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Mat'hir Uth Gan
10-26-2005, 07:53 PM
If Demarcus Ware (Cowboys) and Shawne Merriman (Chargers) count as outside linebackers, the position both rookies currently play in the NFL, the 2005 draft did not see a defensive lineman come off the board in the first 15 selections.

Florida State DT Travis Johnson (Texans) was the first, at pick No. 16, and only five other defensive linemen followed him in the the first round. While the 2006 defensive line class does not compare to the record-setting group in 2003 (11 first-round picks), it has potential to be a much more fruitful class than last year's, with as many as nine players hoping to be selected in the first round.

As far as the seniors are concerned, Boston College DE Mathias Kiwanuka remains the premier defensive line prospect. Kiwanuka has been a bit overwhelmed versus constant double-team attention this season and also has been battling through a lingering MCL sprain (knee) that stemmed from a chop-block he took against Virginia. However, Kiwanuka's past productivity and exceptional combination of size, speed and athletic ability give him the edge over the rest of the competition.

After Kiwanuka at the DE position, Florida State's Kamerion Wimbley, Penn State's Tamba Hali and Louisville's Elvis Dumervil are all potential first-round selections. Wimbley has always had the explosive athletic ability to emerge as a top pick, but it took until his senior season for him to put it all together. With seven sacks in as many games, Wimbley is soaring up the draft board.



Mathias Kiwanuka is still drawing plenty of attention.Hali lacks the size and speed of Kiwanuka and Wimbley but plays with a non-stop motor and great instincts, quickness and power. To this point, no player in the 2006 draft has improved his stock as much as Dumervil. With 19 sacks and eight forced fumbles in seven games, Dumervil is chasing NCAA records in both categories and is drawing comparisons to Dwight Freeney (Colts) from NFL personnel officials along the way.

The senior defensive tackle class does not have the elite prospects that the DE group boasts, but there could be more DTs taken by the end of Round 1. As it stands right now, Texas' Rodrique Wright, LSU's Claude Wroten, Michigan's Gabe Watson and Tennessee's Jesse Mahelona are all being considered in the bottom-half of the first round or early in the second round. Wright has always had the most talent in this class, but his inconsistent effort has frustrated his college coaches and NFL scouts.

Wright's nickname tells the entire story. His teammates dubbed him "Chip," because he is notorious for "cashing in his chips" early during offseason workouts. Watson is something of a similar prospect, as his massive frame gives him great upside to play a two-gap NT role in the NFL, but his stamina and consistency are so poor that head coach Lloyd Carr even benched the senior earlier this season.

Wroten does not possess the same natural tools as Wright or Watson, but his motor, technique, instincts and explosive initial power and quickness make him the best one-gap DT prospect in this class. Mahelona shares similar skills with Wroten, but the Hawaii native and former JUCO-transfer is not nearly as polished.

The junior class is not as strong along the defensive line as it is at most other positions, but N.C. State DE Mario Williams, Oregon DT Haloti Ngata and Purdue DE Ray Edwards will all warrant first-round consideration should they elect to depart following this season.

Williams is the best prospect of the three and could emerge as the top defensive linemen on the board in 2006. He has not been as productive this season as he was in 2004 (57 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and six sacks), but much of that can be attributed to the massive amount of attention he has received from opposing offenses. Williams has a rare combination of size (6-6, 285) and athletic ability and projects as a play-making traditional defensive end in an NFL 4-3 scheme.

Ngata is unpolished and can be inconsistent, but his massive size (6-4, 340) and explosive power give him great value as a two-gap DT and/or NT in the NFL. Edwards, like Williams, has struggled to match his 2004 production (eight sacks) with so much attention being placed on him this season, but the 6-5, 270-pound rush-end has an outstanding blend of size-potential, speed and athletic ability.

Finally, a few other underclassmen to keep an eye out for include Michigan DE/OLB LaMarr Woodley, Miami DT Baraka Atkins, Georgia DE Quentin Moses, and Oklahoma DT Larry Birdine.

OhNoKoolAid
10-26-2005, 08:55 PM
Well, I can't find a single thing to disagree with in this. I think this is an excellent summary of the class thus far, one I hope we tap into.

One note, I get zero Louisville games in my region, but did see the Kentucky game and was fairly impressed with Dumervil, but Freeney is extremely high praise, as Dwight could easily be the defensive MVP this year. Does Dumervil have THAT type of explosiveness? Louisville will be a team I'll try to catch more of. I've seen Brohm play twice (at least watching for him) and Dumervil once (from the time I was aware of him.)

rcsodak
10-26-2005, 09:45 PM
Finally, a few other underclassmen to keep an eye out for include Michigan DE/OLB LaMarr Woodley, Miami DT Baraka Atkins, Georgia DE Quentin Moses, and Oklahoma DT Larry Birdine.

Being a Sooner homer, I can tell you that Birdine has been out for the year, and most likely will be back next year.
And I would think that with his speed, he'll be someone to look for in 2007+.....

Interesting that your reference wouldn't have known that..... :confused:

Mat'hir Uth Gan
10-26-2005, 10:25 PM
Well, I can't find a single thing to disagree with in this. I think this is an excellent summary of the class thus far, one I hope we tap into.

One note, I get zero Louisville games in my region, but did see the Kentucky game and was fairly impressed with Dumervil, but Freeney is extremely high praise, as Dwight could easily be the defensive MVP this year. Does Dumervil have THAT type of explosiveness? Louisville will be a team I'll try to catch more of. I've seen Brohm play twice (at least watching for him) and Dumervil once (from the time I was aware of him.)

He's going to be an OLB in a 3-4 in the NFL in my estimation. The combine statistics will really solidify where he plays.

Mat'hir Uth Gan
10-26-2005, 10:25 PM
Being a Sooner homer, I can tell you that Birdine has been out for the year, and most likely will be back next year.
And I would think that with his speed, he'll be someone to look for in 2007+.....

Interesting that your reference wouldn't have known that..... :confused:

No idea about him or his injury. Perhaps, he may come out early and be taken on potential? I have no clue who he is.

rcsodak
10-26-2005, 11:26 PM
No idea about him or his injury. Perhaps, he may come out early and be taken on potential? I have no clue who he is.
Larry Birdine.........


Defensive End - DE

Height: 6-4 Weight: 258

Junior

Previous Affiliations
Eisenhower HS


Lawton, Okla.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Year G-GS UT AT Total Loss Sacks INT FC FR PBU
2003 14-1 15 9 24 8-27 4-22 1-34 1 0-0 0
2004 13-0 29 11 40 11-47 7-34 0-0 2 1-0 4
2005 0-0 - - - 0-0 0-0 0-0 - 0-0 -
Total 27-1 44 20 64 19-74 11-56 1-34 3 1-0 4

In 2004 - Reserve defensive end who played extensively in a three-man rotation ... second on the team with 11 tackles for loss ... dominant at Baylor with a season-high six tackles along with three for loss and one fumble forced ... also had three sacks and a forced fumble at Texas A&M.

In 2003 - Strong pass rusher who was in the rotation throughout his first season of eligibility ... played in all 14 games and started at Colorado ... four sacks were spread over four games ... forced a fumble against Baylor ... season-high five tackles against UCLA, including three tackles for loss.

In 2002 - Redshirted.

In High School - Consensus All-State ... No. 25 defensive end in nation by Rivals.com, No. 25 defensive lineman by SuperPrep ... had 81 tackles, 14 tackles for loss (-57) and four sacks as a senior ... three fumble recoveries, one he returned for a touchdown, and one blocked punt ... career totals were 147 tackles, eight sacks and 24 tackles for loss (-124) ... led team to 7-3 record and the 6A playoffs ... coach was Bill Whiteley.

The Wrapup - Runs a 4.7 in the 40 yard dash ... bench presses 320 pounds, squats 400 pounds ... half-brother Jason Gildon plays for Jacksonville Jaguars ... son of Suerena Birdine ... born: Oct. 6, 1983 ... majoring in university studies.

OhNoKoolAid
10-27-2005, 09:48 AM
Being a Sooner homer, I can tell you that Birdine has been out for the year, and most likely will be back next year.
And I would think that with his speed, he'll be someone to look for in 2007+.....

Interesting that your reference wouldn't have known that..... :confused:

One thing you can nver gauge is a player's potential desire to make an impact at the next level, or his like/dislike for the college atmosphere. I think more and more, we are seeing players enter the draft under a a belief that just given a chance they can make an impact, aided by an "inflation of self." You know as well as I do that considering Birdine a "humble" person would be a stretch, considering his actions in the media. Also, a second injury would cripple any chances a player has at receiving a solid rookie contract, so if Birdine truely believes he can be a force in the NFL (I do think he believes that) then he may be impatient with the college system and dives in looking for his chance to make a showing for himself. Despite the injury, if he performs well at the scouting combine and runs what I think he can run, he'd still be a first day selection.

I'm not saying he's leaving, but injuries to underclassmen mean much less today than any previous time. Birdine has shown he is an effective pass rusher, something highly coveted in today's game.

Momentum
10-27-2005, 01:12 PM
Before the chopblock, I saw Kiwi get dominated one-on-one by Brad Butler.... D'Brickishaw's backup. I know somebody else saw it too.

Mat'hir Uth Gan
10-27-2005, 01:55 PM
Before the chopblock, I saw Kiwi get dominated one-on-one by Brad Butler.... D'Brickishaw's backup. I know somebody else saw it too.

Yes, but there are 3 other seasons worth of games to pull from. Everyone has a bad day.

MileHighSpirit
10-27-2005, 01:58 PM
Before the chopblock, I saw Kiwi get dominated one-on-one by Brad Butler.... D'Brickishaw's backup. I know somebody else saw it too.

It is true that he wasn't exactly dominating, but just look at Kiwi the same way you would look at Mario Williams. If you can find a player as tall, big, strong, and fast as Kiwi (or Williams) take him and let him grow in his ability. It isn't like he is unproductive or has a bad attitude. In fact it is the complete opposite.

I hope a lot of NFL teams look at Kiwi the same way. That gives Denver a better shot at getting him or Williams.

db32
10-31-2005, 08:31 AM
Jesse Mahelona shares similar skills with Wroten, but the Hawaii native and former JUCO-transfer is not nearly as polished.

I've been outspoken and critical about these so called "gurus" and here's more fuel to add to the fire. Mahelona's the best athlete of the group I've seen to date. These guys want big fat guys and play to the stereotype. I have a big problem with that. Do you want sacks, or congestion at the L.O.S.? You're gonna' get one or the other (unless that type of player is there and you have a top 3 pick). I'll take the sacks, thusly I'll take the better athlete. A lot of people are quick to try to make people forget that the interior lineman who get sacks in the last handful of years are guys like John Randle, Rod Coleman, Kevin Williams, Trevor Pryce, Warren Sapp. All of those guys are far more effective at less than 300 pounds. Especially Randle and Coleman. Athletes inside are what hit the quarterback. Tampa Bay hasn't had one like that in...Since before Tony Dungy (longer than I can think of) and they stop the run just fine, but when Miami was two gapin', how many sacks (more importantly, how much pressure) did they get from run stopper Tim Bowens? Sure, they had Jason Taylor, but last I checked Dwight Freeney was still in Indianapolis and I hate the conservative nature of a two gap (balanced front) defense, lest you want a return of Ray Rhodes.


Haloti Ngata is unpolished and can be inconsistent, but his massive size (6-4, 340) and explosive power give him great value as a two-gap DT and/or NT in the NFL.

Just what I was talin' about. Because he's so big, these guys want to talk about how he can dominate in a small area, but he's much more than that. I didn't see a mention about how he can contribute with his pass rush-and he can. He can clear his feet well, shed easily and pursue the ball carrier-that's a given, but when it comes to rushin' the passer that athleticism doesn't have to get wasted. Let play upfield, get off the blockers hip and close-or play into a gap, redirect himself and play across the face of the blocker-or play into a gap, if the blocker is able to mirror and slide, get into his body, shock him, shed and close. Either way, he'll play into the backfield and be able to create pressure. This isn't just a fat guy who can congest.