Blogs & Opinion


On the defense

Alex looks at the best defensive players on the market...

Alex Ferguson Posted 11th April 2012 view comments

The NFL Draft is coming, and I've already put out a piece about the best offensive players in the NFL Draft.

Just a quick note: watch out for Alabama's Trent Richardson - a supporter of any of the teams who pick him up should be overjoyed and immediately go for the champagne. If the supporter of any of teams that have got Ryan Tannehill, then they should be upset. (Although if you're Miami, you're simply waiting for Matt Barclay in the 2013 NFL Draft, aren't you?)

Claiborne: The Einstein of any defense?

Claiborne: The Einstein of any defense?

Anyway, there are some supreme playmakers on the other side of the ball - and don't worry, they don't ALL come from college football's best conference, the SEC.

I'm going to help you navigate the best defensive players in the draft, so you can sit and loudly say "I've been saying he's been for years" as soon as a player gets picked.

CORNERBACK

Morris Claiborne (LSU)

Every fan will be hoping for the next Derrelle Revis when they grab a player for the secondary, and Claiborne could potentially be as good. It doesn't matter that Claiborne had a poor Wonderlic test, his on-the-field intelligence and instincts are like Einstein.

Worth noting

Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama) Jenkins, whose own stupidity forced him out of Florida and to North Alabama, is still an incredible cornerback. The worry is his off-the-field issues. As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, this writer is hoping Jenkins drops to the end of the first round! Dre' Kirkpatrick (Alabama) is also worth watching out for.

SAFETY

Mark Barron (Alabama)

Barron was fearsome for the Crimson Tide this year, grabbing 68 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. A part of Nick Saban's NFL-style defence for years, Barron's going to make hay come pro-time.

Worth noting

Harrison Smith (Notre Dame) and Markelle Martin (Oklahoma State) have both been mentioned, but we think Antonio Allen (South Carolina) is also going to be one of the sleeper safeties in the draft.

DEFENSIVE END

Melvin Ingram (South Carolina)

Ingram was a fantastic pass-rusher with the Gamecocks, and his ten sacks have already made him a Top-ten pick. He's young, and his size frightened many in college football. He'll frighten many more during his pro career, too.

Worth noting

Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) and Quinton Coples (North Carolina) are also projected to be first round picks. Don't be stunned if Upshaw gets picked above Ingram, simply because of his outstanding play with the Crimson Tide.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Devon Still (Penn State)

Still is versatile and was a leader on a Penn State team that really needed one at the end of last season. He rampaged offensive lines throughout his career at Penn State, and has been discussed as a first rounder all the way through the year. Although he's fallen off thanks to the performance of others in the NFL Combine, we still think he's the best DT prospect out there. And he is coached by one of the best defensive co-ordinators in college football, Tom Bradley.

Worth noting

Michael Brockers (LSU), Fletcher Cox (Mississipi State) and Dontari Poe (Memphis) have all been mentioned as big-time prospects. Offensive linesman, unite and take cover.

LINEBACKER

Luke Keuchly (Boston College)

Shone in a Boston College team that never really got off the ground in 2012. Set tackles record for both BC and in his conference, the ACC. Will frighten offenses with his explosiveness.

Worth noting

Dont'a Hightower (Alabama) Another member of this sensational Alabama, National Championship-winning defence. Capable of dominating offenses - his 85 tackles, four sacks, one interception and three passes batted away for the 2011 season would indicate that, wouldn't they? Also look for Vontaze Burflict (Arizona State), who is - on his day - capable of brilliance. Would fit in well with Terrell Suggs at Baltimore.

back to top

Other Blogs:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

Clowney's no joke

US sports expert Alex Ferguson profiles Jadeveon Clowney, the biggest defensive pick of the draft....

Alex Ferguson

King James reigns

Alex Ferguson celebrates a wacky, smile-inducing year in US sport - and salutes Miami's LeBron James....

comments

Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....

comments

Alex Ferguson

A perfect union?

Alex Ferguson looks at the possible unionisation of college football and how he would handle the issue....

Alex Ferguson

Call of the century

Spacemen Portland pick Bowie over Jordan - Alex Ferguson ranks the biggest decisions in US Sport....

comments

Alex Ferguson

Independence aces

Alex Ferguson kicks off his Independence Day fun by picking his 20 best bits of American sport....

comments

Guillem Balague

Making it for Messi

Barca and Real feature but Spain's best side isn't in the Copa del Rey final, says Guillem Balague....

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....

comments

Paul Merson

Still in the frame

Paul Merson says Everton's top-four bid and Man City's title hopes won't be derailed on Wednesday....

Stuart Barnes

Ups and downs

Stuart Barnes says the drama of relegation must be kept in rugby, but the play-offs need changing....

Stuart Barnes

Rising to the top

Stuart Barnes says Toulon look like the team to beat after a mixed Heineken Cup play-off weekend....

Phil Clarke

To Hull and back

Phil Clarke looks at the mental damage done to Hull FC and Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup....

Luke Dorn

Tackling the issue

Luke Dorn on the dangers involved in tackling and praises two legends of Super League....

Phil Clarke

Hero of our game

Phil Clarke pays tribute to Ray Unsworth, who helped change the face of rugby league in the UK....

Rob Lee

Pinky and perky

Rob Lee blogs on his vivid Masters Breakfast attire and the men that made waves at Augusta National....

Paul McGinley

Joy for Jonas?

Jonas Blixt has the short game and heart to win the Masters at Augusta, says Paul McGinley....

0 comments

Barry Cowan

Heavy burden

Great Britain's best Davis Cup since 1986 fails to mask their reliance on Andy Murray, says Barry Cowan....

Barry Cowan

No force without Fab

Britain's Davis Cup quarter-final with Italy rests on the fitness of Fabio Fognini, says Barry Cowan...

Alex Hammond

Going the distance

Marathon entrant Alex Hammond previews the Newbury action and Scottish National meeting at Ayr....

Alex Hammond

Rocky's road

Alex Hammond explains why she is backing Rocky Creek and Lion Na Bearnai at the Grand National....

Andrew Balding

Resting up

Trainer Andrew Balding says On Demand is progressing well - but now needs time to recuperate....

Johnny Nelson

The best of friends

It will be tough but Johnny Nelson expects mates Anthony Crolla and John Murray to serve up a classic....

Glenn McCrory

Manny happy returns

Manny Pacquiao is back to his best and could yet get it on with Floyd Mayweather, says Glenn McCrory....

Johnny Nelson

Delighted for DeGale

James DeGale's Matchroom switch is the perfect move to get him back in the mix, says Johnny Nelson....

View from America

Desperate deals?

Simon Veness reviews a crazy week in the NFL's free agent frenzy, as sides splash out over $1bn....

comments

Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....

comments

Neal Foulds

Simply the best?

Five-time Masters champion Ronnie O'Sullivan may be the best snooker player ever, says Neal Foulds....

comments

Neal Foulds

Four to the fore

Neil Robertson and snooker's other leading lights are pulling clear of the pack, says Neal Foulds....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

The contenders

Kelvin Tatum runs through the teams and riders ahead of the 2014 Elite League Speedway season....

Kelvin Tatum

Kelvin's 2013 Review

Kelvin Tatum salutes Poole's hierarchy and Tai Woffinden in his round-up of the speedway season....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Rich re-Ward

Poole, and the dynamic Darcy Ward, will wrap up the Elite League title at Perry Barr, says Kelvin Tatum....

comments

Richard Moore

The final curtain

Richard Moore reflects on Sunday's Closing Ceremony to an unforgettable Olympic Games......

comments

Richard Moore

A lasting golden glow

Richard Moore suggests all the British Olympians should visit schools and talk about their experiences....

comments

Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....

comments

Wayne McCullough

Wonderful Davis

Wayne McCullough watched Antonio Rogerio Nogueria take on Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24. ...

0 comments

Wayne McCullough

Jones shines bright

Wayne McCullough was highly impressed as the talented Jon Jones made short work of Mauricio Rua....

2 comments

Wayne McCullough

A bloody marvel

Wayne McCullough salutes Diego Sanchez as he edges out Martin Kampmann in a UFC humdinger....

0 comments