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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.