NFL Draft Prospect Watch (Part 2)

March 21, 2013 | Brett Dickinson

NFL Draft Prospect Watch (Part 2)

After analyzing some middle round options in part one (http://wnst.net/nfl/nfl-draft-prospect-watch-part-i/), this article will examine some players that could be available at the 32nd pick (Round 1).  With Free Agency taking a toll on the Ravens roster, whomever they draft in the first round, the hope would to garnish an instant contributor.

 

D.J Swearinger (S South Carolina)
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 208 lbs.
2012-2013 Stats: 80 Tackles, 2 Interceptions
Draft Projection: Rounds Late 1-2

Swearinger was one of the most dynamic safeties in college the past several years, playing different roles his entire career at South Carolina. He was a three year starter in the SEC and was a team captain of a highly rated defense his senior season. Though undersized at 5’10”, he makes up for his limitations, with his knowledge for the game, leadership and tenacity.

Though he is not a natural ball hawk, Swearinger is a physical safety, which can utilize his skills in coverage and run defense. He is a sure tackler, who could fill holes in the box, proven by his 2013 performance, with five games with at least 9 tackles. His versatility make him an ideal safety in the NFL, with the ability to cover bigger Tight Ends, while still having the strength to become an enforcer on the back end.

After speaking with him (along with Thyrl Nelson), he referred to his 2013 Arkansas game as his best representation of his skill set (13 tackles, Interception, Touchdown). Swearinger noted that in the game, he played several different positions including: Free Safety, Strong Safety, Cornerback and Nickel Corner (Listen to the entire interview at the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault http://bit.ly/ZHkuvG).

Interesting Fact: Swearinger played in every game for South Carolina since enrolling in 2009.
Player Comparison: Ryan Clark (S Pittsburgh Steelers)

 

DJ Fluker (OT Alabama)
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 339 lbs.
Draft Projection: Rounds Late 1-2

Fluker had the luxury of playing along-side one of the greatest offensive lines in college football history, who may have up to 5 first rounds picks when it is all said in done. He played RT for Alabama only out of necessity, as they had Outland Award Winner, Barrett Jones, in 2011 and former No. 1 recruit, Cyrus Koundaijo, in 2012, play LT the past two seasons.

He is massive lineman and mauler in the run game, who could overpower most defensive ends in college. For someone his size, Fluker flashes the great footwork to handle speed rushers if he were to play on the blind side. His size and physicality, coincides with the Ravens mold of offensive lineman that overpower the defense (especially under Andy Moeller and new assistant Juan Castillo).

Fluker recently told Glenn Clark, that playing at Alabama was to his advantage, down to the Strength and Conditioning Coach, physically preparing him to compete in the NFL. He also told Glenn he is up to the challenge to play on the left side of the line, if need be. Fluker is quoted as saying “I want to be the Ray Lewis of my Offensive Line (Listen to the entire interview at the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault http://bit.ly/X4OMfw).

Interesting Facts: Fluker has the longest arms in the draft at 36.3/4 inches.
Player Comparison: Andre Smith (OT Cincinnati Bengals)

 

John Jenkins (DT Georgia)
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 346 lbs.

2012-2013 Stats:50 Tackles, 2 Sacks
Draft Projection: Round 1

John Jenkins was the cornerstone to the Georgia defense, playing five different positions along the line, in a hybrid scheme. He told reporters at the combine, his most comfortable position is at Nose Guard, but could also fill in as a 2 (4-3 DT) or 3 technique (3-4 DE) in the NFL (Listen to the entire interview at the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault http://bit.ly/X4OMfw).

Though his other teammates have received a lot more hype (i.e. Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree), Jenkins was quietly the most important player to the Bulldogs. He is a space filling tackle, which is powerful at the point of attack. He can also penetrate the backfield, even as a pass rusher, to disrupt play timing.

Though he does not wow with stats, he was a two year starter on one of the best defenses in the country. He has excellent footwork and can dominate 2/3 an offensive line interior single-handily.

Interesting Facts: Jenkins said his highest weight total amassed 370 lbs, while playing in the SEC Championship game last year.

Player Comparison: Vince Wilfork (NT New England Patriots)

 

Alec Ogletree (LB Georgia)
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 242 lbs.
2012-2013 Stats: 111 Tackles, 1 Interception
Draft Projection: Rounds 1

Ogletree is more known for his off-field incidents recently, instead of his performance at Georgia last season. He was suspended for the first four games of 2012, due to a violation of team rules. Ogletree then was pulled over for a D.U.I. just before the NFL Combine.

Though he did miss the beginning of the season for the Bulldogs, he was ultra-productive when he finally reached the field (evident in his 111 tackles in just nine games). He has a ton of speed at the Linebacker position, initially playing Safety during his freshman season. Ogletree most impressive play came in the biggest moment, returning a blocked field goal late in the SEC Championship Game versus Alabama.

He told reporters at the Combine, that he has only played the Middle Linebacker position, but could learn to play outside as well (Listen to the entire interview at the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault http://bit.ly/X3pwEd). He fits in several different positions in a base 4-3 defense, but would strictly be an Inside Linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.

Interesting Fact: Ogletree won Georgia’s David Jacobs Award, as a player who, by example, portrays courage, spirit, character and determination.
Player Comparison: Thomas Davis (LB Carolina Panthers)

 

Tavon Austin (WR West Virgina)
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 174 lbs.
2012-2013 Stats: 112 Catches, 1289 Yards (Receiving), 12 Touchdowns (Rushing), 72 Rushes, 769 Yards (Rushing), 3 Touchdowns (Rushing)
Draft Projection: Round 1

Austin’s stats say it all; as an offensive weapons from all over the field. Though he played in a pass happy offense, Austin proved his skill set as a threat in the backfield as well. He may be small in stature, but is strong for his size and can handle the physicality of the NFL.

He was so impressive for the Mountaineers, he garnished Heisman notice for his senior season, especially for his 572 All-Purpose Yards (second most in FBS history) against a highly rated Oklahoma Sooners. Austin is a great return man, with four special team touchdowns in 2012.

Austin had an excellent Combine, running one of the fastest 40 times amongst everyone with a 4.34. He could be an instant impact player, with his ability to affect games in several different aspects.

Interesting Fact: Austin was “two-time Maryland high school player of the year set all kinds of state career and single-season records, a large share of which (34 touchdowns, 2,660 rushing yards — that’s 12.2 yards a carry) as a senior (NFL.com).”
Player Comparison: Percy Harvin (WR Seattle Seahawks)

*All images courtesy of NFL.com*

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