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UPDATED: FCS Defensive Draft Possibilities

By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There's not a lot of middle ground with the 2011 NFL Draft defensive possibilities from Football Championship Subdivision programs.

And we're not just talking about the lack of prospects at linebacker.

Teams probably have decidedly different opinions on some of the top prospects.

For example, some teams may find Hampton defensive end Kenrick Ellis too much of an athletic beast to pass up come the third round. To others, he might be too much trouble to consider using even a fifth-round pick on.

Richmond defensive tackle Martin Parker and Chattanooga cornerback Buster Skrine are examples of players who raised their perception at a postseason all-star game or the NFL Combine. That late boost might mean how one team perceives them is several rounds away from what other teams are thinking.

Time will tell who's right.

Following are capsules of the top FCS defensive draft possibilities for April 28-30:

Hampton's Kenrick Ellis projects to be a prototypical nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.
Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton, 6-5, 346


Projected Round: Fourth

The lowdown: The Jamaican-born Ellis has such a rare blend of size and athleticism that NFL scouts should be salivating over him. However, he has had enough off-the-field problems to push him down a few rounds. Keep in mind he was a major-college talent who first attended the University of South Carolina, but then was dismissed from the team in his freshman year, reportedly for multiple failed drug tests. He also reportedly was arrested for assault last April after punching another man in a fight. After being suspended for Hampton's season opener, he overcame his inconsistent career with a dominant senior season, racking up 15 tackles for loss for the second straight year. He enjoyed a big week at the NFLPA All-Star Game (formerly Texas vs. The Nation). He's a run-stopper who could be a prototypical nose tackle in a 3-4 defense, although Hampton used him in a 4-3. He possesses brute strength, but is so athletic that he doesn't always try to overpower offensive linemen with his size. His work habits have been questioned, yet another red flag with this major talent.

Korey Lindsey-Woods, CB, Southern Illinois, 5-11, 188

Projected Round: Fourth/Fifth

Southern Illinois CB Korey Lindsey-Woods should be a mid-round draft selection.
The lowdown: It remains puzzling that Lindsey-Woods was not invited to the NFL Combine. His former teammate, running back Deji Karim, didn't get a combine invite last year, but was drafted in the sixth round by the Jacksonville Jaguars and accounted for himself as a rookie. Lindsey-Woods' ball-hawking style is his biggest asset. He collected six interceptions in both his sophomore and junior seasons, but he's so good in coverage that opposing quarterbacks shied away from him this past season. He has excellent speed and is a sure tackler. The potential is there for him to develop into a NFL starter.

Martin Parker, DT, Richmond, 6-2, 303

Projected Round: Fifth/Sixth

The lowdown: NFL teams took more notice of Parker after he earned defensive player of the game honors for his disruptive play at the East-West Shrine Game (with a pair of sacks and a forced fumble). His athleticism and quickness give him a versatile style for shedding blockers. As a senior, he led all CAA defensive linemen in tackles per game (8.7) and was second in total sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (13.5). He was a two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the FCS defensive player of the year. He's a sleeper if enough NFL teams aren't giving him his due.

Buster Skrine, CB, Chattanooga, 5-9 1/2, 186

Projected Round: Fifth/Sixth

The lowdown: Skrine (pronounced "screen") was under the radar at Chattanooga, and had several poor games last season, but he made himself more known because of the speed he blazed at the NFL Combine. He had unofficial times of 4.29 and 4.36 seconds in the 40, though a later clocking put the official time at 4.48. Still, SI.com called him the "fastest man from the 2011 combine." Despite possessing great ball skills, Skrine is small, so he probably will be pushed around by the many bigger receivers in the NFL. The two-time All-Southern Conference first-team selection would be the Mocs' first draft selection in 10 years.

Mark LeGree, FS, Appalachian State, 5-11 1/2, 210

Projected Round: Sixth

The lowdown: The three-time Buck Buchanan Award finalist possesses terrific instincts. Better against the pass than the run, he ended his career with 22 interceptions, which ranks second in Southern Conference history. He has a strong body. If he had a little more foot speed (4.56 seconds in the 40- yard dash), NFL teams would be lining up to convert him to a hard-hitting cornerback. A hamstring injury last November pull kept him out of a possible showcase game against the University of Florida, but he enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in App State history.

Cortez Allen, CB/FS, The Citadel, 6-1, 197

Projected Round: Sixth/Seventh

The lowdown: The Citadel coaches moved Allen around in their secondary, so he has versatile skills. His long arms allow him to play a physical style. He needs to be more efficient in his man-to-man coverage, but his speed, excellent hip movement and natural skills often allow him to overcome his mistakes. He performed well at East-West Shrine Game practices and then in the NFL Combine drills. NFLDraftScout.com has compared Allen to Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who played in the FCS at Tennessee State. It wouldn't be surprising if a team reaches up to select him.

Justin Rogers, CB/KR, Richmond, 5-10, 183

Projected Round: Sixth/Seventh

The lowdown: A poor showing in the measurables at the NFL Combine has dropped Rogers' perception. With 4.48 speed in the 40, his game is built on speed. His closing speed makes him outstanding in zone coverage, but he has shutdown abilities as well. He turned heads at East-West Shrine Game practices with his ability to break up passes, but then had the poor combine. He earned All- CAA Football first-team honors in each of the past four seasons and became the conference's all-time leader in kickoff return yardage as a senior.

Isa Abdul-Quddus, SS, Fordham, 6-0, 200

Projected Round: Seventh/Undrafted Free Agent

The lowdown: A stong pro day performance has lifted Abdul-Quddus into the draft conversation. He is a smooth defender with good speed and range in coverage. He gets himself into good position and can move up space quickly on running plays. He must improve in pass coverage and will be making a big leap from the Patriot League, where he didn't make the all-league first or second team this past season.

Anthony Bratton, SS, Delaware, 6-0, 213

Projected Round: Seventh/Undrafted Free Agent

The lowdown: Both of the Anthonys - Bratton and Walters - were hard to shake in the Delaware secondary, and Bratton has risen in scouts' eyes after a strong pro day last month. Coupled with his body of work in the FCS' top conference, CAA Football, and it's easy to warm up to his coverage skills and physical style of play.

D.J. Smith, ILB, Appalachian State, 5-11, 237

Projected Round: Seventh/Undrafted Free Agent

The lowdown: Smith played mostly weakside linebacker at App State, but figures to make the move inside in a NFL camp, where he can cover running backs and tight ends in pass coverage. He should be valuable on return teams, too. He's an instinctive player who finished his career as the FCS's active leader with 525 tackles. With 4.7-plus speed in the 40, he isn't exceptionally fast for his position, hence the lower projection for a player of such productivity. He did nothing but experience winning in high school and college.

Other Key FCS Hopefuls: Frank Kearse, DT, Alabama A&M, 6-4, 310; Tommy Irvin, SS, Wofford, 6-0, 205; Markell Carter, OLB, Central Arkansas, 6-4, 250; Jabara Williams, OLB, Stephen F. Austin, 6-2, 223; Ibrahim Abdulai, DT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 6-1 1/2, 310; Erik Clanton, OLB, The Citadel, 6-2 1/2, 240; Anthony Walters, FS, Delaware, 6-0, 200; John Eddy, ILB, Northern Colorado, 6-2 1/2, 240; Josh Gatlin, CB, North Dakota State, 6-0, 195

BEST NFL DEFENSIVE PROSPECTS BY FCS CONFERENCE

Big Sky: John Eddy, ILB, Northern Colorado, 6-2 1/2, 240

Big South: Dominique Davenport, SS, Coastal Carolina, 5-11, 212

CAA Football: Martin Parker, DT, Richmond, 6-2, 303

Great West: Marty Mohamed, OLB, Cal Poly, 6-1, 233

Ivy League: Alex Gross, ILB, Columbia, 5-11, 225

MEAC: Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton, 6-5, 346

Missouri Valley: Korey Lindsey-Woods, CB, Southern Illinois, 5-11, 188

Northeast Conference: Alex DiMichele, ILB, Robert Morris, 6-0, 240

Ohio Valley Conference: Eugene Clifford, SS, Tennessee State, 6-0 1/2, 205

Patriot League: Isaiah Abdul-Quddus, SS, Fordham, 6-0, 200

Pioneer Football League: Dain Taylor, DE/OLB, Drake, 6-3, 251

Southern Conference: Mark LeGree, FS, Appalachian State, 5-11 1/2, 210

Southland Conference: Markell Carter, OLB, Central Arkansas, 6-4, 250

SWAC: Frank Kearse, DT, Alabama A&M, 6-4, 310

Sacks or scores, contact Craig Haley at
chaley@sportsnetwork.com.


Follow Craig Haley on Twitter and Facebook.

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