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Breakout Defenders this Year(ESPN)

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  • Breakout Defenders this Year(ESPN)

    NFL
    TIME TO SHINE

    You heard it here first: these four defenders will bust out in '08.

    By K.C. Joyner, The Football Scientist

    Sleepers? Not exactly. More like Leonardo DiCaprio circa What's Eating Gilbert Grape. You immediately spotted greatness, but the rest of the world needed some time to recognize it. Each of these defensive players is 24 or younger, and all are on the cusp of that magical tipping point.

    Getty Images

    ELVIS DUMERVIL
    DE, Broncos

    At 5'11" and 260 pounds, Dumervil doesn't look like much. But his numbers—12.5 sacks in 2007, 8.5 as a rook, in '06—are ginormous. Though he's the only DE in the league under six feet, Dumervil dominates with multiple pass-rush moves and superior technique. Using a speed rush, he picked up four sacks via outside rip moves last year. But what makes the 24-year-old special is his bull rush, which requires equal amounts of power and technique. Dumervil got under the shoulder pads—naturally—to beat such behemoth's as Cornell Green (6'6", 315) and Jeff Backus (6'5", 305) for sacks last season.


    Icon SMI

    TANARD JACKSON
    S, Buccaneers

    Big hits aside (see pic; sorry, Dallas Clark), the second-year pro is ready to blow up because of his coverage skills. Prior to Jackson, D-coordinator Monte Kiffin had used seven different starters at the coverage safety position since 1996. But if Jackson's 2007 deep-assist metrics are any indication, Kiffin can stop tinkering. Deep-assist plays are when the coverage safety helps a corner over the top, usually 20 to 30 yards downfield. Jackson made 12 deep-assist plays—breaking up 10 pass attempts—and he finished the season allowing 2.3 YPA, best in the league among coverage safeties.

    AP Images

    FRED BENNETT
    CB, Texans

    To experts who say Dunta Robinson is the best corner in Houston, think again. Bennett is not only better than Robinson, the stats say he was the premier corner in the league last season. The 24-year-old Bennett, a fourth-round pick in 2007, actually had better metrics in his eight starts than any numbers Robinson has posted in his four-year career. Bennett's 4.7 overall YPA led the league among corners with 60-plus attempts, and opposing WRs gained only 67 total yards on the 24 combined medium, deep and bomb passes he faced. With pass-happy teams like the Steelers, Colts and Browns on Houston's sked in 2008, Bennett's name will be on everyone's lips.

    Getty Images

    ERNIE SIMS
    LB, Lions

    It's not his fault the Lions D can't get off the field; Detroit ranked dead last in total plays (1,087) and, subsequently, in total D (377.6 ypg) last year. The 23-year-old Sims led the Lions in tackles his first two seasons. At six feet, 225 pounds, and with 4.5 40 speed, he's a younger version of Bucs LB Derrick Brooks. Sims is as good as it gets on pursuit plays. Detroit opponents gained just 48 yards on 13 stretch/sweep plays with Sims at the point of attack. Left unblocked on 11 of those plays, he was a human vacuum, allowing a mere 24 yards. With second-round pick Jordon Dizon set to play MLB, Sims should face less resistance to the ballcarrier this season. Scary.
    sigpic

  • #2
    AWESOME.

    I love the fact that they point out he was able to use a bull rush as well...
    Thanks, Reid!
    sigpic
    Click on my sig to read JetRazor's and my story. Or PM me with any questions.

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    • #3
      Wait, isn't Joyner normally anti-Broncos? I hope he didn't hurt himself saying something nice about a Denver player.


      As for Dumervil, we all know what he can do rushing the passer. The only question about him is whether or not he can be come a complete defensive end or stay a specialist (even though he started a lot last year).
      "You can't take the sky from me..."
      ------
      "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Javalon View Post
        Wait, isn't Joyner normally anti-Broncos? I hope he didn't hurt himself saying something nice about a Denver player.


        As for Dumervil, we all know what he can do rushing the passer. The only question about him is whether or not he can be come a complete defensive end or stay a specialist (even though he started a lot last year).
        I actually think he'll become a specialist. That's necessarily not a bad thing either.

        Look for Ekuban to play the LDE, and Moss or even Crowder the RDE on running plays.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by B4Bronco6 View Post
          I actually think he'll become a specialist. That's necessarily not a bad thing either.

          Look for Ekuban to play the LDE, and Moss or even Crowder the RDE on running plays.
          You want Moss on running plays over Dummervill? Did I miss something?
          Thanx Blondie79 for the sweet Sig....Love it and I will rock it with pridesigpic

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          • #6
            Originally posted by japfaff View Post
            You want Moss on running plays over Dummervill? Did I miss something?
            At Moss' size he's far more likely to be a complete DE than Elvis is. Dumervil, much as I love the guy, is always going to be somewhat suspect against the run. He's just not big enough.

            So save him for passing downs, which means we keep him fresh and chomping at the bit to get after the QB on every single play he's in there. Keeping him in there for too many plays will see him get worn down and thus become less effective.

            From what we saw of Moss last year he looks like he'll be a decent all-round DE, as long as he can stay healthy.

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            • #7
              Elvis will be great as a pass rush specialist. i really dont think highly of moss and prefer crowder but who knows.... anyway i think we will Se Elvis at RDE as the starter backed by crowder, and ekuban at LDE backed by moss.

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              • #8
                Im still amazed at his 21 sacks in his first two years. Hopefully he can keep that kind of production up and be and nuisance to the qbs out there. Time will tell, but this kid is a special pass rusher.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by B4Bronco6 View Post
                  I actually think he'll become a specialist. That's necessarily not a bad thing either.

                  Look for Ekuban to play the LDE, and Moss or even Crowder the RDE on running plays.
                  I agree. He gets manhandled against the run and we have better personal in the lineup to play against it. Engleberger was our best DE against the run last year and played through injury and Ekuban is great against the run but he never saw the field.

                  Crowder seems better suited to replace Engleberger and Moss seems more suited to rush the passer but could develop into an overall player. Regardless we'll see plenty of rotation on the line and I like our depth this year.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by japfaff View Post
                    You want Moss on running plays over Dummervill? Did I miss something?
                    Well a perfect world would see either Ekuban and Engleberger playing the DE spots on running plays.. but I just don't like that.



                    Coaches have actually raved about the ability that Moss had against the run before his injury happened.

                    I could either see Ekuban and Crowder/Moss for obvious running plays.

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                    • #11
                      I'm more than sure that Elvis can play against the run. He did very well last year considering we had no real DT eating up space or blockers. A DE is to guard the outside and make sure any runs that go between them doesn't. Last season, the other team ran straight up the middle and got huge gains out of them. It was the interior, not the exterior.

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                      • #12
                        Denver's version of the "Mad Stork" ?
                        Those Indians could prove troublesome...General George Armstrong Custer

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Javalon View Post
                          Wait, isn't Joyner normally anti-Broncos? I hope he didn't hurt himself saying something nice about a Denver player.


                          As for Dumervil, we all know what he can do rushing the passer. The only question about him is whether or not he can be come a complete defensive end or stay a specialist (even though he started a lot last year).
                          No, he just a qwack statistician, between his "Metrics" and The Pro Football Prospectus, it's made having common sense a rare treat. His "Metrics", after all, insist that Roddy White is a better receiver than Randy Moss and that Fernando Bryant/Travis Fisher and Will Allen/Michael Lehan are better CB combos than Bailey/Bly or Cromartie/Florance/Jammer. You can't argue with logic like that.

                          As for Dumervil, I still think he should be a pass rush specialist in the mold of KGB but the position is so poor he's the best option. The Broncos need BOTH Moss and Crowder to not be busts so they can quit wasting their time on players like Ekuban and Engelberger.

                          Moss, Crowder and Thomas have got to be the "Break out" players for Denver (Dumervil has already had his break out season, way to go out on a limb, there, ESPN), Shanahan has tried everything with the DL, if he hasn't figured it out with these three, he needs to quit trying and let somebody else figure it out......
                          Last edited by stnzed; 07-19-2008, 09:36 AM.

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                          • #14
                            KC Joyner is an idiot. I'll admit Fred Bennet did good last year, but premier corner in the league? He tries to prove his point through "science and numbers and averages" but he's just dumb. Mind you all, this is the same guy who made an article explaining how Marshall is only good against bad cornerbacks and can't show up against top competition.

                            Sorry, you can not add yourself to your own ignore list.

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                            • #15
                              I read this article this morning... It's a great article lets just hope with a little help from other teammates we will have one of the dominating lines this year and Elvis and Dwayne will both have huge 2008-2009 seasons

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