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Ranking the Schedule: NFL Draft Prospects — Defense

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Who are some of the NFL’s top defensive prospects on Miami’s schedule in 2018.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In the last two years alone 88 players have been drafted out of ACC schools and in 2018 the conference had more players selected in the first round (six) than any other conference in America. There is no doubt in my mind that Miami will play against a superabundant amount of future NFL players in 2018, but here are just a few of the top defensive names you want to know for the 2019 NFL Draft.

5. DE Zach Allen, Boston College

Harold Landry was the most talked about player on the Boston College defense a year ago, but Zach Allen was the best. As a defensive end, he managed to tally up 100 tackles — making him one of just two defensive lineman to have that many. That is extremely rare to find from that position at any level. He also collected six sacks and 15.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for the Eagles.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Boston College Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Allen is quick and explosive off the line with an impressive first step that compliments his unique size and athleticism. That combination of skills is why most are high on Allen being a potential first rounder come 2019.

Projection: 2nd round

4. DE Brian Burns, Florida State

If there was anybody who made an immediate impact on a program it was Brian Burns at Florida State in 2016. As a freshman, Burns dominated the edge and delivered 9.5 sacks for the Seminoles. It was the most by a freshman at that university since 1977 and he was recognized as a Freshman All-American by every major media outlet in the country.

NCAA Football: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Now, his sack numbers did decrease to 4.5 in as a sophomore, but he increased his tackles for loss to 13.5 and forced three fumbles. He also blocked two punts and kicks in 2017. Burns developed from a pure pass rusher to a complete defensive end with a knack for making plays on Special Teams and that should absolutely help his draft stock rise throughout this upcoming season.

Projection: 2nd round

3. CB Levonta Taylor, Florida State

Taylor is as good of a cover corner as anybody in the nation. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF) Taylor lead all Power 5 corners with 30.6 snaps per reception. If that sounds confusing, it means that the ball was snapped, on average, 30.6 times before a pass was caught by a receiver covered by Taylor. A very impressive stat. He also ranked first among ACC corners with a passer rating of 26.1 when targeted by opposing QBs in coverage. He had just two interceptions in 2018 and they both came against the Florida Gators. He returned his second interception of that game for a touchdown.

NCAA Football: Florida State Spring Game Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Projection: Late 1st-2nd round

2. CB Greedy Williams, LSU

It is all but certain that Williams will forgo his redshirt junior and senior year at LSU and enter the NFL draft in 2019. He is a huge corner that stands at 6-3 with incredible instincts and ball skills that separates himself from the pack. In his redshirt freshman year, Williams snatched six interceptions and defended 1.3 passes per game making him just the third player to lead the conference in both categories since 2008.

Greedy was recognized by the media as a First-Team All-SEC member and a Third-Team All-American by the Associated Press.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Notre Dame vs Louisiana State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Projection: Top 15 pick

1. LB Devin White, LSU

I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing for Miami that both of the top NFL Prospects on the Hurricanes schedule come in their first game of the season. Devin White is the best player that Miami will see all season. A year ago, White lead the SEC with 133 tackles. Shaq Quarterman had 83 tackles in 2017 – to put that into perspective for you. White had eight different games with double-digit tackles a year ago, including a season high 15 in a win over Auburn.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Notre Dame vs Louisiana State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

White is an absolute missile to the football with instincts and quickness unlike any linebacker in this upcoming class.

Projection: Top 15 pick

Poll

Who is the top defensive NFL Prospect on Miami’s schedule?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Devin White, LSU
    (193 votes)
  • 21%
    Greedy Williams, LSU
    (66 votes)
  • 3%
    Levonta Taylor, FSU
    (10 votes)
  • 6%
    Brian Burns, FSU
    (21 votes)
  • 2%
    Zach Allen, BC
    (7 votes)
  • 3%
    Other (comment)
    (12 votes)
309 votes total Vote Now