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Hidden Gems: 2020 NFL Draft’s Defensive Juggernauts

Matt Anzio picked out a handful of small schoolers he considers defensive juggernauts that can help and NFL team in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Defensive Juggernaut’s  by Matt Anzio

  • ILB/LB Durrell Nash
  • Saint Augustine University
  • Height: 6’0        
  • Weight : 220 lbs 
  • Hand:  8 ⅞ 
  • Arm: 31 ⅞               
  • Wingspan: 74 ⅜ 
  • Twitter: @durrell_nash 

2019: 

  • Cliff Harris Award Nominee 
  • 2019 FCS Bowl Invite/ Attendee 
  • Don Hansen All  Region 1st Team 
  • CFN Network 2nd Team All American 
  • Boxtorow Honorable Mention All American 
  • CIAA 1st Team All American Linebacker 
  • CIAA Leading Tackler With 92 Tackles Avg 10.2 a Game In Only 9 Games 
  • DC2AA 1st Team All Regional Selection 

           2017 – Eneligible 

  • From 2016 – 2017 Played His Ball  in Juco Redwoods in California. 
  • 106 Tackles, 2 Forced Fumbles L, 2 Sack & 2 Interceptions. 
  • Earned 1st TeamAll- State and 4th In HisConference. 

Report: 

Nash is a player that’s awards speak for themselves, once you get to know him you will understand why he was a finalist for Cliff Harris honorable mention. 

On the attack he is relentless and he gets behind the line using both his burst and power. In coverage he can drop back very well to survey the field taking the right angles, reading the QB’s eyes to put himself in the right position to make a play. Legit tackler that wraps players up drops his weight securing open field tackles.

Intelligent, high character extremely coachable likeable player and person ,on the field and in the locker room.  A backer that most definitely should wind up in an NFL or CFL camp. Coming from a College that had it’s issues on the gridiron, he played hard  despite the situation of a 2- 8 season and a program that was on a downward spiral. It’s not easy to be a Cliff Harris Honorable Mention Finalist among other Awards, on a team that is losing 48- 6 on a regular basis. Nash never let that stop him, from giving 100%,dating back to his Junior College days. He still manged to light up the stat sheet, was heavily awards and attended the College Gridiron Showcase and The FCS Bowl. 

  • LB/ DB – Sam Taylor
  • College: Lyon College 
  • Height: 6’ 0     
  • Weight: 195 lbs 
  • Twitter: @SamueTaylor 

Stats & Awards: 

2018 

  • Started All 10 Games At Linebacker as  a Junior
  • All Conference Honorable Mention 
  • Beat Team Record For Tackles with ( 16) 
  • Beat Single Season Tackle Record with ( 99)     
  • 2nd In Conference In Tackles & Tackles Per Game 
  • 15.5 TFL For 58.3 Yards, 4 Sacks For 39 yds and a PBU 
  • Defensive Player Of The Week 2 Consecutive Weeks In a Row 
  • Bad Boy Mower Athlete Of The Week For Week 2
  • All Conference Honorable Mention 

2019 

  • Started All 10 Games at Linebacker 
  • Lead Team in Tackles  and TFL
  • Beat The  Teams Single Season  Tackle Record with ( 102) 
  • 2nd In Conference In Tackles 
  • 12.5 TFL For 44.8 yards , 2 PBU, 1 INT, 3 FF & 1 FR 
  • 1st Team All Conference 
  •  Bad Boy Mower Athlete Of The Week ( Week 2) 
  • Defensive Player Of The Week  ( Week 1)

Report:

Taylor Closes Like A Scud Missle & Explodes Like One Too. Another player that has hit over the century mark in tackles in a single season. 

A rover type of hybrid linebacker / Safety that can be used in a marriit of ways on a defense or special teams unit.  

Covers a wide range on the outside whether dropping back or patroling the field from sideline to sideline. Surveying the field with outstanding vision , attacking  like a cheetah attacks a gazelle. Hard hitting with dynamic closing speed dropping whoever has the ball with intensity and top notch tackling technique. On blitz packages Taylor gets on the other side of the line both consistently as well as quickly.  Sacking QBs or tackling Running backs deep in their own territory. The type of player that causes turnovers with his ferocious hits. They used him on the attack in many situations but he can also patrol the middle of the defense with excellent play recognition to cover short intermediate.  Like to see what he can do deep a bit more in coverage , still speed and athleticism will not be an issue. Like him as a Rover/ Spear type hybrid or a Strong safety prospect, as many teams are using more defensive backs than linebackers. His transition to a complete safety doesn’t look like a far stretch, has all the needed attributes to suceed in that role. At the same time, If he put on 20 – 25 pounds could be a perfect addition to a linebacker corp.  

  • OLB/ DE Soloman Hunter 
  • Tusculum University
  • Height: 6’ 3
  • Weight:  245 lbs 
  • Twitter: @MrTNDO 

Career:

  • Played Running Back In High School 
  • Started His College Career at  Louisiana Tech At MLB 
  • Transferred to Cisco College  Had 100 Tackles, 13.5 TFL in 9 games 
  •  Transferred To Alabama A & M   had 27 tackles, 3.5 TFL & 1 FR 
  • Finished His Career At Tusculum As A Defensive End  
  • They Did Not Keep Track Of His Stats His Final year. 
  • Started Every Game at Defensive End As A Senior At Tusculum 

Report:

Versatile has done a little bit of everything on the ball field. 

Playing multiple positions in several fronts on both sides of the ball . A  running back throughout his High School career. Was recruited to play inside Linebacker for Louisiana Tech Bulldogs  with several bigger programs interested in his sacking services or tackling ability out of High school. 

A young man that has had his share of hard times and loss, yet still always managed to find away back to the field   with great success. Having to be there for his family in their time of need, as well as losing 1 year eligibility for credits that did not transfer. He never quit  doing what was needed no matter where he was from Louisiana Tech to Tuskulum, he always showed up like a Pro.  

Low stance coming off the edge using his arms leverage to beat offensive tackles to get to  the QB or get pressure. Strength is the highlight of his game, he is not easy to block. Gets off blocks quickly,  with raw power hands quickness and instinctual fortitude. 

Relentless motor that keeps  working hard to improve his game  working with some of the best at 5 star D line academy.  Hunter has 9 minutes of highlights alone and always extremely active on game day. Look forward to watching him fix any weakness developing into diamond.  The value of Diamonds can vary for many reasons from size , shape color to whether it has a story behind it. 

CB/ KR  Marquis Watson 

  • Post University 
  • Height : 6’2        
  • Weight: 180 lbs 
  • Twitter: @ChiefQuiss17 

2019

  • All CSFL 1st Team Selection
  • Tied Record For Most PBU’s  In School History 
  •  39 Tackles, 12 PBU’s & 2 INT’s On The Year 
  • Was Only Scored On Once All Senior Year
  • Had 6 PBU’s Against Army Academy With No Catches 
  • Played CB, KR and Gunner 
  • Runs a 4.4 to 4.5   – Forty Yd Dash 

Report:

Played   a lot of man coverage outside  which is useful, although he could move into Nickel as needed.  My favorite part of his game is his timing and extension to swat the ball to the ground.  Can run stride for stride with some quick pass catchers and has the size length to match up with the bigger wide out’s. 

Gets his head around while not panicking easily or getting grabby and  drawing little yellow flags . Can change direction well take good angles to anticipate the pass play or put himself in position for the pick. Playing man coverage or Zone outside or inside  Watson The Chief shines like a peace pipe in the pitch black woods. 

Technically sound  solid tackler that many teams could use at the next level, not afraid to get in there to take down a big back or offensive weapon. 

Used as a Gunner on the kick return unit on special teams, and has experience returning kicks.  Spotlighting the versatility that he brings to a Pro organization, with the size speed experience to be utilized all over the field. 

High quality,character and football IQ  that just needs an opportunity to play at a pro level. Really enjoyed his film, in the short time of speaking with him it seems very respectful, coachable with a strong work ethic.  As we work to get him into the Yale Proday and in front of scouts, it has been an honor to get to know this young defensive & Special teams beast over the past month or so. 

  • CB/DB  Grant Ibeh
  • Long Island Post 
  • Height : 6’0 ½           
  • Weight : 195 lbs
  • Twitter 
  • Hand:  9 ⅛”
  • Arm: 33 ⅛” 
  • Wingspan: 77 ⅛ 
  • Twitter: @grantibeh 

2018- 2019 

  • Played 2 seasons as a Cornerback
  • Tallied 85 tackles, 4 TFL, 15 PBU’s with 2 TD’s.
  • Best games against Ball state, South Dakota & Fordham
  •  Attended  the Dream Bowl

Report:

Grant Looked Dynamic Both In Zone and Man Coverages.

Perfect for a Zone coverage defense because of his ability to read and react in a heartbeat. In man coverage can stick to wideouts like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth.  What stands out is his closing speed, his ability to change direction and his explosive speed from the jump. His 10 yard split should be something to pay close attention too. Tough no nonsense player that  has good measurements, timing and a knack for getting his mits on the ball. Ibeh is a very natural mover transitions with ease with speed and agility. He is not afraid to get his uniform dirty, tackling like a defensive player with the coverage skills that elite teams salivate over in the secondary. 

His explosive nature, lengthy long 77 plus inch wingspan, ability to play inside, out or on special teams. Those are the attributes that come to mind when I observe his film. A player that has progressed every year and truly believe he can develop even more if given a opportunity.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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