My picks for offense are in the books so now it's time to turn my attention to the defensive side of the ball. There is plenty of talent out there waiting to be discovered by the scouts, but which players will work out at the next level of competition. Let's get right into it with the defensive line.
- Daniel McCullers DT Tennessee: A monster of a man at 6'7" and over 350 lbs, McCullers clogs up the entire middle of the line. He can singlehandedly force a running game to the outside of the field making it more likely that blocking will break down. While he offers little in the way of a pass rush, "none shall pass" if they're looking to run it up the gut. It looks like McCullers should last into the middle rounds of the draft, which would make him a nice value for whichever team snaps him up.
- Michael Sam DE Missouri: It is unfortunate that Sam is being judged based on his sexual orientation, but this could turn him
After some questions about locker room distractions, Michael Sam could be a cheap solution to a team's pass rushing needs.
into a late round bargain in the draft. He lacks ideal size for the pro level but he is an effective pass rusher. Given the pass first nature of the league, this is a skill set that will continue to be in high demand. If he is taken by a team with a stable locker room, Sam should produce right away.
- Denicos Allen OLB Michigan St: A lesser known talent, Allen has come on strong recently and looks like things are starting to click for him mentally. A bit undersized for the pro game, Allen makes up for it with speed and intensity. He projects as a valuable run stopper with 100 tackle potential. A team can take him in the later rounds and look for a potential ceiling similar to former Cowboys linebacker Dat Nguyen.
- Andrew Jackson ILB Western Kentucky: Jackson has a freakish, intimidating build a la Ray Lewis. Please do not mistake this for me saying that their skill sets are similar because they are worlds apart. Jackson is strong and instinctive however and may be a late round steal due to the low profile program he has played for. He will not likely start immediately, but in a season or so he could be coached up to be a solid NFL starter.
- Keith McGill CB Utah: With the advent of huge wideouts and athletic freaks at tight end, larger corners are going to become invaluable. Last year for instance, Jimmy Graham was kept under control by Aqib Talib of the Patriots due to his combination of size and speed. McGill offers similar attributes with a 6'3" frame and smooth moves in coverage. His speed is not elite but he should be able to control most receivers in coverage with his size and acceleration. His technique could use a bit of work and he does not play as physical a game as he should, but if McGill makes it to the third round then any team should be overjoyed to draft him. Particularly if they play Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, Ladarius Green or any of the other young and athletic tight ends in the league.
So there they are, my picks for defensive steals in the 2014 draft. We're almost finished but there is still more to come. Keep your eyes open in the next few days for my defensive busts of the 2014 NFL draft. If you like what you're seeing please leave me a comment, retweet, Facebook like, etc. I aim to please so if you are curious about any aspect of the NY Jets or football in general let me know.