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Old 02-26-2014, 04:08 AM   #1
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Default Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS — If the Steelers or any other teams are looking for big, physical cornerbacks to copy the Seattle Seahawks, they are not going to find them in this year’s NFL draft.

They certainly aren’t in abundance at the NFL Scouting Combine, where only four of the 39 cornerbacks invited to Lucas Oil Stadium were taller than 6 feet.

Of the top seven cornerbacks generally considered the best prospects in the draft, four are 5-11 or smaller.

“Big, fast guys are the fewest people around,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Everybody would like to get longer, taller guys that run a 4.4 [40-yard dash]. But there are just not very many humans like that in the world, you know. So it’s rare when you find them and then you have to develop the guys.”

Carroll did that in Seattle when he found Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman (6-3, 195) and Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor (6-3, 232) in the fifth round and signed cornerback Brandon Browner (6-4, 221) as an undrafted free agent.

“When we had Brandon and Richard playing, you can’t get any longer,” Carroll said. “Those are the two tallest cornerbacks to play together arguably in the history of the league. So it’s, ‘Well, let’s go do that.’ But there are no players like that. Look at this draft, there are only a couple of guys over 6-1 at corner. So that’s just how it goes.”

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the two deepest positions in the draft are wide receiver and cornerback, which just happen to be two of the positions the Steelers likely will address early.

But, while the wide receiver position has a number of top prospects who are 6-3 or taller — including Mike Evans of Texas A&M (6-4, 231) and Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State (6-5, 240) — most of the top cornerbacks are considerably smaller and likely to be projected as nickel backs who line up in the slot in the NFL.

Only two cornerbacks at the combine — Keith McGill of Utah and Stanley Jean-Baptiste of Nebraksa — measured at 6-3, None of the other cornerbacks were as tall as Ike Taylor, who is 6-2. Only two were as tall as Cortez Allen, who is 6-1.

“I don’t think cornerbacks in our scheme are as unique as maybe the outside linebackers would be,” Colbert said. “You’re looking for a guy that can cover and somebody that will tackle. I don’t think that’s unique to us.”

The Steelers will look for a cornerback in the early rounds of the draft because of Taylor, who will be 34 in May and saw his role as a shutdown corner evaporate toward the end of the 2013 season. Taylor will count for $11.94 million against the salary cap in 2014 and, at the very least, will be asked to take a significant pay cut. He could even be released, saving the Steelers his $7 million salary, though the likelihood is slim because the Steelers don’t have a starter-in-waiting behind him.

At least, not right now.

Could the Steelers use a No. 1 pick on a cornerback?

The two best prospects in the draft are Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State (5-11, 190) and Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State (6-0, 202). Gilbert is the faster of the two, and showed as much Tuesday on the final day of testing at the combine when he ran a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash — the fastest time of any cornerback. He also did 20 reps on the 225-pound bench press, tied for third most among cornerbacks.

Dennard, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, ran an official 4.51 — fast enough to cement his position as a top-15 or top-20 pick. But he is considered more physical than Gilbert and often lined up as the boundary corner in Michigan State’s defense.

But because the position is considered so deep, the Steelers think they can find a solid cornerback after the first round. Some of the other top-rated prospects are Kyle Fuller of Virginia Tech (6-0, 194), Lamarcus Joyner of Florida State (5-8, 184), Marcus Roberson of Florida (6-0, 191), Jason Verrett of TCU (5-9, 193) and Bradley Roby of Ohio State (5-11, 194), who ran an official 4.39 in the 40.

“Whether it’s more zone or more man, I think it’s the old adage that I learned from Don Shula a long time ago — when you’ve got red paint, paint your barn red,” Colbert said. “It’s a matter of the individual player. I don’t think cornerback is unique for us, for our scheme or any scheme.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/s...#ixzz2uQBXeTT6
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

good read on the CBs:

http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cf...-cb-metrics-20
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

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Old 02-27-2014, 10:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

good read! im inclined to think the corners will be ike (on a restructured contract), cortez, gay and a rookie of colbert/tomlins liking! if it isnt gilbert...im rooting for the two big guys McGill and Jean-Baptiste!
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard among notable cornerbacks in 2014 NFL draft class

BY CHRIS BURKE
POSTED FEBRUARY 25, 2014



Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert (left) must improve his technique to succeed at the next level

The incoming rookie class of wide receivers put on a show Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. From Brandin Cooks’ electric 4.33 40 time to teammates Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant each hitting the low 4.4s to Tevin Reese flashing a 41-inch vertical, the position group made it clear that the NFL’s offensive revolution likely will not be dying down soon.

Unless, that is, this draft’s defensive prospects have something to say about it.

Cornerbacks and safeties close out the combine on Tuesday, giving them a shot to leave a lasting final impression on the scouts, coaches and GMs in attendance. The corners, in particular, will be in the spotlight. With some experts predicting that as many as nine or 10 receivers could be Round 1 selections, are there any soon-to-be rookies out there capable of shutting them down?

Here’s a quick refresher on some of cornerbacks to watch:

Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State (5-foot-11, 190 pounds): The 40-yard dash may have been more important to Dennard than any other player at this position group. Why? Because the most pressing question about the aggressive Spartans’ star centers around his speed — specifically, his ability to track receivers downfield should they beat him off the line. He allayed some of these fears by running an (unofficial) 4.42.

The rest of the package is there. Dennard fits the physical-CB mold sought after by so many front offices these days — he had four picks last season, plus a career-high 62 tackles (3.5 for loss) as he showed the ability to attack the ball at the line of scrimmage.

Dennard did not make it in to meet with the media at the combine. Defensive backs have the smallest timeframe for that activity, so testing and other interviews can interfere.

Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (6-0, 194) Really interesting 2013 season for Fuller. Injuries cost him, especially late in the year, but before that he stepped up in place of fellow injured CB Antone Exum and even slid into a linebacker spot when Virginia Tech needed him to do so. If you’re looking for this draft’s D.J. Hayden — i.e. a prospect who might be picked well above where people initially expect — Fuller could fit the mold.

“I would love that,” said Fuller of being a Round 1 selection. “That’s one of my goals. All I can do is show what I can do, and I can believe that I’m a first-round pick or whatever, but I’m not focused on that.”

Fuller also has experience at safety, in addition to his occasional LB snaps.

Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (6-0, 202): Gilbert said that he ran a 4.33 40 a couple weeks ago and hoped to improve upon that time Tuesday. He didn’t quite get there — he ran an unofficial 4.35 — but he ran well enough that Mike Mayock declared he will probably be the first cornerback off the board come May.

The Oklahoma State product agrees, saying that he feels he is the top corner in this draft (a familiar refrain spouted by prospects over the weekend), though he did admit that his technique as a tall, lanky prospect must improve for him to have continued success. Gilbert cited his “transition coming out of breaks and backpedalling” as his main focus leading up to the combine.

“You have to be able to use great technique, because … I have long legs, short torso,” Gilbert said. “So it’s kind of hard for me to get my hips down and turn around and all that. But the more you work at it, the better you get at it.”

LaMarcus Joyner, Florida State (5-8, 184) Along with Jason Verrett, who’s listed lower, Joyner could be limited to a slot/nickel corner role because of his size. Should he earn a draft spot higher than what that designation might typically earn, Joyner may be able to thank his versatility.

While with the Seminoles, Joyner moved around from cornerback to safety, performing well in both spots. The Cardinals used Tyrann Mathieu in a similar way during his rookie season, lining him up as a safety in base sets and then dropping him down to the slot when teams spread the field. Joyner has the talent to take on that type of responsibility at the next level.

Marcus Roberson, Florida (6-0, 191) “I just love playing man-to-man corner,” said Roberson, one of three Florida corners in this draft, “and I feel I can play that better than anybody at the combine right now.”

Is Roberson a better pro prospect than former teammates Loucheiz Purifoy or Jaylen Watkins? The former may have a stronger case in the argument — Purifoy is such a gifted athlete that Florida toyed with working him in on offense early in the season. Roberson, though, is more NFL-ready strictly as a cornerback, despite being banged up and dealing with a suspension this past season.

Bradley Roby, Ohio State (5-11, 194) Can Roby flip the switch back on? He was dominant during the 2012 season, to the point where he could have declared for the ’13 draft and been in the top-CB mix. This past year was far more up and down, though he did pick off three passes (one more than he had in ’12). The production of his redshirt junior season simply never matched the expectations.

“Me not playing that first game, my mindset in camp wasn’t where it should have been,” admitted Roby, who was suspended for Ohio State’s opener after an offseason arrest. “I knew I wasn’t playing the first game, so I might have maybe not gotten as many reps as I normally would have. At corner, reps is everything — training your eyes, looking at the right places all the time, all those type of things.

“[I] kind of got away from that. Kind of undisciplined type of play I was playing at the beginning of the season.”

NFL teams could view those comments one of two ways: Either it’ll be worrisome that Roby lost focus when faced with adversity or they will be encouraged that he took responsibility for what happened. Personally, I’d lean toward the latter. Roby was impressive during his media session Saturday.

Jason Verrett, TCU (5-9, 193) Purely from a height standpoint, Verrett projects out more as a slot corner than a shutdown guy out wide. He argued that belief is nonsense.

“I’ve been challenged with receivers that have been over six-foot my whole college career,” Verrett said. “I played against Odell Beckham, I played against Mike Davis, Eric Ward, Antwan Goodley. … I feel like I’m this height for a reason, but I can compete with the best.

“If you look at my film, I played on the outside and I covered big receivers. If I have to go in the nickel, I’ll go in the nickel. If I have to go outside, I’ll go outside.”

Like it or not, Verrett’s size probably will work against him come the draft — the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said on a conference call last week that Verrett would be top-20 if he stood a couple inches taller. On the flip side, working in Verrett’s favor is that defenses find themselves playing nickel frequently these days due to the proliferation of offenses that go three- and four-wide.

Others to watch: Loucheiz Purifoy and Jaylen Watkins, Florida; Bashaud Breeland, Clemson; Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska; Keith McGill, Utah; Pierre Desir, Lindenwood.

http://nfl.si.com/2014/02/25/cornerb...014-nfl-draft/
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawaii 5-0 View Post
Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard among notable cornerbacks in 2014 NFL draft class

BY CHRIS BURKE
POSTED FEBRUARY 25, 2014



Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert (left) must improve his technique to succeed at the next level

The incoming rookie class of wide receivers put on a show Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. From Brandin Cooks’ electric 4.33 40 time to teammates Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant each hitting the low 4.4s to Tevin Reese flashing a 41-inch vertical, the position group made it clear that the NFL’s offensive revolution likely will not be dying down soon.

Unless, that is, this draft’s defensive prospects have something to say about it.

Cornerbacks and safeties close out the combine on Tuesday, giving them a shot to leave a lasting final impression on the scouts, coaches and GMs in attendance. The corners, in particular, will be in the spotlight. With some experts predicting that as many as nine or 10 receivers could be Round 1 selections, are there any soon-to-be rookies out there capable of shutting them down?

Here’s a quick refresher on some of cornerbacks to watch:

Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State (5-foot-11, 190 pounds): The 40-yard dash may have been more important to Dennard than any other player at this position group. Why? Because the most pressing question about the aggressive Spartans’ star centers around his speed — specifically, his ability to track receivers downfield should they beat him off the line. He allayed some of these fears by running an (unofficial) 4.42.

The rest of the package is there. Dennard fits the physical-CB mold sought after by so many front offices these days — he had four picks last season, plus a career-high 62 tackles (3.5 for loss) as he showed the ability to attack the ball at the line of scrimmage.

Dennard did not make it in to meet with the media at the combine. Defensive backs have the smallest timeframe for that activity, so testing and other interviews can interfere.

Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (6-0, 194) Really interesting 2013 season for Fuller. Injuries cost him, especially late in the year, but before that he stepped up in place of fellow injured CB Antone Exum and even slid into a linebacker spot when Virginia Tech needed him to do so. If you’re looking for this draft’s D.J. Hayden — i.e. a prospect who might be picked well above where people initially expect — Fuller could fit the mold.

“I would love that,” said Fuller of being a Round 1 selection. “That’s one of my goals. All I can do is show what I can do, and I can believe that I’m a first-round pick or whatever, but I’m not focused on that.”

Fuller also has experience at safety, in addition to his occasional LB snaps.

Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (6-0, 202): Gilbert said that he ran a 4.33 40 a couple weeks ago and hoped to improve upon that time Tuesday. He didn’t quite get there — he ran an unofficial 4.35 — but he ran well enough that Mike Mayock declared he will probably be the first cornerback off the board come May.

The Oklahoma State product agrees, saying that he feels he is the top corner in this draft (a familiar refrain spouted by prospects over the weekend), though he did admit that his technique as a tall, lanky prospect must improve for him to have continued success. Gilbert cited his “transition coming out of breaks and backpedalling” as his main focus leading up to the combine.

“You have to be able to use great technique, because … I have long legs, short torso,” Gilbert said. “So it’s kind of hard for me to get my hips down and turn around and all that. But the more you work at it, the better you get at it.”

LaMarcus Joyner, Florida State (5-8, 184) Along with Jason Verrett, who’s listed lower, Joyner could be limited to a slot/nickel corner role because of his size. Should he earn a draft spot higher than what that designation might typically earn, Joyner may be able to thank his versatility.

While with the Seminoles, Joyner moved around from cornerback to safety, performing well in both spots. The Cardinals used Tyrann Mathieu in a similar way during his rookie season, lining him up as a safety in base sets and then dropping him down to the slot when teams spread the field. Joyner has the talent to take on that type of responsibility at the next level.

Marcus Roberson, Florida (6-0, 191) “I just love playing man-to-man corner,” said Roberson, one of three Florida corners in this draft, “and I feel I can play that better than anybody at the combine right now.”

Is Roberson a better pro prospect than former teammates Loucheiz Purifoy or Jaylen Watkins? The former may have a stronger case in the argument — Purifoy is such a gifted athlete that Florida toyed with working him in on offense early in the season. Roberson, though, is more NFL-ready strictly as a cornerback, despite being banged up and dealing with a suspension this past season.

Bradley Roby, Ohio State (5-11, 194) Can Roby flip the switch back on? He was dominant during the 2012 season, to the point where he could have declared for the ’13 draft and been in the top-CB mix. This past year was far more up and down, though he did pick off three passes (one more than he had in ’12). The production of his redshirt junior season simply never matched the expectations.

“Me not playing that first game, my mindset in camp wasn’t where it should have been,” admitted Roby, who was suspended for Ohio State’s opener after an offseason arrest. “I knew I wasn’t playing the first game, so I might have maybe not gotten as many reps as I normally would have. At corner, reps is everything — training your eyes, looking at the right places all the time, all those type of things.

“[I] kind of got away from that. Kind of undisciplined type of play I was playing at the beginning of the season.”

NFL teams could view those comments one of two ways: Either it’ll be worrisome that Roby lost focus when faced with adversity or they will be encouraged that he took responsibility for what happened. Personally, I’d lean toward the latter. Roby was impressive during his media session Saturday.

Jason Verrett, TCU (5-9, 193) Purely from a height standpoint, Verrett projects out more as a slot corner than a shutdown guy out wide. He argued that belief is nonsense.

“I’ve been challenged with receivers that have been over six-foot my whole college career,” Verrett said. “I played against Odell Beckham, I played against Mike Davis, Eric Ward, Antwan Goodley. … I feel like I’m this height for a reason, but I can compete with the best.

“If you look at my film, I played on the outside and I covered big receivers. If I have to go in the nickel, I’ll go in the nickel. If I have to go outside, I’ll go outside.”

Like it or not, Verrett’s size probably will work against him come the draft — the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said on a conference call last week that Verrett would be top-20 if he stood a couple inches taller. On the flip side, working in Verrett’s favor is that defenses find themselves playing nickel frequently these days due to the proliferation of offenses that go three- and four-wide.

Others to watch: Loucheiz Purifoy and Jaylen Watkins, Florida; Bashaud Breeland, Clemson; Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska; Keith McGill, Utah; Pierre Desir, Lindenwood.

http://nfl.si.com/2014/02/25/cornerb...014-nfl-draft/
I wouldn't be upset if we drafted everyone of these guys! I'm so desperate for a CB it hurts!
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

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I wouldn't be upset if we drafted everyone of these guys! I'm so desperate for a CB it hurts!
That'd be a helluva draft!!!
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

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good read! im inclined to think the corners will be ike (on a restructured contract), cortez, gay and a rookie of colbert/tomlins liking! if it isnt gilbert...im rooting for the two big guys McGill and Jean-Baptiste!
I think so, too... except two different CBs: Terrance Mitchell & Beke Benwikere.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

If Jason Verrett was 2-3 inches taller he would be tied as my favorite corner in this year draft. Besides Dennard he was the best cover corner in this years draft Imho but sadly I wouldn't draft a 5'9 corner even tho Brandon Flowers from KC is 5'9 and he's pretty damn good corner. But I still wouldn't draft him in the first 3 rounds. If he fell to the 4th(not happening) I'd take him in a second.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers will have plenty of talent, if not size, to choose from at cornerback

Two tall corners in the Seattle mold

by Greg Gabriel
MARCH 07, 2014

If you have watched enough football, you will know that the NFL is big on copying success. Seattle won the Super Bowl with pass rushers and tall corners who could shut down the jumbo receivers we are seeing in the league. This year’s draft has some very talented, tall corners. I wrote about Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste before the combine. Today, a look at two more: Utah’s Keith McGill and Lindenwood’s Pierre Desir.

Keith McGill – Corner – Utah

Size – 6033 – 211 – 4.50

Strong Points – Rare height and length for a corner, press coverage, ball reactions, awareness in zone, instincts, excellent jumping ability

Weak Points – Average speed for the position, has some tightness in his hips, drops catchable balls, not as aggressive as a player his size should be, only one interception this year, age (will be a 25-year old rookie)

2014 Stats – 37 total tackles, 12 passes broken up, one interception

Summation – McGill is a Junior College transfer. He played safety at Cerritos College in 2011. He enrolled at Utah in 2011 and played in five games before sustaining a season ending injury. He missed the 2012 season while doing rehab on that injury. He moved to corner for the 2013 season and became a starter.

McGill has rare size for a corner at 6033 – 211, with very long arms. He is a bit of a strider with good top end speed. He timed in 4.50 at the combine but is not a quick starter. He has better underway speed. He is a good athlete but has some tightness in his hips. He isn’t the smoothest guy, but still, his overall body control is good. He has a good pedal, and his transition to close is fairly good.

McGill lines up on both sides of the field. He is best in press coverage, where he shows a good jam and can keep good positioning on his opponent. He is able to stay with receivers through double moves. In zone, he shows good awareness and does a good job keeping things in front of him. In man off, he plays a bit soft, giving the receiver too much room to get open versus underneath routes.

McGill has good ball reactions and gets a number of broken up passes, but he has questionable hands. I have seen him drop too many potential interceptions. In run support, he reacts well, but he is not aggressive enough. He is not the tackler he should be given his rare size.

McGill will start early for a team that plays a lot of press man. As he has only played corner for one year, he will get better in off coverage as he gains experience. This player has upside if he is willing to learn and work.

Grade: A 6.6

Pierre Desir – Corner – Lindenwood

Size – 6011 – 198 – 4.58

Strong Points – Size and length, athlete, rare jumping ability, dominates at his level of competition, press cover, ball skills and hands

Weak Points – Played at a very low level of competition, speed at combine, off coverage.

Summation – Desir started his college career at Washburn and then transferred to Lindenwood for his final two years. He has excellent size with long arms. He is a good athlete with rare jumping ability (11’1" LJ, 35” VJ). He is very smooth with loose hips and turns well. He can get a little tall in his pedal but still shows he can flip his hips and has a burst out of his turn. He possesses quick feet and can move in transition very well. He dominates at a very low level of competition (Div. II) and rarely goes up against a receiver with any kind of speed.

He is raw with his technique and can get away with that versus his competition. He played at the East-West and Senior Bowl and showed improvement in the two weeks there with NFL coaching. He has a good jam and is a good press corner, can mirror receivers through moves, and has the suddenness required. He didn’t time well at the combine but plays faster. He will need to be re-timed at his pro day. His play speed is closer to 4.50.

At this time he is not a top man-off guy. He plays loose and doesn’t anticipate really well. It is more a coaching thing and learning the concepts. He is an aware player in zone and will look to help out when free. He shows top range. He has good ball reactions and hands and can adjust to the ball. He is a willing run-support player but not overly aggressive. He can and will tackle but isn't a really big hitter.

Desir has talent but is very raw. It will take some time for him to develop, but I can see him as a starter by the end of his second year or beginning of his third year. This player has a lot of upside and should get drafted in the third to fourth round.

Grade: B 6.5

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/...rre-Desir.html
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