 SPD, 55 STR, 93 AGI, 95 ACC
Commodore Bell - 94 SPD, 60 STR, 97 AGI, 92 ACC
Tony Powell - 91 SPD, 55 STR, 96 AGI, 83 ACC
Marcus Peters - 92 SPD, 59 STR, 95 AGI, 95 ACC
Hunter Hill - 92 SPD, 52 STR, 95 AGI, 93 ACC
Buford McKay - 93 SPD, 69 STR, 92 AGI, 92 ACC

This group is kinda big, but not that elite because as we all know elite athletes at CB can be overrun by large WRs.

No one reached the 97 SPD threshold, but CBs get speed training so a couple have a chance, including Harrison and Dupree, who are both in or almost in the ACC 10% club. Dupree is the likely top 2 rounds guy, where Harrison will probably go in the 3-5 rounds.

Agility is where Commodore Bell and the three names after him join the elites of the GZL. Bell and Hill both look like potential stars. Likely top 20 picks in the draft.

Strength and leaping aren't important enough for CB to mention, but one of the strength guys happens to be worth mentioning. Buford McKay will only be elite in strength, but for his height is a rarity in that he has good athleticism and great size. Likely rewarded with a top 5 slot in the draft.

S
Todd Henry - 94 SPD, 64 STR, 93 AGI, 90 ACC
Courtney Rice - 92 SPD, 70 STR, 86 AGI, 94 ACC
Gabriel Giordano - 92 SPD, 70 STR, 94 AGI, 92 ACC
Chris Hackett - 91 SPD, 76 STR, 90 AGI, 92 ACC

This matches perfectly what the elite group of prospects look like. So to make it easy, the threshold was 93 SPD, 93 ACC, 94 AGI, 75 STR.

Not only did each of these four guys meet those thresholds, they aren't that far from the one's they are short in. Any one of these four might be a 1st round pick in a regular draft. These four may last till the second round, but people will get steals with these guys.
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