Pac-12 Top Defensive Players

By Draft Writer Oscar Hazell  @OscarHazell

Having previously looked at the top offensive players in the Pac-12.  We now break down the top two draft eligible players at each defensive position. As well as looking back at their previous years production, highlighting their strengths and where to look for improvements going forward into the 2013 season.

 

Defensive Tackle

Will Sutton – Arizona State

#90, Senior, Height 6-1, Weight 288lbs

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
41 22 63 23.5 13.0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 3

 

Sutton has fantastic fundamentals as an interior pass rusher, Utilizing great hands to penetrate on top of fantastic strength and leverage. He has also been used at DE, in which his quickness and anticipation to get off the line are more evident. His main area of weakness being in the run game, which shows his lack of overall speed in pursuit and should look for a big improvement in tackling in space, particularly with shoelace tackles which he rarely makes. NFL scouts could possibly be put off by his measurables, however his production and tape should quieten any doubters.

 

Deandre Coleman – Cal

#91, Senior, Height 6-5, Weight 315lbs

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
20 28 48 8.5 3.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

 

Coleman is a finished article when it comes to the run game, having a great pad level along him to utilize great leverage, on top of his anticipation and an initial quickness to beat blockers. Most teams could look at Coleman with his ability to play in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes, this could be a huge asset as many teams utilizing both fronts. Coleman may be asked to pass rush more as Cal move to a 4-3. This could highlight a particular weakness in his game when shedding blocks.

 

Defensive End

Scott Crichton – Oregon State

#95, Junior, Height 6-3, Weight 260lbs

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
23 21 44 17.5 9.0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 1

 

Crichton is a well-rounded prospect who is more than capable in both run and passing game. He may be lacking a little size and speed, but he is truly disruptive with great strength, often highlighted in his bull rushes. Crichton uses impeccable hands in pass rush and can shed blocks with ease. Although lacking in speed, he takes good angles in pursuit and is also effective in clogging running lanes. He may not be a 1st round pick, but he would hold good value on the 2nd day and I would have little issue with him starting as a rookie if not in a rotation.

 

Henry Anderson – Stanford

#91, Senior, Height 6-6, Weight 282lbs

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
27 24 51 13.0 5.5 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 1

 

The first thing that stands out about Anderson is his frame, at 6-6 he has the length to be destructive getting into the back field, This arm length also allows him to easily disengage offensive lineman as play breaks down. He shows good awareness in the run game and has adequate speed in pursuit. Initial burst off the edge is of slight concern but he has enormous strength and a really high motor. Anderson may not be highly touted come the draft, but could be more than productive at the next level.

 

Inside Linebacker

Shayne Skov – Stanford

#11, Senior, Height 6-3, Weight 244lbs

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
43 38 81 9.0 2.5 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

 

Skov will be a very interesting prospect to watch this forthcoming year having shown great explosiveness and agility in his freshman and sophomore year, only to be derailed by an ACL tear. On return, Skov seemingly lost a step, which particularly hurts him in the run game taking angles that he can no longer make to the ball carrier, along with having poor arm tackles at the legs. He still possesses initial bursts when coming off the edge, and the same intelligence when in coverage. Stanford will hope that he regains some of the athleticism he once possessed, If he does see this return then he could well be the 2nd ILB called at Radio City Music Hall.

 

Eric Kendricks – UCLA

#6, Junior, Height 6-0, Weight 228lbs

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
91 58 149 6.0 2.0 1 10 10.0 0 5 3 63 2 2

 

Having almost 150 tackles is no mean feat, let alone from an undersize backer. Kendricks has real speed and is not easily found with his weight in the wrong direction seemingly always making the right first step. He can struggle occasionally with blockers often choosing to run around them, this could alter if he were to improve his core strength and maybe get a little thicker without losing a step.

 

Outside Linebacker

Anthony Barr – UCLA

#11, Senior, Height 6-4, Weight 248lbs

Harry How/Getty Images

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
60 23 83 21.5 13.5 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 4

 

Barr doesn’t really know what he is doing as a linebacker, yet had staggering production in his first year at the position, making him one of the most exciting yet technically raw prospects. Barr has phenomenal speed, as you may expect from a former running back, this speed as well as gazelle like agility proves too much for any offensive lineman. He has all the potential to be effective in coverage with some work on his backpedal transition. He will have a lot of comparisons made with 3rd overall pick Dion Jordan, although Barr is raw he may be closer to an every down defender with his ability to set the edge in the run game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Barr is picked at the same spot as Jordan a year on.

 

Carl Bradford – Arizona State

#52, Junior, Height 6-1, Weight 241lbs

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
58 23 81 20.5 11.5 1 0 0.0 0 5 1 15 0 3

 

Bradford is a strong versatile defender having lined up everywhere but DT on Arizona State’s front 7, although looking his best at OLB. He shows great instincts vs. the run, using violent hands as well as surprising speed and athleticism in space. Bradford looks great when blitzing, although he may get favorable matchups with lineman pulling towards Sutton. He will again be asked to fill many roles on the front 7 which may hurt his draft stock it could come over as a Jack of all trades, master of none.

 

Cornerback

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – Oregon

#14, Junior, Height 5-10, Weight 190lbs

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
44 19 63 0.0 0.0 4 54 13.5 1 20 0 0 0 6

 

Formerly a safety, Ekpre-Olomu makes up for what he lacks in size and speed with incredible athleticism, fluidity and awareness.  He is very astute in coverage and packs a hell of a punch, whilst having a knack of popping the ball out. His only weakness is when attempting to catch a receiver that gets passed, he has a tendency to get a little scrappy and can lead to PI calls. He is also returning from both shoulder and hand injuries. As to whether this will have any implication to his production, we’ll have to wait and see. If he goes on to produce anything like he did last year, he may well be the first corner of the board.

 

Rashaad Reynolds – Oregon State

#16, Senior, Height 5-11, Weight 189lbs

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
54 21 75 1.5 0.0 3 46 15.3 0 16 0 0 0 1

 

Reynolds is a speedy enthusiastic corner who excels in coverage.  He possesses good hands and is a disruptive tackler in the passing game. He will need to bulk up or become more technically proficient when tackling in the running game, but this isn’t for lack of trying. Reynolds strongest suit is his intangibles from captaining on the field to volunteering off of it; He would be an asset to any dressing room.

 

Safety

Sean Parker – Washington

#1, Senior, Height 5-10, Weight 195lbs

Tess Freeman/Emerald

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
54 23 77 3.5 0.0 2 0 0.0 0 6 0 0 0 2

 

The first thing that stands out regarding Parker is how hard he hits particularly when he is face on with the ball carrier, as well as trying to get his hands around the ball during contact. He has good awareness to pick up assignments as the play breaks down and is fairly good at reading the QB particularly in the red zone positioning. Parker possesses fantastic speed and vertical ability, which makes up for his lack in height. Look out for him getting beaten deep when playing in man coverage.

 

Ed Reynolds – Stanford

#29, Senior, Height 6-2, Weight 205lbs

2012 Stats

Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
28 19 47 0.0 0.0 6 301 50.2 3 9 0 0 0 0

 

Reynolds may not flash every snap, but he reads the game well and is consistently found in good positions. The top free safety in the country, being an idea safety net to be partnered up with an aggressive play maker. He had his fair share of picks coming from taking good angles towards the ball and catching them whilst he is in flight, which have led to making good yardage after the pick. He is an average tackler and would be looking for improvement in this area in particular in the run game, again he takes angles but is inconsistent when it comes to contact.