As we get set to wrap-up our week of coverage in Mobile, John Congemi steps up to break down some of the defensive stars of the week at the Senior Bowl. Check here for his analysis of the offensive standouts and keep reading to see who he thinks are the best defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs.
Defensive Standouts, by John Congemi:
DL: Two defensive lineman caught my eye the first day of the Senior Bowl and after three days they were still practicing and playing at a high level. Those guys are Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan and Cal’s Cameron Jordan. They are completely different in the way they go about getting their jobs done. Kerrigan is the pure speed rusher up the field on the edge of the offensive line. His technique is awkward and difficult to predict because his body is always moving and ever-changing. Kerrigan’s first step is usually what gives him his advantage. Jordan is a player that can line up at any position along the defensive front and be effective. His strength and confidence in his ability gives him an edge. Jordan uses his terrific blend of size and speed to either overpower or out-maneuver opposing offensive guards or tackles. He is a match-up nightmare if the offensive lineman he lines up against has average athletic ability.
LB: Texas A&M’s Von Miller has excellent range at the outside linebacker position and can close on running backs and quarterbacks in a flash. I believe that’s the difference between Miller and some of the other outstanding linebackers in the Senior Bowl. His size will be helpful (6’3 243 pounds) in setting the edge against the run at the next level and should fit nicely in a 3-4 defensive scheme. The North’s Greg Jones from Michigan State also displays speed and aggressiveness against the run. He looks like he anticipates where the ball carrier wants to run the football and can close a hole nicely. Some have questioned his pass coverage ability, but he was dominant in one on one drills and his specialty is stopping the run.
DB: Two players that looked really good over the last three days were North Carolina’s Da’Norris Searcy and Nebraska’s Eric Hagg. Both of these defensive backs can play multiple positions in the secondary and are displaying that this week. Searcy missed the first three games of his senior season, but came on strong to finish with four interceptions to lead the Tar Heels and finish 15th in the country. He has good speed and the size (6’0 215) to project to the next level. Hagg can play on the edge, but may be better suited on Sundays as a nickel-back to match-up against the slot receiver, tight end or running back out of the backfield. The First Team All-Big 12 selection can also return punts, setting a school record going 95 yards against Texas this past year.
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