This is the seventh in a series of 10 features profiling late-rising prospects from the pro-day circuit or developmental talent that just missed the cut in PFW's 2012 Draft Preview, offering a more condensed scouting report than the 400-plus in this year's Draft Preview. Results from nearly 200 pro days are now featured online in PFW's draft database.
The best defensive units are strong through the core, and the first line of defense is the tackle position. Be it run-stopping nose tackles or penetrating under tackles, teams never can have enough capable big bodies inside, a place where mentality is as important as ability. Undrafted free agents John Randle, Pat Williams and Cullen Jenkins embody the “hidden gem” possibilities, and a deep pool of defensive-line talent in this year’s draft class might yield a few sleepers. The following players, listed alphabetically, could fit the bill:
DT Christo Bilukidi, #53
Georgia State PFW grade: 5.00
Ht: 6-4 1/2 | Wt: 311 | Sp: 5.04 | Arm:34 5/8 | Hand:10 1/4
Notes: Last name is pronounced “bil-loo-KEY-dee.” Born in Angola, where his father is a diplomat. Has also lived in France (is fluent in French) and Brazil. Prepped in Ottawa, Ontario, where he was primarily a basketball player (played one season of football). Attended Eastern Arizona in 2009, recording 24 tackles, five for loss and four sacks. Playing on Georgia State’s first football team in ’10, started all 11 games at defensive tackle (at the five-technique) in the Panthers’ 3-4 alignment and notched 51-7-5 with two forced fumbles. In ’11, started 10-of-11 games and tallied 38-9-5 with one batted pass and one forced fumble. Team captain.
Bottom line: One of the top prospects on the CFL’s radar, Bilukidi has intriguing size, length and movement skills. Recorded a 34½-inch vertical leap and redirects and accelerates very well for a big man. However, he did not consistently dominate marginal competition and his eyes and instincts could be restricting. Does not feel pressure and will have to learn to play with heavier hands — does not jolt blockers or shed quickly enough. Played inside, outside and even stood up some at GSU. Raw, developmental, practice-squad candidate with the dimensions to play in an even or odd front.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.
3T Ronnie Cameron, #96
Old Dominion PFW grade: 5.12
Ht: 6-2 1/4 | Wt: 304 | Sp: 5.38 | Arm:33 | Hand:10
Notes: Father, Ronnie Sr., was born in Trinidad, and mother, Ritha, was born in Haiti. Prepped on Long Island, where he also participated in track and field. Began his college career at Hofstra, redshirting in 2007. Appeared in all 12 games in ’08 (wore jersey No. 56), including two starts, and recorded 13 tackles, 1 1/2 for loss and zero sacks. In ’09, tallied 24-8 1/2-5 1/2 with a batted pass and three forced fumbles in 10 games (nine starts). Did not play against New Hampshire as he nursed a high right ankle sprain. After Hofstra dropped football, made an immediate impact at Old Dominion — started all 11 games in ’10 and posted 72-19-5 1/2 with two forced fumbles. Named Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year in ’11 after racking up 73-17-6 1/2 with a forced fumble in starting all 13 games. Had both knees scoped (’07, ’08) to repair torn menisci. Two-time team captain already has earned his master’s degree in information technology.
Bottom line: Active, highly productive, high-motor three-technique who racked up linebacker-like tackle production, including 36 stops behind the line, in two seasons at ODU. Disruptive and instinctive — quick off the snap to knife gaps. Locates the ball, chases hard and ranges, showing nice balance and athleticism. Marginal competition. Needs to play with more consistent pad level, get stronger and incorporate more power into his game. Outstanding personal and football character — very intelligent and mature and is well-respected by teammates and coaches for his leadership and work habits. Ordinary measurables hurt his draft stock, but he is a better football player than tester, as his combination of impressive tape, production and intangibles will make him a coveted free agent if he is not drafted. Type you root for who will be successful no matter what he does in life.
NFL projection: Sixth- to seventh-round pick.
DT-DLE Matt Masifilo, #98
Stanford PFW grade: 5.13
Ht: 6-3 3/8 | Wt: 295 | Sp: 5.04 | Arm:34 | Hand:9 5/8
Notes: Father, Etika, is originally from Tonga. Prepped in Hawaii, where he missed time as a senior because of a dislocated right elbow. Redshirted in 2007. Played all 12 games in ’08, drawing four starts at nose tackle, and recorded 18 tackles, two for loss and one sack with a batted pass. In ’09, started 5-of-8 games played and managed 18-2-1 with an interception. Strained his right MCL against Wake Forest and missed five games. Started all 26 games at defensive end the next two seasons — producing 33-5-4 with two batted passes and two forced fumbles in ’10 and 34-11-3 with four batted passes and a forced fumble in ’11. Graduated.
Bottom line: Well put together and well-proportioned — has packed on nearly 30 pounds in the last year and pumped 38 bench-press reps. Fights to hold his ground. Good movement skills, balance and body control to redirect. Has a terrific makeup that translates to consistent on-field effort. Low-voltage athletic ability restricts his ceiling, however, as his chase speed leaves something to be desired. Inconsistent pad level and extension and is not an adept hands fighter. Played a variety of techniques. Size, smarts and toughness might fit best with a team employing a hybrid scheme in which he could provide depth at multiple spots.
NFL projection: Late draftable pick.
DT-DE Greg Scruggs, #6
Louisville PFW grade: 5.15
Ht: 6-3 3/8 | Wt: 284 | Sp: 4.77 | Arm: 35 1/2 | Hand: 9 5/8
Notes: Prepped at Cincinnati's St. Xavier, where he was a four-year basketball player — spent more years in the band (three years) than on the football team (one year). Won a state championship and earned a scholarship. As a true freshman in 2008, saw action in nine games — started three of the last five at left end —and recorded four tackles, one tackle for loss and zero sacks. Posted 24-6 1/2-2 over 12 starts at end in ’09. Started 8-of-13 games in ’10 — five at defensive tackle, two at DE spot and one at nose tackle — and managed 14-5 1/2-2 with one batted pass, one interception and one forced fumble while enduring a sports hernia that sidelined him the ensuing spring practice. Playing inside in ’11, recorded 19-6-4 with one forced fumble in nine games (five starts) after being hampered by a foot injury for the final two months of the season. Was not allowed to play in the Cardinals’ bowl game after a December DUI arrest — reportedly fell asleep and struck a light pole on I-65 the morning after his graduation.
Bottom line: Take-notice workout numbers surfaced at pro day — has a thick, well-proportioned build with very long arms and ran in the 4.7s at 284 pounds, though he could stand to improve his upper-body strength. Has a chance to provide depth, be it inside a 4-3 or as a 3-4 five-technique. However, his tape is less appealing, as he gives effort but does not consistently impact games. Functional strength and athletic ability leave something to be desired and he does not use his hands violently to disengage (marginal pass-rush value). Possesses solid intangibles — considered tough and smart, works hard at his craft and has a likable personality (DUI incident was seen as an aberrational departure from character).
NFL projection: Fifth- to sixth-round pick.
NT Myles Wade, #47
Portland State PFW grade: 5.10
Ht: 6-1 3/8 | Wt: 311 | Sp: 5.11 | Arm: 32 3/4 | Hand: 10 1/4
Notes: Portland, Ore. native attended two different high schools, transferring once after his freshman year before transferring back for his senior year. Originally committed to Oregon over offers from Oregon State, USC and Florida, but failed to qualify academically and headed to Arizona Western Community College in 2007 when he recorded 62 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks. Did not play in ’08 while focusing on academics and coping with the deteriorating health of his mother, Lori Jean, who died of brain cancer in December. After earning his associate’s degree from Portland (Ore.) Community College, committed to Texas Tech and then-head coach Mike Leach. Saw limited action in four games and was credited with two tackles, zero for loss and zero sacks. Under Tommy Tuberville’s staff in ’10, appeared in six games, starting against Texas and Iowa State, and tallied 6-2-2. Graduated from Texas Tech, and with a season of eligibility remaining, transferred to PSU in order to be close to home and play for head coach Nigel Burton, who, while at Oregon State, recruited Wade. In ’11, started all 11 games and produced 30-4-2 with a batted pass and two blocked kicks, including a last-second blocked FG attempt versus Northern Arizona which preserved victory.
Bottom line: Stout, thickly built and muscled up, Wade is built to root in the trenches, especially given his 42-rep bench-press strength. Reestablished visibility at pro day by running well and posting very impressive vertical leap (35½ inches) and broad jump (9 feet 1 inch) numbers. Lacks ideal height and is tightly wound — shows stiffness in his movement and cannot work the edges. Limited pass-rush utility (depends solely on bull rush to push the pocket). Weight was as high as 340 pounds at Texas Tech. Mentally tough, motivated and hardworking — immediately commanded respect and established himself as a vocal leader at PSU. Physical strength and determination give him a chance to stick.
NFL projection: Priority free agent.
Other notable pro-day standouts:
NT Chase Baker, Boise State
Ht: 6-1 5/8 | Wt: 292 | Sp: 5.37 | Arm: 32 | Hand: 10 1/8
Two-down plugger with a squatty build — fleshy midsection, thick trunk and bulbous calves. Shows surprising initial quickness, good instincts against the run and a bulldog mentality. Smart, hardworking, try-hard overachiever.
3T-DE Logan Harrell, Fresno State
Ht: 6-2 3/8 | Wt: 278 | Sp: 4.96 | Arm: 31 5/8 | Hand: 9 7/8
Very productive, high-motor, effort-producing 4-3 lineman who shows initial quickness to play in gaps and nice burst to close — recorded 71-17-6 as a senior with four batted passes and three forced fumbles. Is smart and instinctive and lined up inside and outside. However, he is not exceptionally strong or athletic for his size and his short arms, limited anchor strength and stiff hips do not project well.
3T Anthony Jacobs, Minnesota
Ht: 6-1 7/8 | Wt: 286 | Sp: 4.83 | Arm: 33 5/8 | Hand: 9 5/8
Undersized, durable, athletic defensive tackle with nice arm length who is quick off the ball and gives effort in pursuit, though he is covered up by larger linemen. Ran in the high 4.7s, posted a 35½-inch vertical leap and broad-jumped 10 feet 2 inches. In high school, played running back and ran the 4x100 relay. Solid character — works hard on and off the field.
NT Ishmaa’ily "Ish" Kitchen, Kent State
Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 334 | Sp: 5.36 | Arm: 33 1/4 | Hand: 8 ¾
First name is pronounced “ish-MAIL-ee.” A two-down run defender with marginal pass-rush value, Kitchen lacks ideal height, but is thickly built with girth to occupy and clog. Carries his weight fairly well for a big man but does not play with consistent leverage or power and produced very few tackles. Conditioning and stamina have to be monitored.
3T Renard Williams, Eastern Washington
Ht: 6-0 5/8 | Wt: 302 | Sp: 5.24 | Arm: 33 1/4 | Hand: 9
Built like a nose tackle with a three-technique’s skill set, Williams is a short, athletic tackle who is light on his feet, moves well laterally and shows surprising range and closing speed. However, he has concerning underachiever/”big fish” traits, is not instinctive or technically proficient and disappears for stretches. Could be putty for a position coach, but needs an NFL strength and conditioning program, as well as more glass in his diet. Was hampered by an ankle sprain during a disappointing senior season.