|Top 10 Defensive Players in 2014 GZL Rookie Draft Class
In part one we took a look at some of the incoming offensive players in the 2014 GZL Draft. We’re now going to flip the table and take a look at some of the defensive playmakers that will be making their way to a GZL stadium near you.
While offenses have differing schemes, and different GM’s have different views at what they like in a given position player … those variables are compounded when you start discussing the defense. Not only do you have differing opinions on what are the key attributes for a given position, but you also have completely different schemes that require completely different personnel. This is what can make forecasting the draft position of defensive players comes into play.
In this write-up I’m going to take a broad view of the defensive class, and share the 10 players that I feel are top prospects in the 2014 draft, regardless of scheme. Like in the offensive write-up, there probably should be more guys at certain position groups ... but I wanted to have at least a couple from each.
Let’s take a ride …
DE/OLB Bjoern Werner | Florida State | 6’4” 256lbs
85SPD, 83ACC, 81AGI, 80STR, 71TAK, 62AWR
Breakdown: Werner is a versatile defender that could be plugged in as a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE in the GZL. He possesses a great combination of size, power, and athletic ability that should allow him to get after QBs at this level. His best fit initially would be at the DE spot, due to his poor open-field tackling ability. However, this is something that could be improved over time.
Grade: Top 10 Pick
DE/DT Demetruce Pair | Virginia | 6’3” 285lbs
70SPD, 77ACC, 75AGI, 85STR, 77TAK, 61AWR
Breakdown: For those who like a little more brawn to their DE’s, Pair would be the better fit. Though not quite the athlete that Werner is, at 285lbs Pair would be an ideal fit for a 3-4 DE spot. He could also serve a team well sliding inside and playing the DT spot.
Grade: Mid-Late 1st
DT/NT Start Lotulelei | Utah | 6’3” 320lbs
68SPD, 93STR, 70AWR, 68AGI, 81ACC, 78TAK
Breakdown: Star will be just that in the GZL … a star. He’s very much cut from the same cloth as current dominating DT’s like the Ravens Haloti Ngata and the Lions Ndamukong Suh. He has the ability to create a pass rush up the middle, and also often plays in the backfield on run plays. He’s definitely got DL-cornerstone potential.
Grade: Top 5 Pick
DT/NT Jessie Williams | Alabama | 6’3” 320lbs
62SPD, 94STR, 68AWR, 62AGI, 75ACC, 80TAK
Breakdown: While not quite as versatile as Star Lotulelei, Williams should have GM’s behind 3-4 schemes chomping at the bit. Williams has the potential to become one of the strongest DT’s in the game, and has a little more athletic ability than you’d expect. He can certainly anchor the middle of an odd-front.
Grade: Mid-Late 1st
OLB Jarvis Jones | Georgia | 6’2” 245lbs
86SPD, 78STR, 68AWR, 84AGI, 88ACC, 77TAK
Breakdown: Jarvis Jones is hands down the best LB in the class. The GM that is in the position to select him will not have to choose between an athletic or power LB, like in most cases, because Jones is both. He has the tools to slide inside and man a MLB spot, but will need to improve on his tackling ability a little bit. For my money, he’d be best suited as a pass-rushing OLB in a 3-4.
Grade: TOP 8 Pick.
MLB Kevin Minter | LSU | 6’1” 245lbs
82SPD, 77STR, 60AWR, 82AGI, 83ACC, 82TAK
Breakdown: In a shallow, not-so-strong MLB class, Minter is one of the prospects that can provide a solid solution at MLB. He’s got sufficient athletic ability, and above average strength. He’s also a very solid tackler.
Grade: Top 15 Pick
MLB Jack Pounds | Iowa | 5’9” 260lbs
81SPD, 75STR, 66AWR, 82AGI, 84ACC, 84TAK
Breakdown: Some GM’s will be turned off by Pounds’ height, as silly as it may be. Pounds is strikingly similar to Kevin Minter as a MLB, though is slightly more polished. Pounds will be able to provide stability in the middle of some teams defense for years to come.
Grade: Top 15 Pick
CB DeMarcus Milliner | Alabama | 6’1” 182lbs
95SPD, 63STR, 67AWR, 93AGI, 96ACC, 72CTH, 88JMP, 68TAK
Breakdown: Milliner may be the most tantalizing prospect in the entire class. For a CB, he has pretty much everything that you could ask for at that position. Height? Check. Speed? Check. Physicality? Check. Ball Skills? Check. Tackling Ability? Check. Football IQ? Check. If there was something to nitpick, it would be that he can’t jump out of the gym. By with a GZL training program he could improve on an already decent vertical. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was first off the board.
Grade: Top 3 Pick.
CB Xavier Rhodes | Florida State | 6’2” 214lbs
93SPD, 60STR, 59AWR, 92AGI, 93ACC, 63CTH, 93JMP, 62TAK
Breakdown: An almost equally intriguing CB prospect is Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes possesses Safety size at the CB position, which will allow him to match up well with the bigger WR’s in the GZL. Rhodes has a significant advantage over Milliner in leaping ability, but is quite less polished skill-wise.
Grade: Top 5 Pick.
S Bacarri Rambo | Georgia | 6’0” 209lbs
89SPD, 79STR, 63AWR, 90AGI, 93ACC, 58CTH, 85JMP, 78TAK
Breakdown: Rambo is a good ol’ fashioned “football player”. He plays with a linebackers mentality, and grades out well in his ability to tackle in the open field. He doesn’t possess great straight-line speed, but closes on routes quickly and can make plays.
Grade: Top 7 Pick
Notables: DE Sam Montgomery, DE Dion Jordan, DT Dominique Easley, OLB Arthur Brown, MLB Michael Mauti, CB Nigel Malone, CB Tyrann Mathieu, S Brandon Claiborne, S Matt Elam, S Eric Reid
Again, these are my opinions on how the defensive prospects look. And I tried to keep it to a couple players per position, for entertainment's sake. But if you have disagreements with the list ... let's hear 'em!
Stay tuned for the final piece ... the MOCK DRAFT!