With shrine week underway, here are some defensive players from the east team that should standout and catch your eyes. Also, these draft prospects could potentially get their names called on draft day in a few months and maybe on the team you support.
Ricky Walker – DT – Virginia Tech
2018 Stats: 49 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks
Collegiate Career Stats: 127 total tackles, 30.5 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks
Walker has upside as a playmaker as a run defender and pass rusher. He showcases an explosive first step and has active hands. Not the biggest interior lineman but shows great amount of strength.
Mathieu Betts – DE – Laval
2018 Stats: 9 sacks, 14.5 tackles for a loss
Collegiate Career Stats: 35.5 sacks, first player in history to win the JP Metras Trophy for three consecutive years, designating the best university lineman in the country.
This kid is fun to watch as he dominated the Canadian level of competition with a bevy of rush moves and an elite motor. His production was off the charts in Canada, but eyebrows are raised about how his unusual frame and athleticism will translate to the NFL. Betts looks like a situational pass rusher in the NFL right now. He needs to bulk up.
Wyatt Ray – EDGE – Boston College
2018 Stats: 44 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks
Collegiate Career Stats: 114 total tackles, 24 tackles for a loss, 17 sacks
A quiet EDGE prospect that has caught scout’s eyes after his 2018 season. He shows an impressive ensemble of hand usage and pass rush prowess that indicates there could be something here. He is a raw prospect with tons of talent and needs to be developed to use his natural tools that he possesses.
Andrew Van Ginkel – OLB – Wisconsin
2018 Stats: 59 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks
Collegiate Career Stats: 98 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks
Van Ginkel is another raw EDGE prospect that needs grooming. Tons of talent shown and needs to be taught like Wyatt Ray. He shows enough movement and ability in space to be considered as a possible convert to the second level as an off-ball linebacker. Has nice underneath zone cover skills.
Khalil Hodge – LB – Buffalo
2018 Stats: 143 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks
Collegiate Career Stats: 419 total tackles, 21 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks
Hodge is twitchy and powerful. He identifies plays quickly. The Buffalo product understands the many ways he can use his hands and athletic talent to efficiently avoid blocks or beat them to make impact plays. Tackling machine. Not bad in coverage.
Derrick Baity Jr – CB – Kentucky
2018 Stats: 38 total tackles, 1 interception, 7 pass deflections
Collegiate Career Stats: 148 total tackles, 6 interceptions, 25 pass deflections
Baity Jr has great patience and technique when playing in press coverage. He shows great movement skills (body control). Can run with any receiver. Another corner who is not afraid to lay the wood down. Despite Baity Jr’s frame, he is a physical player, plus he has great mental processing. Most importantly, he has length that teams are looking for.
Michael Jackson Sr – CB – Miami (FL)
2018 Stats: 42 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, 0 interceptions, 6 pass deflections
Collegiate Career Stats: 97 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 11 pass deflections
Jackson is a long, bulky, physical and athletic boundary corner that many teams in today’s game are looking for. Good at disrupting routes and is not scared to make a tackle. Has an alpha mentality.
Chris Johnson – S – North Alabama
2018 Stats: 47 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 3 pass deflections
2017 and 2018 season combined totals (Cannot locate full stats): 97 total tackles, 8 interceptions, 6 pass deflections
A natural tackler at the strong safety spot. Johnson is tall and long player that can play downhill as a thumper or drop into coverage effortlessly. He has long speed to help cover deep or take a receiver on if a corner drops the route. Always around the ball, smart player takes good angles uses his size to his advantage. A sleeper.
Lukas Denis – FS – Boston College
2018 Stats: 49 total tackles, 1 interception
Collegiate Career Stats: 139 total tackles, 9 interceptions
Denis has desirable movement skills for the NFL and flashes some high-quality ball skills while the ball is in the air. A ball hawk in the last unit of defense. Might be the best centerfielder in the Shrine Game. Gets bullied by bigger tight ends and receivers.