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  #1  
Old 12-13-2012, 09:47 AM
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Default Pass Rushers

I consider pass rusher (OLB) to be one of our four biggest needs heading into this offseason. Of the five currently on the roster, Barnes and Phillips are due to be free agents. Even if retained, the position still needs to be addressed- Barnes is having his least effective season as a Chargers and Phillips' age is catching up with him. Ingram looks promising for the future, but can only man one of the two starting positions. Johnson is a solid veteran, but excels at setting the edge rather than rushing the passer. English shouldn't be relied on as anything more than the 4th or 5th guy on the depth chart.

So with all that said, I would like to see the position addressed in one of the first two rounds in April. Here are the candidates ranked as I view them. Note- I'm leaving out Jarvis Jones as his neck condition (if it is as advertised) makes him a no-no for me in the 1st round:
  • Bjoern Werner, Florida State: Many scouting reports out there list Werner as a 4-3 only player, but they're out of date. Werner slimmed down from 270 to 255 this season and at 6'4" has proven a likely candidate for transition to rush linebacker. His first step is as good or better than anyone in the country, his hand work is above average, and his ability to turn the corner is among the best. I think his combination of burst, power, and instincts should make him the most coveted option this offseason and there are only about three prospects in the entire draft I would take over him in the first round.
  • Damontre Moore, Texas AM: At 6'4" 250 Moore moved from rush linebacker to defensive end in 2012. His previous time playing OLB (and doing so quite well) makes him a good candidate to switch back as a pro. I find him well above average (though not the best in-class) in several categories: first step, felxibility, hand usage, ability to close, etc. However there are a couple of areas where I think he beats out all competition: motor and repetoire. Moore's success is predicated on his all out effort and ability to get to the QB in multiple ways as much as it is on his athleticism. As such, I think he's the most pro ready in this class. He's another one I'd be happy with in the 1st depending on who was available.
  • Barkevious Mingo, LSU: Mingo definitely entered the season as the most hyped pass rusher in the country. And while he has disappointed in the box score, the 6'4" 240 lb defensive end has still shown all of the ability for which scouts praise him. Mingo is among the fastest guys in the country off the snap, has suprising power for being lighter than ideal, and (what I find truly special) is exceedingly flexibile and fluid. He can bend the edge better than any prospect in this class. There are a few theories as to why he hasn't been productive. Some think he's being used incorrectly, lining up too far inside so he's not able to take proper advantage of his speed. Others would argue that his lack of a repetoire make him too predictable. Perhaps it's just bum luck (like Clay Matthews in 2011). That last idea is supported by the 12 QB hurries he's tallied this season, despite only having 4 sacks. If by chance half of those hurries had turned into sacks, his production wouldn't even be in question. Mingo would be well worth the risk in the first round, especially if we end up winning more games and picking closer to the middle.
  • Ezekiel Ansah, BYU: People love to compare prospects to Jason Pierre-Paul, and in Ansah we finally have a guy who fits the bill. Like JPP, Ansah is a raw, athletic defensive end from a smaller program who could explode on the next level. He's listed at 6'5" 270, but watching him leaves little doubt as to his ability to transition to lineback (BYU already has him playing standing up on occasion). His progress over a relatively small amount of time playing the game has been extraordinary, and as such he would be a worthy investment in the first round. I love him combination of athleticism and power, and only his inexperience and lack of top-shelf competition keep him from being listed higher here. Best case scenario, we have another Merriman on our hands- a guy that can beat tackles with speed or power on any given play. Rare.
  • Sam Montgomery, LSU: Like Mingo, Montgomery entered the 2012 season with a lot of fanfare and has delivered somewhat less than what was expected. That said, he still possesses that above average size/athleticism combination that scouts look for (6'5" 260) and has been getting steadily more explosive since coming back from a torn ACL in 2010. The red flags, however, are his reported laziness and lack of commitment that has sometimes landed him in the doghouse with the LSU coaching staff. If those rumors can be substantiated, it would drop his stock significantly for me. He could be a trade down target or someone I end up taking off my board completely.
  • Dion Jordan, Oregon: With Jordan we are getting into the prospects who I consider trade-down targets or 2nd round hopefuls. Jordan's athleticism and well-rounded skill set sets him apart for me. He might be more pro ready than some guys taken ahead of him because of his ability in coverage. But for being pro-ready, he still offers a whole lot of upside. He's been playing a little banged up down the stretch and that has hurt his production, but he was on a tear early this season when completely healthy. My only concern is that at his listed height (6'7") he is way too light and might struggle with leverage in the running game. However I tend to think he's closer to 6'5" than what he's listed at, which would be beneficial. We'll see.
  • Anthony Barr, UCLA: Barr is going to be a mixed bag if he chooses to come out. On the one hand, his natural burst and athleticism is nearly unmatched in this year's group of prospects. On the other, he's very unrefined in his technique, he has limited experience, and he needs to fill out his frame (6'4" 238). His hand work is practically non-existant and his discipline/responsibility in the running game leaves a lot to be desired. For me, he's the perfect high upside candidate for the 2nd if he falls to that point.
  • Alex Okafor, Texas: I have Okafor low on my list not because he's a bad prospect, but because of the type of pass rusher he is. He relies a lot on power to beat tackles and his first step leaves something to be desired for me. As such I think he'd be best served staying at 43DE or playing LOLB in a 3-4 (Ingram's position).
Beyond those listed, Jackson Jeffcoat, Brandon Jenkins, and Cornellius Carradine are all guys who I might use a 2nd round pick on assuming that their recoveries from injury are going well and they declare for the draft.

Last edited by Kemp17; 12-13-2012 at 05:18 PM..
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:24 AM
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Just a few things, but overall good writeup. Still dont agree with the order (having Demontre Moore 2nd...) but here it is.

Dion Jordan has the best motor of any pass rusher in the country, bar none. Where it really shows most, is his ability as a backside run defender. Its insane the amount of backside runs that he takes the right angle and chases down. And to add to Dion Jordan hes definitely at least 6'6" probably 6'7", i've played basketball against him a couple times (for the record if anyone cares, he's REALLY good haha). Guy came to Oregon as a WR, converted to a TE, then moved to D, he's just an incredible athlete, i would be surprised if he gets close to the 4.4 area if he stays at around 245, which i dont expect him to.

The thing i've been most disappointed with watching Demontre is that once he's locked on, there is no hand movement, whatsoever. If he doesn't gain at least some advantage off his burst (which is average to above average), he's going to do nothing, it doesn't look like he's fighting to get by him. The best he ever does from here is try to run around the pocket, which will never work.

Mingo, NOT Werner has the best burst in this class, though it is somewhat close. Mingo has a Von Miller esque burst. I think the reason for the lack of production for him is partially being misused, but i think he's being misused for a reason. Its not like teams are going deep vs. LSU ever. They realize what LSU has on the edge rushing the passer, so you rarely see a team go with 5 and 7 step drops against them. Nearly every play ive been watching, its been a 3 step drop. Mingo is very Cameron Wake like to me, for some reason that comparison keeps sticking out in my head.

Ziggys stock is based entirely off the combine almost, but the feel he has for the game is incredible. He's an incredible athlete, and his hips are surprisingly fluid for a man thats 6'6" 270 (reportedly in the 280-290 range).

Every time i watch him i get less interested as Montgomery in the 34. Hes a good athlete, but he's crazy stiff.

Barr is an interesting case for me. There's some occastions where you watch him and just say WOW sign this kid up. And then the next play he'll be the last person off the ball. He's incredibly inconsistent. He's REAlLY raw, but he's got solid burst, and he's shown that he can beat guys with that, and does covert speed to power every now and then, so i'm interested, but definitely not in the first round.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:50 AM
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Thanks for the additions.

I don't know how to take your opinions on Oregon players. On the one hand, you've watched them a lot more and much more closely. On the other hand, you're a homer . I kid, but that's a good comment on Jordan's motor. And I do hope you're wrong about his height, because I really do think being 6'7" could become detrimental.

I disagree with you on Moore's hand usage. I find it to be among the most developed in the country. Guys like Mingo have been much more susceptible to being locked up.

I don't see how anyone could definitively say who's fast off the ball between Mingo and Werner. I tend to lean towards Werner, but in all fairness it's way too close to be certain. Suffice it to say that they are both in a league all their own in that regard. I do like the Cameron Wake comparison.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:13 PM
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Havent studied the draftva whole lot yet but I do believe (In my opinion of coarse) that this defense is one dynamic pass rusher away from going from a good defense to an elite defense. Whoever makes this pick better get it right!
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kemp17 View Post
Thanks for the additions.

I don't know how to take your opinions on Oregon players. On the one hand, you've watched them a lot more and much more closely. On the other hand, you're a homer . I kid, but that's a good comment on Jordan's motor. And I do hope you're wrong about his height, because I really do think being 6'7" could become detrimental.

I disagree with you on Moore's hand usage. I find it to be among the most developed in the country. Guys like Mingo have been much more susceptible to being locked up.

I don't see how anyone could definitively say who's fast off the ball between Mingo and Werner. I tend to lean towards Werner, but in all fairness it's way too close to be certain. Suffice it to say that they are both in a league all their own in that regard. I do like the Cameron Wake comparison.
Yeah, i think i tend to combine both speed and explosiveness into explosion, and Mingo's speed around the corner is superior, so i tend to think that his explosion.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:29 PM
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Ansah is not just going to be made by the combine. Even on his little film, you see how well he does.

Disagree with all these Barr in the second only. He just moved and he's already getting it done, plus he plays great coverage. Get him up, and combine that with his freakish talents that might surpass Mingo even, and you're looking at a potential gold mine. I'd take him top 20.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:05 PM
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Maybe. I'm just not as convinced as you are that teams are going to totally forgive any and all shortcomings on the basis of his position switch. But it would only take one.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:05 PM
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Don't they line up Jordan to jam the WR at the LOS in the redzone? Or is that someone else.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:05 PM
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Don't they line up Jordan to jam the WR at the LOS in the redzone? Or is that someone else.
That's Jordan.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:53 PM
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I personally can't wait to see their combine numbers. It's really a tough call between plenty of the first round talent. I still like Ansah the best, but as of right now I don't see many reasons why Moore, Werner, or even Mingo wouldn't be effective at the next level.

Really good analysis though, agree with plenty of what was said.

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