Jared’s Gems: 2016 College Preview – Defense

By Jared Stanger

Last week I wrote up a preview of some of my favorite offensive players to watch early this year…you can revisit that here https://seattleseamocks.com/2016/08/21/jareds-gems-2016-college-preseason/

Defensive Tackle

Even after losing Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson to the 2016 draft, Alabama is still really loaded on the DL. I don’t remember which of their many prospects I was watching, but I ended up often noticing Dalvin Tomlinson.

I had read recently that many of the Alabama DL had lost 20 lbs prior to this year, but according to the Bama team site, Tomlinson is listed at 6’3″/307 lbs this year after playing 2015 at 6’3″/294.

Tomlinson is now a Senior member of the team, and his role should expand quite a bit in lieu of the missing drafted players. In limited snaps last year, Dalvin posted 6 PBU (of which you can find gif of if you follow the embedded tweet).

A player with very similar build and skillset to Tomlinson is Indiana’s Ralph Green III. Listed at 6’5″/305 lbs, Green also posted an identical 6 PBU last year. I’ve only watched one game edit of RG3, but in it he’s showing tremendous stack and shed:

Ralph also has some pretty solid get-off sprinkled within his tape.

Green and Tomlinson both look capable of playing 1T and 3T, but would fit best at the 1. At the 3tech, interior pass rush specialist, my favorite player right now is Jarrod “Chunky” Clements.

Clements is listed 6’3″/295 heading into this year after playing around 290 lbs his Junior year. None of these DT have had productive careers in the sacks department (1.5 sacks combined last year, but Chunky did finish with 11.5 TFL in 2015. Clements is #11:

Of my list so far, NFLdraftscout has Tomlinson at #225 overall, Clements at #237 overall, and Ralph Green undrafted at #306 overall. The known commodity that I like is #41 overall, Caleb Brantley from Florida.

The Gators seemingly have one of these guys every year going back at least 5 years…Howard, Easley, Floyd, Fowler, Bullard. The size varies from 270 lbs to 300 lbs, but they all can play multiple spots, and they ALL can GET.OFF.

(Note: Brantley is down to 6’2″/297 lbs this year.)

Defensive End

All the 2017 DE class needs to do is stay healthy. Well, and a fair amount need to be Junior-declares cause there is a lot of underclass talent here. If Justin Britt maintains what he has shown so far in preseason at Center, Seahawks could/should look to add reinforcements to their edge rush in the first round next spring.

I really liked Missouri’s Charles Harris early last year (reminded me of Cliff Avril), but there is too much heat on his stock right now. Probably doesn’t reach late-1st (draftscout has him at #27 but many others rank him top 20).

Draftscout has Tennessee’s Derek Barnett at #31 overall. I also don’t see that lasting. I think the most plausible first round name is Illinois’ Dawaune Smoot. 6’3″/265 lbs and 8.0 sacks, 15.0 TFL, 40 tackles, 2 PBU, 3 FF in 2016.

Smoot shows great get-off, very smart hand use, good arc around the OT, and plenty of power:

Draftscout has Smooth at #45 overall.

My edge value pick is Miami of Ohio’s JT Jones. 9.0 sacks, 14.5 TFL, and another 12 hurries. He’s at #644 overall. Umm…nah. He’ll be projecting in the 5th round before long.

Linebacker

Seattle is pretty set at LB with the possible exception of this being a bridge-year at SAM. If no one from the list of Morgan, Marsh, Pinkins takes the spot and runs with it (or if a redshirt name like French or Overton doesn’t re-emerge on the PS); Seattle could look somewhere in the mid-rounds to find a rookie starter for 2017.

I think Florida’s Jarrad Davis is one of the most exciting linebackers we’ve seen since Ryan Shazier came out of OSU. He will be must-watch TV. But his value is too high than I’d go for a 2-down player.

Lorenzo Carter from Georgia is a name not many are talking about yet, but he is only a Junior. He’ll be a really SPARQ’d up entrant in whichever Combine year he ends up in.

Then, I also like Haason Reddick from Temple. He’s coming into 2016 at 6’1″/230 lbs, and last year posted 46 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks, 1 pBU, and 1 FF as a standup LB/DE.

Safety

Safety is one of the toughest positions to scout from TV copy tapes due to how often Safeties are actually out of frame. So you really end up doing them last out of all positions. I do, anyways.

But I do have this one name that I’ve been watching since the spring…UCLA’s Jaleel Wadood. He’s a mighty mite of a player…listed 5’10″/175. But he’s really quick on the ball, and carries some decent punch for his size. He’s only a Junior, and I don’t get the impression he will declare. Still a fun watch:

Cornerback

The 2017 draft is already buzzing for its DE and RB potential prospects, but don’t sleep on this CB class. I REALLY like Marlon Humphrey at the top, and then I have Cordrea Tankersley as my #2 at the position. I’m not on the “Teez” Tabor train.

The second tier has names like Adoree, Desmond, Sidney, Cameron, Jourdan, but I like to skip down all the way to that 4th-5th round range. Down there we see guys like Brandon Facyson and UW’s Kevin King. I’ve written many times before about my affinity for Kevin King.

Facyson is 6’2″/197 lbs out of Virginia Tech that came in his freshman year and posted 5 INT and 8 PBU. Then injury derailed his 2014 season after only 3 games. On his return last year Facyson caused 10 PBU. His game is still inconsistent…potentially from that year of missed time…but he has flashes of some of the best technique in the game.

Facyson and King are both currently ranked in the #148-166 range.

And it wouldn’t be a ‘Jared’s Gems’ without a deep sleeper cornerback. The discovery this week was James Madison’s Taylor Reynolds. I’ve seen him listed variously between 5’11”- 6’1″, but when I first watched his tape, my eyes thought more of that Walter Thurmond 5’11” size. JMU lists him at 6’0″/195 lbs.

Regardless of size, Reynolds can play. In 2015, Taylor finished with 16 PBU, 3 INT, 4.5 TFL, 46 tackles, and 2 FF. He has a bit of Peanut Tillman to him too, with 5 FF over the last two years.

Reynolds was part of the 2015 CAA All-Conference Academic team. His intelligence definitely shows up in his tape. Multiple great reads in the one full-game edit I watched, and then more in his 2015 highlight reel. Draftscout has him ranked at a lowly UDFA #383 overall.

College football 2016 opens in full this Thursday with a 16-game slate. Come back to the SeaMock throughout the year for new Gems, new tape, and tons of other new content.

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