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Raider Nation: The Draft Rankings (Defense)

Here is the defense:

1a. Chris Long - Everydown DE. Limited upside at OLB IMO, but probably will be a very good DE. May not be able to live up to his hype in the NFL, but he has the tools that he could
1b. Vernon Gholston - Physical tools unreal, will be a pass rushing force at DE, I see great upside at 3-4 OLB as well.
3. Phillip Merling - Size and speed combo could make a him an every down DE in this league. One of the under appreciated DE in this draft.
4. Derrick Harvey - Could be a good pass rusher, but he may not have the size to be a good DE and play all the snaps. I could see him being a very nice OLB in a 3-4.
5. Calais Campbell - Lacks the speed to be a great pass rusher, but has the size to be an every down guy if he can at least get some pressure occasionally, boom or bust type.

DT: (This is the hardest position for me)
1. Dorsey - I have serious questions about his injury, but until I find out how they might effect him he remains a DT who can do it all and if he was injured was pretty productive and he played, that means he is a tough guy.
2. Sedrick Ellis - I think he might be limited in his ability to stop the run. I think he might best be used along with a larger run stuffer. Should be a great pass rushing DT, which is sometimes a hard thing to find.
3. Kentwan Balmer - If he is healthy, I think Blamer is not far behind Dorsey and I'd consider him along the lines of Ellis. He is quick and dominating with good size and speed. Wont be a run stuffer, but isn't a push over and can rush the passer. Might be a stud 3-4 DE as well.
4. Trevor Laws - Motor and strength top notch. His height like Ellis gives him the ability to get under blockers and get penetration. He might struggle shedding blocks due to his poor lateral ability.
5. Frank Okam - I took him over Dre Moore because of his upside. He is very inconsistant, but he can either be a force or a non-factor. Every couple years there is one of these guys that busts, and one that turns into a solid NFL player. Either way, He has nice ability for a DT.

1. Dan Connor - Far and away the best ILB prospect in this draft. Very productive smart player. Has some trouble shedding blocks, but he is a smart enough to learn. Not elite athleticism but adequate to be a very solid ILB.
2. Jerod Mayo - Could also play WLB. Has nice speed and he is athletic. Reminds me a little of Thomas Howard. Very productive but will have to work on his game.
3. Philip Wheeler - He needs to work on technique and playing smarter. Is athletic, but not real agile. May also project to WLB with his size and strength limitations.
4. Johnathan Goff - Not a great athlete, but is a football player. Also a leader and can shed blockers, good tackler. Not flashy, but will get the job done. Smart guy as well. Coverage ability limited.
5. Curtis Lofton - Not a great athlete, but is a football player. Also a leader and can shed blockers, good tackler. Not flashy, but will get the job done. Smart guy as well. Coverage ability limited. (Did I just type the same thing twice...nah cut and paste...these guys are similar, very much so)

1. Keith Rivers - Another guy that kind of reminds me of Thomas Howard. Maybe a bigger hitter than Howard, but not quite as athletic. Will have the same problems as Howard with shedding blockers and being run at. WLB prospect.
2. Cliff Avril - Good 34 OLB. Can pass rush, shed blocks and has a good "motor". May have trouble against the run. Came from a good program.
3. Tavares Gooden - Productive and athletic, but a bit small. He is a good tackler so if he can add some pounds he could be a very solid LB
4. Xavier Adibi - Needs to add size, but is very athletic and a good tackler. Good pass rusher and sheds blocks well for a smaller guy. Mostly because of his size he isn't very good against the run, but he has a frame to add pounds.
5. Ali Highsmith - Athletic, good tackler lacks size and strength and doesn't shed blocks well. A project, but he can rush the passer and play special teams until he is ready.

1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - Not a physical guy, but should be an excellent cover corner with excellent agility, size, athleticism and speed. Is still raw, but he should develop rapidly in an NFL system.
2. Leodis McKelvin - Has all the tools you look for in a cover corner. Isn't one of the taller "Super Corners" the NFL has fallen in love with. Also isn't too physical. Seems to break late on passes and lacks recognition skills.
3. Aqib Talib - Has the physical tools, but is extremely raw. Gets beat when he shouldn't because he uses bad technique and footwork. Good size.
4. Mike Jenkins - S/CB guy. I think he could play both. Needs work on technique, but other than that has natural cover skills and recognitions skills are a plus. Lacks ideal height.
5. Antoine Cason - Good size and decent speed. Natural athlete and good instincts. Needs to get stronger and learn to turn his hips better, gets beat because he doesn't do this well.
5b. Patrick Lee - I wanted to include him because I think he will develop in time to a very good CB. He needs time to learn the pro game because he didn't play that much in college. Has all the other things you look for. Not great hands, but that is to be expected from some CBs. (Surprise no Brandon Flowers, although some teams may have him as their #3 CB)

1. Kenny Phillips - Size, strength, speed, awareness, top notch. Strong enough, hitter and does good in run support. Had a down year, kind of an anomaly. Will need to refine his game in the pros.
1b. DeJuan Morgan - Great size, speed, good instincts, physical. Some have said he is more of a hitter than tackler, but I think he just has trouble tackling guys at 205, needs to add some pounds. Special teams stud along the lines of Jarrod Cooper, but with potential to be a good safety as well.
3. Tyrell Johnson - Speedy, athletic and physical. Good tackler, smart and good special teamer as well. Could be a lot better than we think. Kind of an unknown, but has everything you look for including leadership qualities.
4. Josh Barrett - Excellent size and speed, good tackler and hitter, Team Leader and good instincts. Technique needs work, but NFL coaches should help.
5. Thomas DeCoud - Athletic and fluid, fantastic tackler and hitter. Good against the run. Lacks cover speed and may be one dimensional, below average instincts, but is getting better and was very productive.


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