I would like to present a quick-and-dirty run-down of some of the defensive ends and outside linebackers who I think are worth chasing late in the draft. These are all guys who aren't getting a ton of attention but are worth taking a look at for a team like ours with a hole at rush linebacker. This is the first of two planned parts, and will focus on players who I believe will be drafted between rounds 6 and 7.
I'm not a professional or anything (which will become obvious once we get going), just a man with too much time on his hands. In other words, I have culled my information from equal parts game footage and various scouting reports scattered across the internet. It's possible you will draw an entirely different conclusion from the same information and even if you don't, I'm interested in your opinion!
Miles Burris, San Diego State
Projected Round: 5-7
Active, aggressive, excitable. Burris did a back-flip at his Pro Day just to show that he could. This is a guy that doesn't desire to be drafted, he demands it. Spent a ton of time standing up in San Diego State's 3-4 defense. There aren't a lot of guys that actually have tape playing 3-4 OLB in college, but Burris is one of the few. He will have much less of a transition to the pro's because he's already spent years standing up, playing in space, and rushing the QB from the outside.
He makes a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage in this video but he's unblocked or only blocked by a tight end or running back in almost all of them. Still, he's quick off of the snap and I love watching him chasing down plays from behind (like at 2:24). He pursues relentlessly, all over the field. I am hesitant to say more because every player would be a Top 100 prospect if you were to only look at their highlight reel.
At 246lbs. Burris times very well and his 31 reps in the bench press at the Combine are a testament to his desire. It's not all good with Burris as his excitability leads to wreckless play, but he is the poster child for late-round 3-4 OLB prospect.
Adrian Hamilton, Prairie View A&M
Projected Round: 5-7
20.5sacksScouts were impressed by Hamilton's20.5sacks speed rush in the Casino del Sol All-Star Game20.5sacks, describing him as20.5sacks an explosive player who spends a lot of time20.5sacks in the opponent's backfield20.5sacks. There really isn't a whole lot else to add here, except that he totaled 20.5 sacks his Senior year. This is a record in SWAC football, surpassing Robert Mathis' 20 (and we all know how Mathis turned out).
How you fit 20.5 sacks in to 5:11 worth of Youtube video I do not understand but here it is.
My analysis of this film is 20.5 SACKS! Who cares how they happened?!
Tim Fugger, Vanderbilt
Projected Round: 6-7
This is a guy that I didn't hear anyone talking about until his Pro Day. His agent, Joe Flanagan, has a good reason for that. I found this quote from Flanagan before Fugger's Pro Day. “He is not as much of a sleeper in the personnel circles as he is in the public realm,” Flanagan said. “Every club I have talked to that is interested in him is hoping they are the only ones that know a lot about him, but he is really a poorly kept secret. Once he puts his numbers up on Friday I think he’ll open even more eyes. He has a lot to offer.” In other words, the people who get paid to do this knew all about him beforehand while the rest of us had to wait to find out.
His production at Vanderbilt was solid but not outstanding, putting up 18.5 TFL's and 10 sacks over his Junior and Senior seasons, which is why he's on this list. His Senior numbers did, however, put him in the Top 10 in the SEC last year.
I was unable to uncover any worthwhile footage of Fugger by the time of this posting. In fact, I can't seem to find much worthwhile information of any kind on him. All I can really tell you is that a somewhat-productive player with his size and athleticism has a very real shot at converting to a 3-4 OLB. That, and he will sell a lot of jerseys. A draftable kid, he's had 4 visits with NFL teams to this point.
Ryan Davis, Bethune-Cookman
Projected Round: 6-Und
A stand-out at the Battle of Florida, Davis is a small-school pass rusher with nothing but upside. He picked up 12 sacks and 21.5 TFL's to go with 8 forced fumbles his Senior year. He's coachable, plays with a great motor, and supports both the run and pass well. I believe Davis has had a visit with the Cardinals so we know he's on their radar already.
I'm not comfortable really analyzing this being that it's all good plays, no bad. He is a solid-but-not-outstanding athlete who will have to make the jump not only from a lower level of competition (playing in the MEAC) but also from defensive end to outside linebacker. Because of this I'm not convinced Davis will be able to contribute much from the get-go but he does have a lot of untapped potential, making him worth a late pick.
Sammy Brown, Houston
Projected Round: 6-Und
Brown was a very productive JUCO OLB in Houston's 3-4 defense, racking up thirty tackles for loss his Senior year along with 13.5 sacks. In his two years at Houston he accumulated 49.5 total TFL's and 21 sacks. Very productive, I think I said that part already. Additionally, he actually played as an OLB in a 3-4 front which means you can see him standing up on literally every play in his film! As if all that wasn't enough, he has nice measurables, including 33'+ arms! He's a fluid athlete who looks good in space, has experience dropping into coverage, and uses his hands well at the line of scrimmage. What's not to love? Well, watch the film.
Decide for yourself: Brown vs. UCLA and Rice
I see a kid with a terrible playing temperament. Any time the opposing offense gets the ball past the line of scrimmage, Brown shuts it down. No matter how close he is to the ballcarrier at that point, he'll be jogging along at half-speed watching his teammates scramble to make the play. It's like if he can't pad his stat-line, he's not interested.
He is the definition of a finesse player. In four games I remember him being part of a group tackle once -- once! If a teammate is already engaged with the ballcarrier, Sammy will step aside and watch, even if that means conspicuously changing his direction and momentum to avoid assisting in the tackle. Just not physical at all. At times he meekly slaps at the running back rather than drilling the guy into dust.
The bottom line on Brown, for me, is that he's a player I'd definitely like to bring in, but I don't know if I would use a draft pick on him. Despite my complaints, there's a lot in Sammy's "+" column that I can't argue with. I see someone putting him on a practice squad for a year and trying to "fix" him because he just doesn't look like a guy that should have chosen football. However, I think if you are interested in the kid you are going to have to use a late pick on him out of the concern that another team will grab him late.
Approximate median values, as per ProFootballWeekly.com and NFLDraftScout.com.
Arm length is important because the longer your arms are, the easier a time you will have keeping big, NFL-sized offensive linemen away from your body.
40 is a measurement of straight-line speed.
10Y(ard split) is a more important measurement for these players than the 40 as it indicates burst off-the-snap. All of the above score very well.
BP measures upper-body strength, fitness (bench press).
20s is a player's short shuttle; it is a measure of acceleration and hip flexibility. Of note from FootballOutsiders.com, "No elite edge rusher has emerged from any round of the NFL Draft since at least 1999 with a short shuttle slower than 4.42 seconds." I should mention that the quote was taken from before Aldon Smith ran a 4.55 20s!
3Cn is a measurement of a player's agility and quickness.
There you have it, my hidden pass-rushing gems from this year's draft class. If you have anything you'd like to add about these players, please do. Are they guys you like, guys you don't, or do you think I just biffed it entirely on their reports? You probably noticed that Brown was really the only player I went in-depth on -- it's because he's the only one I've really gotten to watch play. The rest are based on word-of-mouth and the same Youtube highlights I offered you guys. If you have better sources of information, that's also something I could use!
Part II will cover the guys that no one has ever heard of, and no one may ever hear from again. I have 8 players to do for that one but, due to their relative anonymity, I have a lot less to say because it's difficult finding much information on them. Still, given the length of Part I, you can see why I split the posts up. If there are any players you think I should look into for that segment or that I missed, make sure and let me know so I can fit them in next time.