I spent the day with the West defensive linemen today to get a good look at this group. There are some players that are being closely watched by scouts. There were several that stood out today so we will focus on those guys in what is their last padded practice. It will most likely be their last chance before gameday to impress the scouts and in some cases executives in attendance. Almost every defensive lineman had a play or two that were positive. Here are the guys that stood out the most to me.
Kansas Defensive Tackle Daniel Wise:
Wise has been the most-watched defensive line prospect in West practices. He has an explosive first step and high motor. He does need to improve his hands and disengaging if he doesn’t win off the rip. He has three technique written all over him. He has drawn a crowd of scouts at the end of practices so he is definitely making an impression with teams. This is usually a good sign for a player to hear his name called as teams will have to compete for him as a priority free agent.
Texas Defensive Tackle Chris Nelson:
Nelson is a powerful wrecking ball of a player. He doesn’t massive size, but he is a compact and stout run defender that is not easily moved. He is able to get a push on offensive linemen and collapse the pocket. Nelson can fight off double teams as he works down the line of scrimmage on runs away from him. He does need to get better at disengaging from blockers. He tends to keep pushing the man where he wants to go instead of pushing, getting off the block and finding the football.
Oregon Edge Justin Hollins:
Hollins is that tweener that has the length you like in a defensive end or Sam Outside backer, but he also has a tall and lean build. Hollins lined up at the SAM backer and rushed from a standup defensive end spot. I loved his speed on the edge as he was able to win multiple times and get to the passer. On one play he had QB Easton Stick dead to rights from the blindside. He was athletic enough to match up in coverage with running backs out of the backfield. He did have some issues setting the edge against the run. 3-4 teams wouldn’t need to do much with him, but 4-3 teams would need him to add a little weight if he is going to play with his hand on the ground.
Angelo State Defensive End Markus Jones:
Jones was able to win on the outside during two-minute drills. He has surprising power when he rushes tackles down the middle. He can get swallowed by tight ends who get square on him when he tries to set the edge. He needs to use his hands better to disengage, but he did impress me with his power and motor.
Texas A&M Defensive Tackle Daylon Mack:
Mack is another strong one technique that can bulldoze his way into the backfield. He wreaks havoc when he is able to fight off blockers with his hands. He also flashed some first step quickness in 1 on 1 drills as well as team scrimmage. He needs to be a little more consistent with his hands. He can push the pocket.