NFL Draft Talk Volume XLIV
As the NFL draft draws closer and closer here are some questions that are circulating that pertain to prospects and their draft stock as well as their potential and projected impacts at the next level. Who are some of the mid to late round pass rushers that could end up being steals on day three? The strongest and deepest position group in this year’s draft is at the pass rusher and while top 10 prospects Nick Bosa of Ohio State, Josh Allen of Kentucky, Rashan Gary of Michigan and Montez Sweat of Mississippi State have dominated all of the headlines, there are other edge rushers that can apply a lot of pressure on quarterbacks outside of round one. Here are some prospects that will be doing sack dances on Sundays come fall: • OLB Tre Crawford, UAB: He’s a versatile linebacker that possesses the speed, lateral quickness and athleticism to play inside as well as off the edge. As a pass rusher, he uses a blazing get off, tremendous backside pursuit and an excellent spin move to get around offensive tackles. Crawford played some middle backer for the Dragons in some packages as well and especially excelled when spying the opposing teams’ quarterback whenever they tried to take off or break contain. Even though he played with a cast on his right hand for part of the year he was able to rack up eight sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in his senior season. • DE/OLB Justin Hollins, Oregon: He is extremely lean and athletic at 6-5 and 248 pounds and it shows in the way he plays. His get off is fast that the tackles tasked with blocking him on any given play often don’t have enough time to get out of their stance and into their pass set before he comes crashing in off the edge. Although he played defensive end for the Ducks, Hollins will most likely play as a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. At the combine, he worked out with the linebackers, ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and showed off his agility in on-field drills where he dropped in coverage. He has ideal length and speed to be a threat off the edge, but he could benefit from adding some bulk to his slender frame to compete with the tackles in the NFL that he can’t just run around. Hollins was a three-year starter and put up 14.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and forced five fumbles in his final collegiate season. • OLB Jamal Davis II, Akron: Explosive and disruptive are two words that best describe Davis because he fires off the ball like was shot out of a cannon and practically lived in the backfield of opposing teams during his time with the Zipps. He didn’t put up gaudy sack numbers in college but did rack up 31.5 tackles for loss over the last two years and flashed the potential to become a quality pass rusher at the next level. He keeps outside contain extremely well, doesn’t get too far upfield when rushing the passer and makes great reads on option plays to wrap up the player who actually has the ball for a loss. • DE Jamell Garcia-Williams, UAB: He lined up across from Crawford last season and formed a fierce tandem for the Dragons as they both brought the heat off the edge. As a senior, he totaled 15.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks by using a great burst off the line and a nice repertoire of moves that will serve him well as a pass rusher at the next level. At 6-8 and 255 pounds, he can look most of the offensive tackles that he lines up against right in the eye, but he still shows great bend to dip under and get around them. He struggles to split double teams, so he’d be a good complement to another established edge defender or add quality depth stable of talented pass rushers.