NFL Draft Post-Combine Defensive Risers and Fallers


The underwear Olympics (the NFL Combine) has concluded in Indianapolis and we turn our attention to the defensive side of the football for those of you in IDP leagues. It is especially flashy this year with the custom designed, multi-colored Under Armour sporting attire that everyone is wearing.  As you are reading this, keep in mind the Combine is only a small snapshot in time of each player.  Game play and medical reports are more important than drills and stop watches.  If I don’t mention a particular player, I consider their stock to be close to what it was before the event.

The Risers

Michael Buchanan, DE/OLB Illinois

While the defensive end had thin legs, he showed quick foot and hand coordination.  Buchanan was much better standing up than he was in a three-point stance.  He looked comfortable in the linebacker drills showing off decent hands and ball awareness.  Buchanan’s fantasy value will be very scheme dependent, but I expect he will play DE.

Zaviar Gooden, LB Missouri

The young linebacker is thick and muscular without an ounce of fat on him.  He was very fluid with his hips as you can tell he was a former safety.  Gooden will probably play the WLB position in the NFL as he is not that strong at the point of attack.  I would draft him as an upside LB5 for your dynasty squad.

Corey Lemonier, DE Auburn

I really liked what I saw from him at the Combine.  He was jacked-up with muscles on muscles.  The defensive end demonstrated a lot of explosive quickness.  He seemed to be very intense and displayed raw power and athleticism during the drills. His value will be better as a defensive end than as a linebacker – draft him as an upside DE4.

tyrann_mathieuTyrann Mathieu, S LSU

The former “Honey Badger” had a good Combine.  He looked very instinctive in drills and ran a 4.5 in the 40 yard dash.  Deion Sanders raved about him on the NFLN’s coverage in Indianapolis.  Mathieu has quick hips, tracks the ball well in the air and has good enough hands to cause a few turnovers.  He has even more worth in return yardage leagues as he is dangerous with the ball in his hands.  I’d expect Mathieu to start as a slot corner.  This would be great for his value as you would get his return yardage and some defensive stats as well.  I see him as a strong DB3 in return yardage leagues, but only a DB5 in other formats.

Brandon McGee, CB Miami

The East/West Shrine practice week standout had a better Combine than many draftniks thought he would.  The young cornerback moved well with good speed and agility.  He played with high effort and definitely improved his draft stock with this performance.  I’m not sure he will ever be an NFL starter, but he may be a valuable defensive back on your dynasty team as an upside DB5.

Sharmarko Thomas, S Syracuse

This defensive back looked like a monster out there.  He is very thick and muscular with huge legs.  Watching a little game film, it was obvious he enjoys hitting receivers and backs who get in his way.  His forty yard dash was memorable as he fell down across the finish line, but bounced right back up.  He is very explosive and played like a ball hawk attacking the ball in the air.  Once Thomas had the ball in his hands, looked like a running back trying to run over people.  He has gone from unranked to one of my top ten safeties.

Cornelius Washington, DE/OLB Georgia

This defensive weapon has a huge wingspan and the power to match as he benched 225 pounds 36 times.  He was very quick/agile and showed a lot of explosion attacking every drill in Indianapolis.  I project him as pass rushing OLB.  It might be the Steelers fan in me, but I would like him to be their selection in the fourth or fifth round.

Sylvester Williams, DT North Carolina

The former Tar Heel had a high motor at the Combine.  He was quite fast and agile for a mountain his size.  Williams was going all out on the drills and as a result he had some balance issues.  I don’t have him in my top five DTs yet, but I’m going to back to watch more film on him.

The Fallers

John Jenkins, DT Georgia

Interior defensive linemen should be stout at the point of attack. Jenkins did look powerful; however, he seemed to be carrying a lot of his weight in his mid-section. The defensive tackle moved awkwardly from side to side, as he appeared to be out of breath and jiggled when he moved. Jenkins is now outside my top five DTs.

TJ McDonald, S USC

The safety has decent straight-line speed, but does not have very fluid hips.  He looked very stiff and may only be a run support in the box strong safety at the next level.  For him to have any kind of fantasy role, McDonald will need to go to a linebacker poor team.

Damontre Moore, DE Texas A&M

The defensive end was quite thin, especially in his calves.  He didn’t look strong or explosive.  During the drills, it appeared he injured his hamstring and to top it off, he only bench pressed 225 pounds twelve times the previous day.  I will let someone else select him as I have him outside my top eight defensive ends.

Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia

I know it might be the DUI talking, but I was not overly impressed with the troubled linebacker.  He was already suspended during his college career and then right before the most important time of his professional football career he makes that huge mistake.  In Indianapolis, he came out flat, and also looked awkward and skinny in drills.  I knew he was no thumper, but he did not display much athleticism that was evident on tape.  Hopefully, Ogletree can rebound as he is still in my top five linebackers.

Manti Te’o, LB Notre Dame

I’m sure this one will be controversial, but I was not impressed with the golden domer.  He looked like just a guy with decent quickness and agility.  Te’o is not solidly built to play inside backer.  While he did look better in passing drills, Te’o sill looked like an oversized, yet slow safety.  After seeing him suffer through the Alabama game and “girlfriend gate,” I’m not sure if the NFL will get the same competitor.