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Broaddus: D-Line Stands Out At Rookie Minicamp
- Defensive Line:
Of all the position groups in this camp, I thought this was the one that showed up the best from a talent standpoint. DeMarcus Lawrence was able to get back in time for the Saturday walk through practices, and he got a full dose of work on Sunday.
Athletically, you saw everything you did on his college film. He showed the ability to get up the field, then redirect when the ball went outside on him. Where he is going to improve the most, in my opinion, is working at his technique with Leon Lett. He can extend and bend, but where he will need the most work is playing with his hands. The quicker that he can free himself, the better shot he has to work his rush.
A defender that can play with technique is Ben Gardner. He doesn’t have the athletic ability or quickness of Lawrence, so you see him come up with creative ways to free himself.
If this front office stole one, it might be Davon Coleman playing the three-technique. This guy is always attacking the blockers. Ken Bishop was solid at the one as well. If I am signing a workout guy out of this group, there is something to this Dartwan Bush from Texas Tech. He lines up at right defensive end and down-after-down, he was in the middle of the action. He plays with solid technique and deserves a shot.
This group was unique in how they arrived at the ball and their ability to make plays. All eyes were on Anthony Hitchens and Will Smith, who I said on “Minicamp Live” will look much better when the pads come on and I still believe that will be the case.
To be honest, I didn’t expect much from Joe Windsor out of Northern Illinois, but there were several snaps where he dropped in coverage, knocking a ball down or knifing through the line to tackle the ball carrier behind the line. There is nothing physically impressive about Windsor but he just kept showing up.
Dontvis Sapp of Tennessee does look good physically and you can see it in the way he plays. This guy plays with a nose for the ball and he has the ability to work his way through the trash to make a play.
- Defensive Backs:
When the defensive coaches put their secondary on the field, they lined up Terrance Mitchell at one corner and workout guy Tyler Patmon at the other. What I learned in watching these two young guys go at it was that despite the talent they we all believed was opposite them at receivers, they didn’t back down from the challenge.
Matter of fact, there were reps where these corners shut them down. I have to say that Mitchell played with far more aggressiveness than he did from what I saw at Oregon. I wasn’t sold on his catch-up speed, but that didn’t appear to be an issue as we went through these practices.
If I was on the scouting staff here, I would push for them to sign Patmon quickly. The kid can play off or press and he does it well.
The best safety of the group, in my view, was Ryan Smith from Auburn. Smith plays with really nice movement and flexibility. He not only lined up at safety, but he played some corner and in the slot as well. The only thing that scared me on tape was his lack of ability to finish the tackle but he is around the ball a bunch.
Marvin Robinson from Ferris State hurt his knee on Friday but his movement skill before that looked improved.