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Scouting the East West Shrine Game: Defense

NCAA Football: East/West Shrine Game Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports


1—-Daylon Mack, Texas A&M. “Mack Truck” is a compact 6-1, 320, disruptive NT, who blossomed his senior year producing 32 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Does a good job of occupying both the G and the C in the A gap. Day 3.

2—-Chris Nelson, Texas. Very much in the same mold as Mack. 6-1, 315. 39 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss this season. Run stuffer. Not much of a pass rusher, 3.5 career sacks at Texas. Day 3.


1—-Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma St. Coming off 1st Team Big 12 performance, with 55 tackles, 17 TFL and 10 sacks. Quick and powerful off the edge. Was at times dominant in the game. At 6-3, 250, Brailford projects as a 34 OLB and nickel edge rusher. Day 2-3.

2—-Daniel Wise, Kansas. Productive 34 type DE at 6-3, 290. Over past two seasons he’s tallied 87 tsckles, 28 TFL and 10 sacks. Ist Team All Big-12 this season. Drew constant double teams. Day 2-3.

3—-Armon Watts, Arkansas. Burst onto the scene in the SEC this year with a breakout performance. At 6-5, 295 he amassed 49 tackles, 8.5 TFL and 8 sacks. Has the look of a 34 DE who can be an inside or outside rusher in the nickel. Day 3.

Honorable mention:

4—-Mathieu Betts, Canada. Ranked the #1 Canadian prospect for the 2019 CFL draft. At 6-3. 260, Betts is a bull rush and rip move 43 type DE. Had a solid game, but didn’t dazzle. Day 3.


1—-Justin Hollins, Oregon. At 6-5, 242, Hollins is a classic 34 OLB who steadily improved in each of the last three seasons for the Ducks. Named the Defensive MVP of the game with 10 tackles and 2 sacks. Showed he could fight through blocks on the edge and make tackles, plus generate quick QB pressures in the pass rush. Had 64 tackles, 14.5 TFL and 6.5 sacks this past season. Day 2-3.

2—-B.J. Blount, McNeese St. Blount is garnering some strong attention following his stellar 102 tackle, 20 TFL, 11 sack season in the Southland Conference. At 6-1, 220 Blount projects as a 34 WILB or 43 OLB. While he is on the smallish side, he doesn’t play like it. Played well in the game and had some good wrap tackles and an interception—-although he failed to stick with WR Terry Godwin who crossed Blount’s zone and beat him a round the corner for a TD. Blount has the quickness to correct that mistake. Day 3.

3—-Tre Watson, Maryland. 6-2, 236 Big 10 Academic All-American transfer from Illinois, who had a monster 1st Team All Big 10 senior season as the league’s leading tackler with 108—-to go with 3 TFL, 1 sack, 5 interceptions (46 yards and 1 TD), 3 PD and 1 FR. Good size and quickness for what appears to be a 3 down ILB. Day 3.


1—-Montre Hartage, Northwestern. At 6-0, 195, Hartage is a physical playmaker at CB who amassed 172 tackles, 9 interceptions and 26 PD for his career at NW. He had a very good week in practice and in the game he stripped WR Terry Godwin of the football on Godwin’s first catch. His 40 time at the Combine will dictate what round he is drafted. Day 3.

2—-Mazzi Wilkins, South Florida. 6-0, 181 aggressive, quick twitch cover man who plays big and fast. Was a teammate of Deatrich Nichols. Reacts quickly to double moves, although he got flagged on a hold on one double move, where he really didn’t have to. Last 2 years at USF: 79 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 ints. Day 3.

3—-Blace Brown, Troy. 6-0, 184, productive CB (111 tackles, 12 ints. and 16 PD for his career), who had a good week of practice, but struggled some in the game, once giving up a deep sideline pass to Princeton WR Jesper Horsted. Has upside and if he times well, he’ll be a solid Day 3 pick.

4—-Kader Hollman, Toledo. 6-0, 190 cover corner who makes good breaks on the ball. 113 tackles, 2 interceptions and 27 PD (12 this past season) in his career with the Rockets. Day 3 or UCFA.


1—-Lukas Denis, Boston College. The nation’s leader in interceptions (7) in 2017, Denis thrives on anticipating throws. He’s a smallish safety who can tackle in the alley (139 career tackles). More of a FS than SS or nickel CB. Needs to time well to go in the first 4 rounds. Day 3.

2—-Andrew Wingard, Wyoming. 6-0, 214 tackling machine at Wyoming (454 career tackles and 10 interceptions). Forces the run with aplomb. Reacts quickly to the flow. Likely a SS in the NFL, although he makes his presence known in the deep middle. Day 3.

3—-Chris Johnson, North Alabama. At 6-3, 212, Johnson had 88 tackles, 13 PD and 8 interceptions the past two years. He showed very quick reactions and range at FS in the game. Good solid, physical tackler who has a nose for the ball. Day 3.

4—-Adarius Pickett, UCLA. Had a super productive senior year with the Bruins—-124 tackles, 2 interceptions and 4 PD. At 5-11, 198 he’s a little on the smallish side to play SS, but if he can hold his own in coverage, he has a chance, due to his nose for the football. Day 3 or UCFA.

There were the players who caught my eye during the game—-I am sure I missed some.

I think there are 4 potentially good sleepers (Rounds 5-7) here:

DE Armon Watts, Arkansas

LB Tre Watson, Maryland

CB Mazzi Wilkins, South Florida

S Chris Johnson, Northern Alabama