Packers Defensive Possibilities in Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2011 NFL Draft
Lawrence Guy, DE, Arizona State, 6′ 5″, 300lbs.
All-Pacific 10 Conference honorable mention…Quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy (top collegiate defender)… Member of the Outland Trophy Watch List (top collegiate lineman)…Started all 12 games and ranked eighth on the team with 41 tackles (14 solos), including 1.5 sacks for minus six yards and six stops for losses totaling 14 yards…Key piece in a front wall that led the Pac-10 and placed 16th nationally, allowing just 119.67 yards per game on the ground…Made 39 plays vs. the ground game, holding ball carriers to just 58 yards (1.49 ypc), as the defender limited those runners to five first downs while producing nine third-down stops and another on fourth-down…Delivered six of those tackles inside the red zone, including four on goal-line plays, as he posted 10 total stops (assists/solos) for loss and six tackles that brought down ball carriers at the line of scrimmage no gain…Made two stops vs. the aerial attack, holding receivers to just six yards on those receptions (3.0 ypc), as he deflected two passes, including one on a fourth-down attempt
Cedric Thornton, DE, So. Arkansas, 6’3″, 301lbs
All-American and All-Gulf South Conference first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report…Listed as the most underrated defensive tackle prospect eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft and the top defensive player in the NCAA Division II ranks, according to that scouting information service…Added more than 30 pounds of muscle to his frame since the end of the 2009 campaign…Ranked third on the team with 54 tackles (28 solos) that included 1.5 sacks for minus 7 yards and thirteen quarterback pressures…Tied for 11th in the Division II ranks with 14.0 stops for losses totaling 195 yards…Made 54 plays vs. the ground game, limiting those runners to 36 yards (0.67 ypc), as he registered 16 total stops for loss (solos/assists), took down ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain nine times, posted 12 of his hits inside the red zone, including six on goal-line plays and made six third-down tackles, with one more on a fourth-down snap vs. opposing rushers…Against the pass, none of the 15 passes targeted into his area were completed, as he delivered seven thirddown stops…Two of his 13 pressures caused interceptions, as one pass theft was returned for a touchdown and another set up a Muleriders’ field goal.
Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado, 6’0″, 204lbs.
The team co-captain earned second-team All-Colorado honors from the state’s chapter of the National Football Foundation…All-Big Twelve Conference honorable mention pick by the league’s coaches…Participated in 799 plays, starting all 12 games at left cornerback…Recorded 46 tackles (28 solos) with two stops for losses of 5 yards and one QB pressure on defense, adding three solo tackles and four points on special teams…Had five pass deflections while leading the Buffs with three interceptions…Also recovered a pair of fumbles.
Davon House, CB, New Mexico State, 6’0″, 200lbs
All-American honorable mention and rated the best defensive back prospect in the Western Athletic Conference by The NFL Draft Report….All-WAC first-team selection… Member of the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List…Started all 12 games at left cornerback and ranked sixth on the team with 57 tackles (29 solos), including 0.5 stops for a one-yard loss…Also caused one fumble… Led a secondary that ranked sixth in the conference and 102nd in the nation in pass defense (246.25 ypg)…Deflected 10 pass attempts, including four on third-down snaps…Intercepted two passes, including one on fourth-down, as he gained 48 yards with one touchdown on returns (24.0 avg)…Placed fourth in the conference and tied for 26th in the country in passes defended (1.00 per game)…Opponents completed 31-of-67 passes (46.27 percent) targeted into his area, as he allowed 358 yards (11.55 yards per completion and 5.34 yards per pass attempt), 18 first downs and one touchdown, as he rerouted/jammed his coverage assignment on 24 incomplete pass attempts, delivering 15 third-down stops and another on a fourth-down snap vs. the aerial attack…Made 25 stops vs. the ground game, limiting runners to 297 yards (11.88 ypc) and 12 first downs, as he made three third-down hits and another on fourth-down and took down one ball carrier at the line of scrimmage for no gain…Delivered three of his hits inside the red zone, including two on goal-line snaps.
Steven Friday, OLB, Virginia Tech, 6’4″, 249lbs
All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team preseason selection and listed as the most underrated defensive prospect in the league by The NFL Draft Report…Took over the left defensive end position as a senior, earning “Most Improved Defensive Player” honors during spring drills…Added over twenty pounds of bulk to his frame during the offseason… Started the team’s first eight games at left defensive end, recording 35 tackles (22 solos) with four sacks for minus 36 yards, 9.5 stops for losses of 61 yards and 19 quarterback pressures…On 35 plays vs. the rushing game, he held ball carriers to minus 21 yards (-0.60 ypc), as he produced ten stops for loss and took down runners at the line of scrimmage for no gain 10 times, in addition to delivering three of his hits on goal-line plays…Just 1-of-27 passes targeted into his area were completed (3.70 percent) for eight yards, as he rerouted passing targets away from seven of those tosses…Friday’s four sacks rank tied for ninth among ACC players and his tackles-for-loss total is tied for 10th among the conference’s leaders.
Cliff Matthews, OLB, South Carolina, 6’4″, 247lbs
Named second-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches…Started all 13 games at defensive end…Recorded 38 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks, during the season…Holds school record for most career starts (46), passing Travelle Wharton’s 45 with a start in the SEC Championship Game…Had a season-high seven tackles in SEC Championship Game vs. Auburn and forced a Cam Newton fumble in the second quarter…Had a sack and forced a fumble vs. Clemson; the sack gave him 14.5 for his career and moved him past Phil Ellis for eighth on the all-time Carolina list…Took restrictive shoulder harness off for Tennessee game and responded with his best game of the season – four tackles, including a season-high 2.0 sacks, and a forced fumble that led to a Gamecock touchdown…2009: Junior defensive end known for his tremendous hustle on every play… one of four captains named prior to the start of the season… named second-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches and an honorable mention selection by the Associated Press… recorded 47 tackles including 35 solo stops… had 10.0 tackles for loss including 7.0 sacks… ranked in the SEC’s top 5 in sacks, led the league with four fumble recoveries and was tied for second with three forced fumbles…2008: Moved to defensive end after spending most of his freshman season at outside linebacker… logged 32 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks…2007: Named to both the SEC Coaches and the Sporting News Freshman All-SEC team as an outside linebacker… also named to the honorable mention freshman All-America squad by the Sporting News… played in all 12 games, making nine starts at outside linebacker…recorded 26 tackles, including 20 solo stops… had a pair of tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry.
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.