Prospect Spotlight: 2019 NFL Draft/Defensive Sleepers

 

By Michael Stewart/@golferbad

Introduction: Continuing with the 2019 NFL sleepers, we focus on the defensive side of the ball and like the offense; there seems be a handful of prospects that could be deemed as sleepers in the upcoming draft. Here are the top 10 sleepers on defense that many scouts have deemed available.

  1. Marquise Copeland (Defensive Tackle) Cincinnati-6’2/290: Copeland is very disruptive along the defensive line and could play in either the 4-3 or 3-4. Copeland has a nose for the ball and has an endless motor.
  2. Ricky Walker (Defensive Tackle) Virginia Tech-6’2/305: Walker has playmaking ability as a run stuffer and a pass rusher. Walker has solid footwork and uses his hands well to separate from opposing linemen.
  3. Rashad Robinson (Cornerback) James Madison-6’0/185: Robinson’s rare combination of intelligence and his physical play makes him a very appealing prospects for any team looking for cornerback help.
  4. Isaiah Johnson (Cornerback) Houston-6’3/199: Johnson has superb speed and closes well on opposing receivers. Johnson excels in man to man coverage as well as zone and plays extremely physical.
  5. Rob Rolle (Safety) Villanova-5’11/190: Rolle is an excellent in man to man coverage and likes to play physical. Rolle can also contribute on special teams as a return specialist.
  6. Kyle Phillips (Defensive End) Tennessee-6’3/275: Phillips is playing under the radar while playing for an underachieving Tennessee team. Phillips combination of speed and quickness off the edge helps him make plays and be a duel threat on the defensive side of the ball.
  7. Logan Hunt (Defensive End) Georgia Southern-6’2/270: Hunt can play along the defensive line effectively and be very disruptive. Hunt has an extremely quick first step off the ball; which allows him to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
  8. Troy Reeder (Inside Linebacker) Delaware-6’2/245: Reeder transferred from Penn State and has made a name for himself for the Blue Hens. Reeder has an endless motor with that blue collar mentality you want your linebacker to have. Reeder can be defined simply as a human tackling machine.
  9. Jahlani Tavai (Inside Linebacker) Hawaii-6’3/245: Tavai pursues well from sideline to sideline and plays until the whistle. Tavai is equally effective against the run and in the passing game with an occasional blitz sprinkled in.
  10. Josh Black (Outside Linebacker) South Florida-6’1/252: Black is quick off the edge and can hold his ground against pulling linemen. Black has a nose for the ball and plays until the whistle.

Final Thoughts: With the depth of talent on the defensive side of the ball; especially on the defensive line. It makes a lot of sense that many prospects will slide down the draft board or even not be noticed due to the attention given to prospects from bigger schools. Therefore; I expect to see more sleepers emerge defensively in this year’s draft and GM Dave Gettleman to find one; either through the draft or through UDFA signings.

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