Senior Bowl Stock Up – Defense

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OLB Kyle Van Noy – BYU: Was overshadowed by Dee Ford’s dominance, but Van Noy had a great week. He showed off his versatility, excelling in pass rush and coverage drills. Van Noy moves like a safety, but has the power to beat o-lineman with a myriad of pass rush moves. Van Noy had a sack during the Senior Bowl and would have had another if he wasn’t held by touted OT prospect Zach Martin. I think Van Noy locked up a late 1st round pick, which is unfortunate because I was hoping he dropped to the Bears in round 2.

ILB Chris Borland – Wisconsin: Yes he’s short (5’11), but Borland was the best inside linebacker at the Senior Bowl during practice and backed it up at the game with 8 tackles and a forced fumble. He has great instincts, is always around the ball, and was better in coverage than expected. He’ll slip farther than he should because of his height, but I think he is a steal in the 3rd round.

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CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste – Nebraska: There were a lot of eyes on Jean-Baptiste this week with most of the league looking for big corners (6’2) and he didn’t disappoint. He looked great in press overage and showed the agility to back pedal and play off the receiver as well. Jean-Baptiste played well in the game, allowing just two short completions in front of him and stopping the receiver for no gain after both catches. He also showed good anticipation and burst closing on a slant route to force an incompletion. I think SJB locked up a 2nd round grade going in to the combine.

CB Pierre Desir – Lindewood: Another tall corner (6’1), with more question marks due to the lack of competition at Lindenwood. Desir looked mediocre the first two days of practice and then dominated receivers in press coverage drills on Wednesday. Desir carried momentum from that performance into the game Saturday shutting down whoever he covered and coming away with an INT on one of only two targets thrown his way. I think Desir moved from a day 3 question mark to a day 2 lock.

S Jimmy Ward – Northern Illinois: Was the best safety on the field all week. Ward looked great in coverage and run drills and then played well on Saturday breaking up the only pass thrown his way with a big hit on TE Gilmore. Ward might be the most well-rounded safety after Clinton Dix and has a legit shot to be drafted in the 2nd round. For the Bears sake I hope he slips into the 3rd.

S Deonne Bucannon – Washington St:  One of college footballs biggest hitters at safety, Bucannon answered questions about his coverage ability with a solid week. He showed great range and fluid hips in coverage and is in the running with Ward for the 3rd overall safety slot (Dix, Pryor).

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_