2012 NFL Draft Picks By Team: Patriots
It has been quite a few years since Syracuse had a legit defensive end prospect, but Chandler Jones is next in line and will look to carry the torch for Dwight Freeney (who is now entering the end of his long and productive career).
Jones has great length and the right size for a natural 4-3 defensive end and in time, could develop into a 3-4 OLB. He could add a little more strength and bulk to his lower body, but he's a well-built guy with no big concerns in his game. Like most college prospects, small tweaks to his game will really help him out. Jones needs to stay low and keep his leverage. This is achieved through a more natural or "springy" knee bend. Needs to better utilize his length, whether it is taking longer, more powerful steps off the line or engaging his long arms into his blocker. He has a huge wingspan and the ability to initiate and engage blockers can be a devastating advantage.
His pass rush is a bit unrefined, but these strategies can be cleaned up through coaching. Blockers can typically push him upright and kill his forward momentum.
Jones doesn't have a great burst, but the blueprint for a good starting pass rusher is there if he continues to work.... [Read More
A redshirt junior, Hightower is in his fourth season at Alabama during what has already been an interesting career. As a freshman, he was as highly-touted as fellow Crimson Tide linebacker Rolando McClain (who was taken eighth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft). Midway through the 2009 campaign, however, Hightower tore the ACL in his left knee and got a medical redshirt. Of course, the redshirt is likely inconsequential since the linebacker will almost certainly bolt for the next level after this year.
Hightower bounced back nicely in 2010, leading the team with 69 tackles and being named to the All-SEC Second Team by both the Associated Press and the coaches. So far this season, on an absolutely dominant Alabama defense, Hightower leads the way with 48 total tackles (six for loss) in addition to one interception and six quarterback hurries.
Hightower has a great combination of size and speed at 6'4'', 260 pounds. He has been clocked as fast as 4.67 in the 40-yard dash, a number he should be able to improve upon at the combine and enhance his draft stock. When he is at 100 percent, there is no denying that Hightower is a first-round talent. He can play rush linebacker in a 3-4 s... [Read More
Fighting Illini defensive back Tavon Wilson was a team captain and all-around reliable player.
Wilson primarily played free safety, but on occasion could line up man-to-man with wide receivers. He has enough speed to play either hip, inside or outside. He likes to get after the ball when it's in the air and will typically look to knock it loose rather than go for the interception. Wilson doesn't shy away from contact and does look to lay down big hits at times. He does well to maintain gap leverage and take good angles. He wraps up well on contact.
Wilson's positional versatility will be helpful to him if drafted. The larger issues is that he doesn't particularly do anything especially well. He's a solid football player with very limited upside or athleticism. He wasn't invited to the combine but did run a solid 4.5 40 yard dash at his pro day.
In all likelihood, Wilson will not be drafted and should receive a shot as an undrafted free agent. With the high priority teams place on pass defense, he could earn his shot somewhere.... [Read More
Bequette is one of the more experienced players in the 2012 NFL Draft class. The Arkansas defensive end redshirted in 2007 then played in all 12 games with 11 starts as a freshman. Bequette started eight games as a sophomore, all 13 as a junior, and so far nine as a junior heading into the Cotton Bowl (a hamstring injury forced him out of a few contests). In 2010 he tallied 8.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. In just nine games of his 2011 campaign Bequette still recorded 8.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and an amazing four forced fumbles.
The Little Rock, AR native has good size at 6'5'' and 271 pounds. He generally runs in the 4.6s of the 40-yard dash and has been clocked as fast as 4.54 from that distance. Bequette is a quick defensive end and he is fundamentally sound at finishing the job when he gets to the quarterback. He is not a naturally elite athlete, however, and he struggles to overpower the best offensive linemen--whom he will face on a consistent basis at the next level. The hamstring injury is not too much of a concern, as Bequette otherwise has almost no injury history throughout his lengthy career as a Razorback. Look for him to go off the board in the third... [Read More
Dennard is a classic example of an aggressive cornerback with good athleticism, but he lacks any elite skills. He's a well-rounded cornerback who will need to improve his tackling; that aside, with some technique coaching he will develop into a solid pro.
Dennard runs really well in man to man coverage and is able to stay on the hip of receivers. In press coverage, he really gets after opponents and can move receivers off their line. When the ball is in the air, he needs to improve his reaction. Sometimes, he flails for the ball rather than taking the extra split-second to locate the ball and therefore make a more effective swipe at it. He doesn't display particularly good hands to secure the pick, nor the ability to leap and catch the ball. Dennard can be caught playing too aggressive and will need to learn to play within himself and know his speed limitations.
His biggest asset may be his competitiveness and focus within the game. His instincts and read/reaction to the receiver are good, but can be beat by quality route runners and double moves. Dennard will need to improve footwork to make cleaner breaks on the ball and make cleaner transitions with his hips.
There are ... [Read More