NFL draft: Dallas Morning News: Previewing the defensive line
By Rick Gosselin
The Dallas Morning News
Jason Pierre-Paul will play for his fifth football team in five seasons in 2010. He played at Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School in 2006, the College of the Canyons in 2007,
Fort Scott Community College in 2008 and South Florida in 2009.
After starting just seven games in his major college career, Pierre-Paul decided to skip his senior season to turn pro and enter the 2010 draft.
Pierre-Paul was a late arrival to the football scene, giving up basketball to focus on football as a senior in high school. But he didn't qualify academically so he went the junior college route, where he was dominant. He collected 14 sacks at College of the Canyons and 10 › at Fort Scott.
Pierre-Paul didn't arrive at South Florida until the end of two-a-days last fall, then played sparingly the first three games. But in the fourth game against Florida State, he collected three sacks and forced a fumble in a 17-7 nationally-televised upset of the Seminoles.
Pierre-Paul wound up starting the final seven games of the season, posting 16 › tackles for loss and 6 › sacks. At 6-4›, 270 pounds with 4.64 speed and 35-inch arms, he has the measurables to be great. All he lacks is experience.
"People say I'm raw," Pierre-Paul said. "I say I'm God-gifted. I just have talent. I played basketball when I was young, so no one ever taught me the game. I just played it. When I switched over to football, I just converted basketball into football and played it."
The defensive line is the deepest position on the draft board, particularly at tackle. Two of the five best players in this draft are Suh and McCoy. The last time two tackles went in the top five picks was 1992.
Player School Ht. Wt. Noteworthy
T Ndamukong Suh Nebraska 6-3 › 307 Outland Trophy winner
T Gerald McCoy Oklahoma 6-4 295 Two-time All-Big 12
E Derrick Morgan Ga Tech 6-3 266 12 › sacks in 2009
T Dan Williams Tennessee 6-2 327 160 career tackles
E Brandon Graham Michigan 6-1 268 Big Ten co-MVP
E Jason Pierre-Paul South Florida 6-4 › 270 4.64 speed in the 40
T Jared Odrick Penn St 6-5 304 Two-time All-Big Ten
T Brian Price UCLA 6-1 303 Pac 10 Def. Player of Year
E Everson Griffin Southern Cal 6-3 273 4.64 speed in the 40
E Koa Misi Utah 6-2 › 251 Junior college transfer
T Tyson Alualu Cal 6-2 295 Played DE in Cal's 3-4 scheme
E Carlos Dunlap Florida 6-5 › 277 Nine sacks in both 2008, 2009
T Terrence Cody Alabama 6-3 › 354 Biggest player in the draft
E Corey Wootten Northwestern 6-6 270 38 career tackles for loss
T Corey Peters Kentucky 6-3 300 40 career starts
Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
Suh won the Outland Trophy and much, much more. He also won the Lombardi Trophy as the best lineman in college football and both the Nagurski and Bednarik Awards as the best defensive player in the college game. He was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and the first defensive lineman to become a Heisman Trophy finalist since 1994. A three-year starter and two-time All-Big 12 selection, Suh collected 24 sacks and 57 tackles for loss in his career.
Callahan Bright, Shaw
Bright was a prep All-American in high school who accepted a scholarship from Florida State in 2005. But he failed to qualify academically and wound up attending a prep school and then a junior college in an unsuccessful bid to gain eligibility. He wound up attending Shaw for two years, getting his grades to a point where he could play and finally did play as a senior in 2009. He's 6-4, 339 pounds with a fresh body.
Leaving early: Of the 53 underclassmen who filed for early admission to the 2010 draft, 11 were defensive linemen: McCoy, Morgan, Pierre-Paul, Price, Griffin, Dunlap, DT Linval Joseph of East Carolina, DE Thaddeus Gibson of Ohio State, DE Jason Worilds of Virginia Tech, DE Clifton Geathers of South Carolina and DE Kevin Basped of Nevada.
"I felt I matured, so I took a leap," Geathers said. "I asked my coaches about it, and they wanted me to come back. They thought I'd be a first-round pick next year. So I asked myself, 'Why not this year?' " Geathers projects as a late-round pick in this draft.
All in the family: Geathers knows he can play in the NFL. It's in his genes. His brother Robert starts at defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals, and his uncle Jumpy won a Super Bowl ring with the Washington Redskins in 1991. Georgia DT Geno Atkins is the son of Gene Atkins, who played safety for Miami and New Orleans. Connecticut DE Lindsey Witten is the younger brother of safety Donte Whitner, a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2006.
Diversification: Arizona State DE Dexter Davis and Syracuse DT Art Jones were two-time state wrestling champions in high school and BYU defensive end Jan Jorgensen a one-time champ. Jones was undefeated as a heavyweight as a senior and was being recruited by all the national wrestling powers. "But my heart was in football," Jones said. "You have to love college wrestling to do it. It was a little too much for me. I still throw guys around the locker room, but I do miss it."
Legends: Adrian Tracy of William & Mary, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim of Washington, Jan Jorgensen of BYU and George Selvie of South Florida are the all-time sack leaders at their schools. Jorgensen also is the all-time sack leader for the Mountain West Conference.
A list of the top sackers in this draft:
Player School Scks
Adrian Tracy William & Mary 31
Daniel Te'O-Nesheim Washington 30
Brandon Graham Michigan 29›
Austin Lane Murray State 29
George Selvie South Florida 29
Jan Jorgensen BYU 28 ›
C.J. Wilson East Carolina 27
Greg Hardy Mississippi 26 ›
Junior Galette Stillman 25 ›
James Ruffin No. Iowa 25
Iron men: Selvie started a school-record 50 games at South Florida. Washington's Te'o-Nesheim and Northwestern's Corey Wooton started 49 games apiece, Tracy 47 at William and Mary, Wilson 44 at East Carolina and Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy, Duke's Vince Oghobaase and Kentucky's Corey Peters 40 games apiece.