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Scouting Notebook: Senior Bowl Edition, Defensive Invitees

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Who are some defenders the Colts should be watching at the Senior Bowl?

Middle Tennessee v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts are coming off of one of their most embarrassing losses of the season, losing 6-0 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The offense couldn’t get anything going despite the Colts defense having one of their strongest performances of the year. Despite the defense coming together in recent weeks, the Colts do need to add more talent and youth to that side of the ball.

The Colts’ secondary has been very up and down this year and the defensive line could stand to add more interior pressure. For more help on the defense, I decided to show some Senior Bowl defenders that may interest Chris Ballard.

To help me again with these breakdowns are my good friends Carter Donnick (Devy Football Factory), A.J Schulte (Dynasty Football Factory), Mark Jarvis (WhatsOnDraftNFL.com), and Gavino Borquez (The Draft Wire). Be sure to follow these guy’s work if you want even more info on all of these players.


1.) Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Delaware v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Carter Donnick’s Analysis

A small school dynamo, Adderley is a 6’0, 200 pound defensive back that uses every bit of his size to pack a punch at all times. One of my favorite film studies of 2019 thus far, Nasir has incredible work ethic, hustle, and intensity, and isn’t afraid to hit the hole in the run game. Navigating through traffic well, he’s also got great read and react ability and instincts. Ultimately, Adderley has the range and upside to be a starting FS, although he wasn’t necessarily asked to play a lot of single high at Delaware. He looks to be a great sub package DB or nickel to start off his career, and is all but guaranteed to make a special teams impact. I worry about his long speed, habit of creeping up in coverage, and some missed tackles, but overall, Adderley is a fun evaluation. Reminds a lot of Rams DB Lamarcus Joyner.

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2.) Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky

Central Michigan v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Gavino Borquez’s Analysis

Good flexibility in his hips to bend and withstand impact around the arc of the pocket. Skilled body control to split gaps and bend around blocks to win inside. Strong hands that connect with the inside chest of tackles to keep his hands clear. Physically overwhelms tackles with a motor that runs hot. Has some movement skills to drop into coverage, at least in the short underneath zone. Can play off the line and even drop into coverage.

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3.) Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston

Arizona v Houston Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

Carter Donnick’s Analysis

An absolute physical freak, Johnson is a 6’4, 203 pound corner who runs a legit sub 4.5. A long and lanky defensive back, Isaiah is a prospect with massive potential, but ultimately remains extremely raw. He struggles big time with fluidity in the hips, and lacks a physical jam at the line. Johnson also doesn’t reroute well vs. man and his overall change of direction skills are supremely limited. Given this, it would be ideal for him to be a depth piece to begin his career before evolving into a boundary zone corner, maximizing his length.

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4.) Marquise Blair, S, Utah

NCAA Football: Utah at UCLA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Hicks’ Analysis

Blair is that dying breed of safety who will hit you in the mouth and make you not want to get up afterwards. With excellent size, length, and the willingness to hit, he’s a guy who could slide right into a box safety role from day one. The Senior Bowl will be important for him though as he needs to show better ability in deep coverage to get anything higher than day three consideration.

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5.) Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame

Notre Dame v USC Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Mark Jarvis’ Analysis

Tranquill stood out immediately when I watched Notre Dame this summer, even moreso than highly touted teammate Te’Von Coney. He has spent time more working as a Mike in 2018, although it doesn’t always allow his coverage acumen to show. He’s the heart of the Irish defense, along with being a reliable tackler who can hold his space down in coverage.

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6.) Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

Michigan State v Penn State Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Carter Donnick’s Analysis

Fantastic size (6’1, 200 pounds) and fluidity, Oruwariye looks every bit the part, and when you add in his playmaking skills and knack for the football, it’s hard to not to get excited about his pro future. Able to play both zone or man on the boundary, Amani can fit the majority of next level schemes and matches up well vs. the majority of wideouts. Has a bad habit of eyeing the QB instead of his coverage. However, those are the types of prices you pay with such a ball hawking type of player. Overall, Oruwariye is very much a risk reward prospect, but remains a solid prospect.

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7.) Oshane Ximines, Edge, Old Dominion

NCAA Football: Old Dominion at North Texas Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Gavino Borquez’s Analysis

Incredibly productive player in the Conference USA throughout his career. 32.5 sacks to help show pass rush prowess and talent. Ximines has a signature pass rush move in a dip, rip, and bend around the edge. Shows good quickness and flexibility to stay clean, both inside and out. If he wins at the snap, he’s very hard to stop. Improved as a run defender by turning tackles sideways. His ability to set the edge helps show solid leverage and play strength.

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8.) Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

Tulsa v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

AJ Schulte’s Analysis

Strengths: Length for days at 6’2. Fluid lower body and loose hips. Elite ball skills and instincts. Shutdown corner, rarely gets targeted. Very good AA.

Weaknesses: Is an aggressive and slightly undisciplined player, leading to penalties in coverage.

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9.) Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Mississippi State v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Zach Hicks’ Analysis

Perhaps my favorite player in this upcoming draft, Abram has all the ability to be a stout safety in the NFL. Abram is a big, physical freak at safety who makes plays all over the field. He is most dominant in the box as he is physical enough to be a great run defender. He will need to show more awareness in coverage in Mobile but overall, Abram is going to make a team happy on day two of the draft.

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10.) Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas

USC v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Mark Jarvis’ Analysis

I hate to use the term physical specimen, but Omenihu checks every box to be under that category. Listed at 6’7” and 280 pounds on their roster, he’s going to have the scouts at the Senior Bowl weigh-in swooning. His pass rush is raw and lacks a plan right now, but he’s a ball of clay that can fit anywhere from pass rushing linebacker to 3-tech. He’s a potential top 50 selection.

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11.) Terrill Hanks, LB, New Mexico State

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Jarvis’ Analysis

Hanks is an off-ball outside linebacker with a mean streak and flashes in his 2017 tape as a cover guy. He has added about 10 pounds as a senior, but may need to lean back out as he transitions to the pro game. He’s a bit too quick to lock horns with linemen, but the tenacity is something coaches will love. He’s likely an early-mid day three target for teams looking into developmental starters.

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12.) Carl Granderson, DL, Wyoming

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Jarvis’ Analysis

Granderson’s production in 2017 is intriguing, but his tape reveals some serious concerns as a prospect. His hands are technical enough, but he doesn’t finish off his rushes into clean victories. Likely a passing down specialist, Granderson may have to continue packing weight on to warrant starter consideration. The Senior Bowl performance will be key in determining if he goes in the top 175 picks.

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13.) Gerald Willis, DL, Miami

NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Gavino Borquez’s Analysis

Strong as an ox with his hands, often beating blockers with a nasty club/swim or rip thru that completely ruins the balance of linemen. Ability to swat hands is easily his biggest strength. Has a major advantage at the three technique. Quickness and burst coming off blocks to finish a play or create pressure is solid. Constant hand activity, high awareness helps him get to the ball. Excellent run defender.

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14.) Chase Winovich, Edge, Michigan

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Gavino Borquez’s Analysis

Impressive athlete whose motor never stops. Speed is excellent, allowing him to stand up on the edge and delay rushes from MLB even on occasion. Crashes quickly from the edge, able to chase down running backs. Maintains outside leverage on run plays to set the edge well. Patient and disciplined against the run. Love his inside hand usage as a pass rusher. Rip/ club and push/ pull are his go-to.

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15.) Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Hicks’ Analysis

Versatile and technically sound are the two biggest adjectives to describe Edwards. Playing multiple positions for Kentucky, Edwards has excelled this year as a deep safety, box safety, slot corner, and pass rusher. Very sound tackler and always finds himself around the ball. Teams may be hesitant about his smaller frame for a safety (6’0” 200 pounds) but Edwards is definitely a guy to watch for the Colts.

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16.) Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

NCAA Football: Virginia at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Hicks’ Analysis

Thornhill is one of the top safeties in this class and should be considered by teams potentially in the first round. A former corner for UVA, Thornhill has excellent movement skills along with some of the best ball skills in this class. A long, lengthy safety with excellent movement skills and ball skills will be highly sought after by NFL teams. Thornhill needs to add to his slighter frame and improve a little bit in run defense to be a first round player.

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17.) Zach Allen, Edge, Boston College

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Boston College Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

A.J Schulte’s Analysis

Technical wonderkid. Pass rushing toolbox is outstanding, favoring a long arm and swim move, but demonstrated plenty of pass rushing ability. Tone-setter on the edge, outstanding on run defense. Weakness comes in lower half, as Allen is stiff on outside and does not demonstrate above-average AA. With no bend as a pass rusher on the outside, Allen’s projection at the next level is murky.

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18.) Chase Hansen, LB, Utah

Utah v BYU Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Zach Hicks’ Analysis

Hansen is a new age linebacker who has successfully made the switch from safety to linebacker in his college career. He has great speed and coverage ability for a linebacker in the box and is one of the hardest hitters in college football. Hansen needs to improve his anticipation from the linebacker spot and work around his smaller size better but he has the makings to be a good sub/ third down backer in the NFL.

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19.) Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State

Boston College v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

A.J Schulte’s Analysis

Outstanding athlete, with range to go sideline to sideline. Former safety background aids his outstanding coverage ability and ball skills. Mental processing has taken a step forward and looks to process the play better. Will project best as off-ball guy who is at his best away from the LOS due to poor functional strength and shedding ability.

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20.) Dontavius Russell, DL, Auburn

Texas A&M v Auburn Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

A.J Schulte’s Analysis

Big hog mollie in the middle. Effective run stopper, but too often struggled to consistently disengage and will need refinement on technique. Not a great athlete, and get off is mostly average. Taken some steps forward as a pass rusher, but largely still a project. Projects best as a run-stopping 3T or 1T at the next level.

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Final Thoughts

Chris Ballard had ten draft picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and used three of them on Senior Bowl players (Darius Leonard, Kemoko Turay, and Tyquan Lewis). Obviously, Ballard will be keeping a close eye on the talented players down there this year as he hopes to shape this team into a Super Bowl contender.

I know the evaluations of each player were a bit brief in this piece but I wanted to get a base description of each guy to you all before the next round of invites are sent out. Maybe in the future some of these guys will be featured more in-depth in Scouting Notebooks. The Senior Bowl is a huge event that Ballard will have his eyes on so I will do my best to continually update you all on all the players heading down there.

Which one of these twenty defensive players above caught your eye the most? Comment down below which player you want to see more of based off of this quick analysis.