The Senior Bowl is a great opportunity to see some draft prospects on an even playing field. From 1-on-1 drills to the game itself it’s our first real opportunity to get an unbiased look at some of the draft prospects.
We looked at the offense. So now let’s focus on the defense.
North Team: Alton Robinson (Syracuse)
The north team has some good depth at EDGE and defensive line. Bradley Anne, Zach Baun, amongst others will have my attention. But Syracuse’s Robinson will be getting most of my attention.
Robinson has great size and above-average athleticism. He has a quick first step and long strides allow him to turn the corner. He’s not as bendy as some of the pass rushers in this draft but has enough flexibility to threaten the arc.
He needs to get stronger, but in 1-on-1 drills, I’m excited to see how he looks against the best of the best.
South Team: Darrell Taylor (Tennessee)
This is a very deep edge class which is good news for a team like the Bears who are desperate for more pass rush productivity opposite Khalil Mack.
Taylor might be my favorite second-round edge prospect in this draft. I’ve created a twitter thread about Taylor in the past and I encourage you to check it out for more info on why I am excited to see what he can do at the Senior Bowl.
Consider this the start of the Darrell Taylor to the Bears in round 2 bandwagon. Speed rusher with an explosive first step. He's everything the Bears thought they were getting when they drafted Leonard Floyd. 15 sacks over the last two seasons and counting pic.twitter.com/WXZ4Jq05L1
— Stephen Letizia (@StephenLetizia) November 12, 2019
Taylor is already a big winner as he checked in at 259 pounds, which is much bigger than I expected. If he can keep the explosiveness he showed above at that weight he is going to be hard to pass up for the Bears.
North Team: Francis Bernard (Utah)
I first noticed Bernard when I was watching his teammate Bradley Anae. Bernard was constantly around the ball and making plays all over the field.
He is a good, not great athlete but what allows him to stand out is his instincts. He started his college career as a running back and it shows in his ability to recognize offensive line movements and know exactly where the running lane is going to open up.
He is an older prospect due to some off-field issues forcing him to transfer from BYU and also miss some time. Teams will undoubtedly need to do their homework and he might be off some teams draft boards. He could be a third-day steal if everything checks out.
South Team: Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State)
Davis-Gaither is a completely different type of player than Bernard. While Bernard wins with his instincts, Davis-Gaither wins with his athleticism.
Davis-Gaither is a true sideline-to-sideline defender who can use his explosiveness to avoid blockers and get to the ball carrier. He also shows the ability in coverage you need out of your linebackers in today’s NFL.
He is undersized and still new to the position so he will be a bit of a project. But his athleticism will allow him to shine in drills this week as well as the game.
North Team: Michael Ojemudia (Iowa)
Cornerback is a sneaky huge need for the Bears. Whether or not they cut Prince Amukamara they still need youth at the position.
Iowa’s Ojemudia could be an intriguing option late in the draft. Ojemudia is a big, physical corner at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. He played a variety of different techniques and should be able to help in both man and zone coverage.
It will be interesting to see how he holds up athletically against these wide receivers.
South Team: A.J. Green (Oklahoma State)
Green is similar in stature to Ojemudia but is vastly different in style. Green’s athleticism is what sets him apart and should continue to allow him to shine throughout the week and on game day. Green isn’t as technically sound but has displayed good ball skills with six interceptions and 21 pass breakups in the past three seasons.
Green’s fluid hips and press-man coverage ability will be able to shine in 1-on-1 drills which is part of the reason I am so excited to watch him. While he really needs to refine his technique and has a tendency to get grabby at the top of the route he could still be a good draft pick late.
North Team: Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois)
I was most looking forward to watching Ashtyn Davis from Cal but he has been ruled out medically. However, Chinn is also an intriguing safety option to compliment Eddie Jackson.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had a good season for the Bears but he was too similar to Jackson. This forced Jackson to play more towards the line of scrimmage. With Chinn, they would be able to play Jackson is his most impactful role as a centerfield ball hawk.
Chinn has no problem playing closer to the line of scrimmage at 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds. He is a great run defender but also good in zone as well showing above-average ball skills with 13 interceptions in his career. He needs to get better in man coverage but his athleticism says he should be able to improve.
Chinn is another small school prospect who could shoot up draft boards after a good showing on an even playing field with his counterparts at the position.
South Team: Kyle Dugger (Lenoir Rhyne)
As mentioned previously, the Senior Bowl is a great place for small school prospects to make a name for themselves. Well, there is not a smaller school prospect than Dugger.
Dugger plays at Lenoir-Rhyne in Division II although he might be the highest rated D-II prospect in a long time.
Because of his small school, I have not watched a lot of Dugger besides a few highlights here and there. I’m excited to see what he can do on game day.