NFL Draft Prospect Watch (Part I)

March 04, 2013 | Brett Dickinson

NFL Draft Prospect Watch (Part I)

As the NFL Draft approaches (April 25-27), the Ravens will examining many prospects on their big board.  The important thing is not only to find players that fit the scheme but also where they will be available.  The Draft is about value meeting needs, and here is a look at some of the value players that the Ravens may consider.

Bennie Logan (DT LSU)
Height: 6-3
Weight: 295
2012-13 Stats: 45 Tackles, 2 sacks
Draft Projection: Rounds 2-4

Logan had a somewhat disappointing year at LSU with lower Statistics than expected, playing around a defense full of high draft pick talent. Though they do not tell the whole story of Logan, who can eat up a lot of space.

In the thrashing during the 2011 National Championship Game against Alabama, Logan was one of the few LSU players to have a good game, notching 6.5 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He has the potential to be a force along the defensive line, which could several different roles as a 4-3 DT or 3-4 DE.

After speaking with Thyrl Nelson, Logan said during the NFL Combine, he had a tweaked Hamstring and will improve upon his numbers at his Pro Day. He feels he several different positions along the defensive line, no matter the scheme (Listen to the entire interview at http://bit.ly/12gZMZ9).

Interesting Fact: According to NFL.com, over the past decade, Logan’s number 18 has been awarded by the LSU coaching staff to the player who best represents what it means “to be a Tiger on and off the field.”

Player Comparison: Cory Redding (DL Indianapolis Colts)

 

Kiko Alonso (LB Oregon)
Height: 6-4
Weight: 246
2012-13 Stats: 81 Tackles, 4 Interceptions, 2 Forced Fumbles
Projected Round: 3-5

Alonso was a very productive player for Oregon, when he was on the field. His draft stock has taken a hit for issues off the field. He was suspended for the entire 2010 season for a DUI arrest, while also being suspended 2011 for 1 game due to an arrest. Alonso reportedly, broke into someone’s apartment and passed out due to intoxication.

He played in a hybrid 3-4 scheme, at the MIKE (Middle Linebacker) but also would fit in as a 4-3 SAM (Strong-side Linebacker). If it weren’t for his track record, Alonso could have gone as early as the beginning of the second round.

He told Glenn Clark that playing for Oregon prepared him to enter the NFL, because of the strive for excellence and “they are all about football.” Alonso said he met with the Ravens during the Combine, and it “would be an honor to play for that great defense (Listen to the entire interview at  http://bit.ly/XLDMyb). ”

Interesting Fact: Alonso won the 2011 Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Game against Wisconsin, with 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception.

Player Comparison: Rey Maualuga (LB Cincinnati Bengals)

 

Jamar Taylor (CB Boise State)
Height: 5-11
Weight: 192
2012-13 Stats: 51 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks, 4 Interceptions, 3 Forced Fumbles
Projected Round: 3-4

Taylor was an All Mountain West first teamer in 2012 for Boise State. He is physical corner, who excelled in press coverage in college. Taylor is a versatile defensive back, which can be used in many different situations including: man to man and zone coverages, setting the edge on run plays, and blitzing from the corner.

The major question is Taylor’s closing speed against some of the faster NFL wide outs. Though he may have answered many of his critics, running a 4.39 40 Yard Dash at the NFL combine.

During an interview with Glenn Clark, Taylor said he used to play on “grass, and dirt, and rocks,” growing up. He also said that even though he grew up in laid back San Diego, he has a “get work done” attitude (Listen to the entire interview at http://bit.ly/XLToSb).

Interesting Fact: Jamar Taylor was the strongest cornerback at the NFL Combine, with 22 bench reps at 225.

Player Comparison: Vontae Davis (CB Indianapolis)

 

Nico Johnson (LB Alabama)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 246
2012-13 Stats: 54 Tackles 2 Forced Fumbles
Projected Round: 4-6

Though he only started 5 games his senior year, Johnson still made a major impact for Alabama. His best game was against one of his toughest opponents, LSU, registering 12 tackles. Johnson is a natural 3-4 Inside Linebacker, playing in Nick Saban’s pro style defense.

He was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2009, while being a cornerstone for three National Title Teams. Even though he does not have blazing speed or athleticism, he makes up for it with a “lunch pail” attitude for the game.

Johnson told Thyrl Nelson and Damon Yaffe that playing at Alabama, he still had to push for playing time on such a talented roster. He was considering entering the military, until being offered a scholarship by Nick Saban and emphasizing get a good education (Listen to the entire interview at http://bit.ly/15lct35).

Interesting Fact: Nico Johnson played in every game for Alabama while a member of the Crimson Tide.

Player Comparison: Jameel McClain (LB Baltimore Ravens)

 

Kenny Tate (OLB/S Maryland)
Height: 6-4
Weight: 230
2012-13 Stats: 42 Tackles, 4 Sacks
Projected Round: 5-7

Tate was highly recruited as a top rated Wide Receiver, before converting to defense his freshman year. He spent most of his time at College Park as a Free Safety but switched to the SAM (Strong-side Linebacker) as a senior. His athleticism is evident in his versatility at several different positions, even though he had a knee injury, which forced him to sit out most of the 2011 season.

Tate played admirably his senior year at an unfamiliar position, where he had little experience. Teams will have to decide whether to continue to develop him in the box or utilize athleticism as a Safety. At defensive back, he would be a physical presence whereas at Linebacker, his speed would be an asset but would need to put on more bulk.

He told Glenn Clark, that he is “going in as Safety” and “has cut some weight.” Tate believes it would easier to move down to Linebacker than move backwards into the defensive backfield (Listen to the entire interview at http://bit.ly/13rjgcS).

Interesting Fact: When starting all 13 games in 2010 at Free Safety, Tate led Maryland with 100 tackles, while also having 3.5 Sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles and 3 Interceptions.

Player Comparison: Madieu Williams (S Washington Redskins)

* All Photos Courtesy of NFL.com.*

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