I haven’t talked enough about CB Josh Norman. He really came into prominence at the Shrine Game practices. Everyone raved about him. Norman had a terrific career, but he played at Coastal Carolina and it is easy to fly under the radar at a small school like that.
I’ve been adjusting CB rankings and went back to re-watch some game tape on Norman. He really is an impressive player. He loves to be a physical press corner. He’s athletic enough to also back off and play trail coverage. Norman dominated the Big South competition he faced. He has NFL size at 6-0, 197. He can jolt receivers with a good jam at the LOS. If he did give them a clean release, he’s able to turn and run with them.
Norman is a good tackler. He will fly to the middle on run plays to get involved. He will explode through runners/receivers when he has a chance. Other times he will wrap up his targets. There is no hesitation. In 2 games I watched Norman made TD saving tackles. He chased down RBs who’d gotten loose for long gains running to the other side of the field. Norman took good angles on both plays and made decisive tackles. He shows potential as a blitzer. He can just fly off the edge.
Norman was productive. He actually led the Chanticleers in tackles this year. He had 13 career INTs and 35 pass break-ups. He also had 4 FFs.
The one issue with Norman is…speed. He only ran 4.66 at the Combine. That number was better at his Pro Day, but not substantially. Normally, that means you must play in the slot or Safety. I think Norman is a guy who plays faster than he times. I didn’t see receivers getting by him. The x-factor is that he was facing Big South competition. Norman did shut down NFL type players at the Shrine Game. I also think he’s helped by the fact he’s smart. Norman is in the right position. He sees the field well and does a good job of reading plays.
Norman is a big, physical, press corner so he is the one guy who has a shot at still playing outside and being good despite the lack of ideal speed. Brandon Browner played well for Seattle last year and he’s slow. Browner is bigger than Norman, but is also a physical CB. I didn’t get a chance to see Norman play in the slot so I’m not sure how he would project in there. I think Josh should be picked in the late 3rd or 4th round. I’m normally not a fan of 4.6 CBs, but he is solid enough in the other areas that he is a guy I’m willing to take a chance on.
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Pitt DT Chas Alecxih is an interesting prospect. He is 6-4, 296. He had 18 career sacks. He had 15.5 TFLs and 2 FFs in 2011. He’s very much a disruptive player up front. He doesn’t get a lot of pub, though. Put on the game tape and you’ll find out why.
Alecxih isn’t a functional run defender at this point. You consistently see him 5 yards downfield. His pad level isn’t good and he lacks the lower body strength to be sloppy and still anchor. Blockers get under his pads and just move him off the ball.
I was disappointed by his Combine numbers. He ran 5.41. 3-cone time of 7.74. That shows a lack of speed and agility. He did show some athleticism on tape. Could be a late round pick or priority FA. I think he could be a good 3-4 DE in a 1-gap system (like the Texans). He could try the 3-technique spot in a 4-3 (what he played at Pitt), but I’m just not sure he’s athletic enough to make it there. He won’t do anything until he improves as a run defender.
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Pitt DE Brandon Lindsey is a player I do like. He’s 6-2, 254. Pitt moved him between LB and DE. Forget that. He needs to be a DE. He looks more comfortable firing off the ball and engaging an OT than dropping back into space. Lindsey might be small, but he is tough. He is a good run defender. He plays bigger than he is. Lindsey is quick off the ball, but not explosive. He had 22.5 career sacks and 5 FFs.
Brandon didn’t have a good showing at the Combine. He did post better numbers at his Pro Day. He is a player I’d be interested in late in the draft. If he’s on the board in the 6th or 7th, Lindsey is the kind of guy I’d gladly take a chance on. Heck, I might give him a look at some point in the 5th round, depending on if I needed a pass rusher. Good football player.