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2007 Rookie Defensive Prospects
Brent Clement
July 31, 2007

Best of the Best
These players are can’t miss prospects and are competing, or already penciled in as starters as rookies. All of these prospects have a legitimate chance of defensive rookie of the year honors.

Patrick Willis - SF - LB
Willis is the best defensive  prospect in this years draft.  He has all the tools to be a force in the NFL for many years to come, and will anchor the 49ers defense in the process.  Don’t let Willis college of choice, Ole Miss,  fool you about his talent.  This kid could have played anywhere in the country.

Paul Posluszny - BUF - LB
Posluszny isn’t the most talented LB in this years class, but he very well could be the most productive. He is currently slated to take over the vacant MLB spot, that London Fletcher has held the past few years.  Expect huge numbers from Paul if he starts inside from day 1, and he should be one of the most coveted rookies by fantasy owners this year.

Laron Landry - WAS- DB
Landry is a Roy Williams clone.  He is a big hitter, who isn’t great in coverage, but has to be accounted for on every play. Landry will immediately help the skins D, by spending  the majority of his time in the box for run support. This will allow FS Sean Taylor to survey the field as a ball hawking centerfielder.

Jamaal Anderson - ATL - DE
Anderson is very raw, but is extremely talented.  Many scouts thought more of him than Gaines Adams who was taken at the #4 pick by Tampa Bay.  Anderson has a cat quick first step, and accelerates well around the corner, and when he gets to the QB, he leaves his mark.  Jamaal is also currently slated to start opposite DE John Abraham so he should have a lot of opportunities to beat 1 on 1 pass protection.

Future Stars
These players are elite prospects, who will need time to develop. These players have the potential to be future pro bowlers.

Jon Beason - CAR- LB
Beason will start somewhere on the Panthers LB corps from day one, most likely on the weak side. But, if Dan Morgan suffers another concussion Beason could move inside. Either way, both positions in the Panthers scheme are very productive.  Beason has the talent to be  a future pro bowl level player at LB. 

Reggie Nelson - JAC - DB
Nelson reminds some of a smaller Ed Reed.  Nelson is a ball hawking free safety, who will be a instant difference maker in the Jags secondary.  Expect Nelson to start from day one. Nelson is not great in run support, though he seems willing to stick his nose in a play, when its run to his side of the field.

Anthony Spencer - DAL - DE/ LB
Third overall pick OT Joe Thomas said Spencer gave him the most trouble at the college level. Levi Brown agreed with those sentiments, so its obvious Spencer has a great deal of talent.  But why he drops to this level isn’t his play, but where the Dallas Cowboys are going to play him. Making Spencer an outside LB, limits his value, as he will likely put up quality DL numbers, but not starter material at the LB position, for fantasy teams.

Michael Griffin - TEN - DB
Griffin is likely to begin his career at CB, but that experiment shouldn’t last long.  Griffin is an ideal fit at Strong Safety, and is versatile enough to help out over the top, but isn’t great in coverage. Tennessee should have used this pick on a true CB, instead of trying to make Griffin one, but they still got a great player. One day Griffin will be an elite Safety in the NFL.

Future Playmakers
These players were successful on the college level, but are not in the most ideal situations, or will need a break in order to contribute right away.

Gaines Adams - TB - DL
Adams made a lot of money by one fumble recovery for a TD in college.  Most everyone saw his highlight reel play, and this elevated him on many draft boards. Don’t be fooled into thinking Adams is a better player than Jamaal Anderson who was taken later in the draft. Adams should be a fine DE for years to come, just not, #4 in the draft worthy.

Lawrence Timmons - PIT- LB
Timmons was a great college players, but moving to a 3-4 scheme in Pittsburgh will limit his opportunities.  Timmons may put up a huge Joey Porter type game one week, and then fall from the stat sheet completely the next.  But Timmons is a playmaker and could prove to become a solid bye week option, since its likely he will start from day one.

David Harris - NYJ - LB
Harris could win the inside LB job next to Jonathon Vilma next season, and never give it back. Harris has the kind of talent the Jets D needs, and he could be a perfect compliment to Vilma and the Jets 3-4 defense.  There are players still ahead of him on the Jets depth chart, so let someone else draft them, and take a flier on this kid, especially in dynasty leagues.

Jarvis Moss - DL - DEN
Moss made the most of his final game of his college career.  Moss was a marginal Second round draft pick, if he even left school early.  But such a strong showing against Ohio St, put him on the map for the whole nation to see.  Moss is a Jevon Kearse type talent. He is relentless, and is a speed rusher, who sometimes gets bullied at the point of attack. Still Moss is going to be a solid Pro.

Johnny Baldwin - DET - LB
Baldwin could very well win the Lions middle linebacker position before the end of training camp.  He is said to have already impressed his coaches, and has more speed and ability than anyone else on the Lions depth chart at the Mike position.  Baldwin and last yrs #1 pick Ernie Sims are definitely pieces in the right direction, and could help turn around the Lions woeful defense of years past.

Best of the Rest

Defensive Linemen

Charles Johnson - CAR
Quentin Moses - Oak
Tim Crowder - DEN
Adam Carricker - STL
Dan Bazuin - CHI
Lamarr Woodley - PIT
Brian Robinson - MIN
Victor Abiamiri - PHI
Ikaika Alama-Francis - DET
Amobi Okoye - HOU

Linebackers

Justin Durant - JAX
Michael Okwo - CHI
Buster Davis - ARZ
Anthony Waters- SD
Quincy Black - TB
Brandon Siler - SD
Rufus Alexander - MIN
Antwan Barnes - BAL
Tim Shaw - CAR
HB Blades - WAS

Defensive Backs

Brandon Meriweather - NEP
Eric Weddle - SDC
Aaron Rouse - GBP
Sabby Piscitelli - TBB
Tanard Jackson - TBB
Gerald Alexander - DET
Darrelle Revis - NYJ
Leon Hall - CIN
Chris Houston - ATL
Josh Gattis - JAC

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