Texas A&M Aggies: Quinton Dial
February, 21, 2013
By Sam Khan Jr. | ESPN.com
Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Today: Defensive linemen and linebackers.
Texas A&M's defense was a question mark coming into the 2012 season, but those questions were answered definitively as the Aggies became a solid defensive squad, thanks in large part to three players who will be participating in the combine:
- DE Damontre Moore (Position rank: No. 4)
Strengths: Explosiveness and production. Moore was a handful for opposing offensive tackles this year because of his quickness and explosiveness as a pass-rusher. He has good speed for his size and position; that could be seen against Mississippi State when he chased down receiver Chris Smith from behind on a 42-yard completion. He was near the top nationally in sacks and tackles for loss.
Weaknesses: He can be too aggressive in his pursuit occasionally, although he has good instincts. A year ago, inconsistency might have been a concern and there also might have been character questions because of an arrest for marijuana possession before his sophomore season, but neither appear to be issues now. He seems to have matured and has become a consistent, day-in and day-out player under Kevin Sumlin.
Comparison: Todd McShay compared Moore to Atlanta defensive end John Abraham. They have similar frames (both are 6-4, Abraham is about 15 pounds heavier than Moore's 248), and both are quick and fit well as 4-3 defensive ends.
- OLB Sean Porter (Position rank: No. 12)
Strengths: He's durable, reliable and became a leader for the Aggies. Showed good speed when serving as a pass-rusher in 2011. He is quick and can close quickly. Good instincts, versatile talent.
Weaknesses: Doesn't excel in coverage, though he has showed improvement in that area. Could be a more physical player and more consistent overall.
Comparison: Lance Briggs. About the same height as Porter, though a little bigger in weight, Briggs has good range and is a playmaker. It might be too much to say Porter will be at the level of Briggs (seven-time Pro Bowl player), but he should fit in nicely as a versatile starting weakside linebacker for someone.
- LB Jonathan Stewart (Position rank: No. 16)
Strengths: Smart player with good size for his position. Shows good instincts as he's often around the ball. Was one of the leaders on A&M's defense this year.
Weaknesses: Not a dominant playmaking presence. Has speed but not tremendously explosive.
Comparison: Kirk Morrison. Stewart should be a solid, though not flashy, linebacker in a 4-3 scheme which is what Morrison has been throughout his career with Oakland and Buffalo. Both are of similar size and frame.
The heart of the Gators’ 2012 defense will participate in the combine today. DT Sharrif Floyd, whose stock is rising rapidly as he is projected to be taken as high as No. 3, had a fantastic season and anchored UF’s front. He dominated Florida State’s front, and his mixture of size, strength and quickness has scouts drooling. ILB Jon Bostic started every game the past two seasons and was UF’s leader on defense. Nobody was more dependable than Bostic. OLB Jelani Jenkins was limited in 2012 because of a broken finger, a strained hamstring and a broken foot, but when healthy he’s a solid player. OLB Lerentee McCray was forced into action at the buck position (hybrid end/linebacker) because of the injury to Ronald Powell. He didn’t produce big numbers but was a high-effort, high-motor guy.