Senior Bowl Review: DefenseTuesday, January 29, 2013
1. Jamar Taylor (5106/192), Boise State - He’s not the biggest name that attend the week’s events, but Taylor is my favorite of the group due to his ability to stick in the hip pocket of the opposition. He tends to dip his head when sealing the edge versus the run, but Taylor’s comfort in both press man and off coverage will be very well received. Most of all, Taylor frequently turns and finds the football to win at the catch point.
2. Robert Alford (5098/186), Southeastern Louisiana - Closing speed with a physical attitude. The combination of coverage skills Alford possesses is a desirable blend of aggression at the line of scrimmage and burst to break on or catch up to the football. A top 64 selection is definitely a possibility.
3. Desmond Trufant (5111/190), Washington - Obviously blessed with NFL bloodlines, Trufant showed excellent technique this week, specifically a limited amount of wasted movement. With the ball in the air in off coverage, Trufant stuck his foot in the ground and closed quickly while consistently getting a hand up to disrupt the catch point. Add on his consistency in man coverage and Trufant backed up his tape.
4. Jordan Poyer (5116/182), Oregon State - Some will question poyer’s long speed, and although that might be warranted, that type of agility isn’t a deal breaker to me. Poyer is very adept in man or zone coverage and always seems to get his hands on the football, whether it be deflections or breakups.
5. B.W. Webb (5102/183), William and Mary - Admittedly, I wasn't overly impressed with Webb heading into the week. I considered him a late third- or early fourth-round selection. I will keep that projection, but he outplayed it during practice. He played a ton of off coverage at William & Mary, but Webb’s quick burst to react to cuts is what allows him to stick with receivers downfield.
6. Will Davis (5113/182), Utah State - It wasn’t a good week of practice for Davis, but his tape says otherwise. The Aggie’s footwork was quite sloppy, slowing or tripping himself when flipping his hips or reacting to breaks in routes. Davis only started for a season and a half and could really help a team at the beginning of the third day, if he lasts that long.
7. Leon McFadden (5096/193), San Diego State - It can be difficult to project corners to the slot, since even the most talented players at the position lose comfort when they aren’t in proximity to the sideline at the snap. I believe McFadden can fit that third corner role in nickel situations since he quickly undercuts passes to disrupt and has active feet to not get tied up in explosive movements.
1. Johnathan Cyprien (6002/209), FIU - I love some Cyprien and others will as the process goes along. Because of his size, he will be characterized as a strong safety, but I think Cyprien can be interchangeable. One play sticks out. With Mike Glennon at quarterback, Cyprien was playing single high coverage. On Glennon’s second read he locked onto the vertical route along the left sideline, Cyprien was on the opposite hash. The safety was already breaking on the route as soon as Glennon started his motion and even had to slow to time the deflection at the catch point correctly. He ended up taking out both the corner and safety with a jarring hit. Cyprien doesn’t understand half speed and is a top three safety in this class.
2. Phillip Thomas (6005/210), Fresno State - Thomas’ biggest issue is finishing tackles. he closes with good speed and angles, but he slows rather than making an aggressive play. He missed so many tackles at Fresno State by trying to dive at ankles, especially against quick cuts, after setting up a wide base and breaking down. It makes me believe he may either lack reaction quickness or is stiff in that department. As a ball hawk, however, few are better.
3. J.J. Wilcox (5113/214), Georgia Southern - Like Cyprien, expect Wilcox to be discussed more throughout the process. The former running back turned receiver is now an interchangeable safety in the back half of the field. He closes with speed while staying balanced to run through contact. My main question is if he can match up in man to man situations.