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2020 Senior Bowl: 21 Defensive Prospects to Watch

Who are some of the defensive prospects to keep an eye on?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 06 Pac-12 Championship Game Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

EDGE / DE

1. Bradlee Anae 6’3 265 Senior Utah North

  • Anae was the best edge rusher in the Pac-12, bar none. He has an immense arsenal of pass rush moves to go along with his brute strength. Power is the name of his game. Athleticism isn’t a strength of his game but he can force tackles into bad situations when called upon. Holds up well at the point of attack.

2. Jonathan Greenard 6’3 260 RS Senior Florida South

  • He transferred in from Louisville and had a relatively good season in 2019. Greenard has an expanded set of pass rush moves to go along with experience rushing the passer from a variety of stances.

3. Marlon Davidson 6’3 278 Senior Auburn South

  • Davidson has the played the role of run stopping defensive end for the Tigers this past season. He’s one of the more heralded run defenders at his position. He needs to work on further developing his pass rush moves but the baseline skill set is there to grow.

4. Jabari Zuniga 6’4 246 RS Senior Florida South

  • Zuniga was injured for stretches of the 2019 season but when he’s healthy, he’s one of the better EDGE prospects in the class. He really broke out as a junior in 2018.

5. Terrell Lewis 6’5 262 RS Junior Alabama South

  • Lewis is yet another redshirt junior eligible due to graduation from Alabama. On the field, when he’s healthy, he’s one of the feared EDGE rushers. The issue is that he’s been injured a lot throughout his time in Tuscaloosa. NFL teams will love his measureables and based on limited tape, he should be drafted high.

6. Zack Baun 6’3 235 RS Senior Wisconsin North

  • Baun is one of the best EDGE prospects in the nation. He’s very fundamentally disciplined like most Wisconsin defenders are. Was a multisport athlete in high school and the basketball skills translate with his footwork and ability to maintain balance. A technician. Production is also present as he leads the team in sacks and is second in tackles for loss.

7. Joshua Uche 6’2 250 Michigan North

  • Uche was Michigan’s best pass rusher in terms of talent and statistically this season. He’s a versatile athlete in that he has experience with playing stand up linebacker and a hand in the dirt defensive end. I really like him as a prospect. He’s an asset no matter where he plays in any given system. He declared for the draft with one final year of eligibility left but technically he was an academic senior.

8. Kenny Willekes 6’4 239 RS Senior Michigan State North

  • The Spartans’ best pass rusher has increased his production every year in his career. A plus athlete with an equal work ethic to match. Has developed into a fearsome pass rusher as a junior. Run defense is good. He reportedly lost some weight and he looks significantly quicker this season when I watched him. One of the best EDGE prospects in this class. He was a late addition to the Senior Bowl.

ILB

1. Anfernee Jennings 6’3 259 RS Senior Alabama South

  • The most interesting roster placement of the Senior Bowl is this one. Jennings is an EDGE rusher by trade but was placed as a ILB. He’s one of the better run defenders in the nation. Holds up very well at the point of attack. Physicality is the name of his game. Very sound in fundamentals.

2. Francis Bernard 6’1 239 Senior Utah North

  • Bernard was a key piece in the middle for the Utes defense. Believe it or not, he was a running back before converting to linebacker in Salt Lake City. A very instinctive linebacker and is frequently in the picture making the play.

3. Evan Weaver 6’3 235 Senior Cal North

  • A tackling machine. He’s notched multiple 20+ tackle games this season already. Instincts are a plus. Athleticism is not a plus but it’s serviceable if a DC can match him up correctly. He has the turning radius of an aircraft carrier with a bad engine. Will likely project as a special teams player or two down linebacker at the next level because of it.

DT

1. Javon Kinlaw 6’6 302 Senior South Carolina South

  • A talented pass rusher on SC’s underrated defensive line. He has the prototypical H/W/L that NFL teams desire on linemen. Long arms allow him to keep blockers at bay. Work ethic and motor are pluses.

2. Neville Gallimore 6’3 321 RS Senior Oklahoma North

  • He’s been a monster this season as a defensive tackle. A native of Canada. One of the best interior linemen in the entire class. He should be a high first round pick in April 2020. Hand usage is some of the best I’ve seen. Footwork and lateral agility are pluses as well. High motor.

3. Raekwon Davis 6’7 312 Alabama South

  • The former five star recruit elected to return for a senior season somewhat surprisingly but his development remained largely static. He’s a versatile chess piece that can be moved around the defensive live but is primarily a defensive tackle by trade. He will need a big week to recover some lost stock this past season.

4. Leki Fotu 6’5 335 Utah North

  • The measureables are impressive. He has a developing pass rush arsenal. Very good explosion skills off the ball. Hand usage is very good. Well built upper half. He’s a space eater that frees up his line mates to go make plays. A former offensive tackle so he already knows what it takes to defend against defensive tackles like him. Has positional versatility to play 4-3 DT or 3-4 NT.

CB

1. Kristian Fulton 6’1 192 Senior LSU South

  • It can be argued that Fulton is one of the best cornerbacks in Mobile this week. He’s a pure cover corner while his tackling is improved, he can get a little sloppy at times. He played well during the national title game, virtually shutting down Clemson’s elite receivers.

2. Darnay Holmes 5’10 198 Junior UCLA South

  • Holmes is a terrific athlete that can play well in run defense. Great tackling fundamentals as well as athleticism to go step for step against slot receivers. It will be fun to see if he can tone down his aggressiveness in one on one drills.

3. A.J. Green 6’1 180 Oklahoma State South

  • Green isn’t the most physical cornerback but can play press coverage when asked. He’s a versatile prospect in that he can play both inside as the slot or on the outside. Equally talented at playing both man and zone coverages. NFL teams will look at the height and length and look to draft him based on those. Lateral quickness is a plus.

S

1. Terrell Burgess 6’0 188 Senior Utah North

  • Burgess was the starter at strong safety for the Utes. He’s more of a pure in the tackle box safety than a free safety. He has been a starter since the 2016 season. He will need to have a big week in a week that probably isn’t designed for him during one on one sessions.

2. Khaleke Hudson 6’0 220 Michigan North

  • Big hitter who can get a touch too aggressive and get called for targeting. Athleticism is an issue. Can play safety or linebacker at the next level. Football IQ is a plus. Projects as a two down special teams linebacker in the pros.

3. Ashytn Davis 6’1 200 RS Senior Cal North

  • One of the best safeties in the 2020 class. Very disciplined in fundamentals. Doesn’t take too many false steps and get beat easily. Ball skills are above average. Frame wise, he’s stuck between free and strong safety. He will need to do something about the frame when he’s asked to be in the box against linemen.