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Who The Hell Will They Draft? Northwestern DE/DT Corey Wootton

With Raheem Brock gone there's a vacancy on the DL. Corey Wootton is one of the prospects who could step into Brock's role. Wootton is a 6'6" 270lb lineman who played both DE and DT at Northwestern. His junior year he was on pace to be a early 1st round pick after 10 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss in the regular season. A torn ACL in his bowl game squashed his early entry plans. In 2009 he seemed to lack the explosiveness that made his so dangerous. ACL recovery is a lengthy process so Wootton may return to his 2008 form with whoever drafts him, but the risk is that he's never getting back the explosiveness that led to his 10 sack season. Without it he's just a run D end, and maybe to lanky to be a great one.

Wootton's great length makes him a significant factor against the pass even when he doesn't get to the QB. He picked off 4 passes broke up another 8 in his career at Northwestern. If Wootton's knee nears his 2008 form he'll be a force against the pass with his size and burst, in addition to being strong against the run at DE. Wootton could be an upgrade in the Raheem Brock role, at worst he's a younger, faster Josh Thomas.

Mocking the Draft

Is a very good power rusher with a short-area burst to close in a flash. Was used at times on the inside as a three-technique pass rusher. Is good on "X" stunts. A lack of elite speed keeps him from getting around the edge.......Wootton is a strong pursuer but doesn't have very good speed. He's more of an effort player in this area. Does a nice job of continuing work through double teams.......Had much better explosion in 2008 before tearing his ACL. Didn't look quite as electric in 2009. Makes a good initial quick-jab move, but will struggle redirecting.....Very strong at the point of attack, which helps him shed blocks and get after the ball carrier. Could easily hold his own as a five-technique defensive end. Doesn't have the best lateral agility to stop shiftier outside runners....... As a senior, Wootton worked to build up his strength and it showed. He's very powerful and can collapse the pocket. Is very hard to move around...... Does a nice job extending his arms to get a bull rush. This keeps blockers from getting inside leverage. Will have to do a better job of keeping his pads low. Footwork is very good.

NFL Draft Scout

Uses his 6-7 frame, long arms and good quickness to blow by collegiate right tackles on the outside. Can be violent with his hands to get the corner. Some suddenness on shake move to use an inside rush lane. If his man doesn't sustain, Wootton works his way back into the pocket to harass the quarterback. Lines up at tackle in third-down situations to use his quickness against interior linemen. Drops into zone coverage occasionally, and looks smooth moving down the line to cover tight ends in the flat. Athletic enough to have made four picks in his career. Uses his height to affect passing lanes when unable to reach the quarterback.....Looks and plays a bit undersized, even at 265-270 pounds, because of height. Stays home to prevent against big misdirection plays, and keeps outside leverage to funnel backs inside to the linebackers. High cut, as you would expect at 6-7, and doesn't sink his hips for smooth lateral movement. However, he has the length and speed to chase down receivers and backs from behind if needed. Must use his hands more effectively to keep backs from cutting him - but manages to recover fairly quickly.......Very quick off the snap for his size, partially because his long steps make up ground quickly. Could be a penetrating disruptor as a pass rusher in a 3-4 scheme because of his initial quickness. Doesn't show enough pop, however, to knock back NFL-caliber tackles on bull rushes or against the run.........Plays tall on the edge, but seems to keep leverage on run plays when lined straight-up. Only has average upper- and lower-body strength......Pocket passers have no chance when he's coming after them, but he will miss elusive runners because he glances off their shoulder pads.

Wootton is big and has a great amount of power for the defensive end spot. He excels in run defense using his long arms and toughness to disengage from blockers and make plays. Shows good instincts and intelligence when diagnosing at the line of scrimmage. Had some impressive previous production earlier in career....... Wootton only possesses average athleticism and isn't comfortable playing in space. Doesn't show the range to make plays away from him in the running game or the edge quickness to consistently get to the quarterback. Has some durability concerns (previous season ending neck injury, major knee injury).

Wootton would be perfect fit to drop into the Raheem Brock role, playing on the ends against the run and penetrating from the 3-tech in passing situations. He would more than justify a late 1st round pick if he returned to 2008 form, and his abilities as a run D end means he's very likely to contribute even if he doesn't return to form as a rusher. Still ends that don't edge rush well and aren't a stud run defender for a 3-4 in the Tyson Jackson mold, don't go in the 1st round. Wootton is near the very back of guys I'd want in the first round, but would be a fantastic pick in the 2nd round. He has the potential to be an every down left end, and a floor of being a useful, but unspectacular situational end.