Barry Cofield is going to be a sought after Defensive Tackle whenever Free Agency cranks up. The New York Giant DT has Spags written all over him? True, but the 6'4", 306 lbs Cofield is looking for a BIG payday. He's a five year veteran who may also come with a compensation tag. As I've said before, I look for deals if they make sense. What kind of money will Colfield be looking for is what has me looking to contracts not far off on the horizon that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Do we see value in letting JL55 or Long get into contract years before re-signing them or should we be committing to multi-year deals now? If the latter (hopefully!), we need to find money somewhere...
This year when the FA bell rings, team GMs are going to be making deals fast and flinging money around like Bond Traders. Large market teams can strangle FA opportunities or simply bid to consume small market team's economic futures. My personal belief is this will be one of Billy D's defining moments as the Rams GM. Only the strong will survive the coming FA furball. So let's have a look in the bargain bin, because this is one of the better UDFA crops in a long time...
Today I want to take a quick look at two promising UDFA defensive tackle prospects: Martin Parker, Richmond University and Ian Williams, Notre Dame. Both could be signed for 10% or less per year of what Cofield will command on the open market.
First up will be Martin Parker (SR 6'2", 303 lbs. 5.03-40 yard dash). This is a player who garnered a boat load of honors playing for Richmond U. He had 19 sacks during his college career. Though in need of some technique against the run, (which Spags can provide) he shows flashes of what makes a great DT. He tends to play a bit high at his position, so he has difficulty against top tier offensive linemen. He uses his arms well to slip a block, but has trouble with double teams. Martin is by definition a project player, but I believe he has the upside that would warrant taking a chance on him. Here are some opinions from CBS Sports.com after the break:
"...As a redshirt freshman, Parker stepped up to start all 14 games, making 61 stops, 9.0 for loss, 3.0 sacks and three forced fumbles. His sophomore year saw similar production from the middle (56 tackles, 8.0 for loss, 4.0 sacks), but the exceptional production in his second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association junior year (75 tackles, 15.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles) really got him on scouts' radars. The 2010 All-American (96 tackles, 13.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks) earned a spot on the East-West Shrine Game roster after the season, and proved that he belonged with strength and quickness and surprised scouts when weighing in at 300 pounds. His game MVP performance included two early sacks. In a deep defensive tackle class, Parker is the type of mid-round pick likely to surprise early in his career."Chad Reuter - CBS Sports.com
"Strengths: Active player with quick hands and feet. Gives guards at the FCS level all they can handle on every snap with a strong punch and high motor. Controls linemen when balanced, able to use violent hands to disengage and attack ball carriers before they reach him. Has grown into a legitimate NFL three-technique body during his career. Nimble feet and solid balance give him enough change of direction ability to force mobile quarterbacks and elusive ball carriers at least into the arms of teammates, if he does not use his long arms to securely wrap them up (which he usually does once in the immediate vicinity)."- Chad Reuter - CBS Sports.com
"Weaknesses: Could anchor more consistently against double-teams and stronger single blocks. Only flashes a bull rush, will not push better NFL linemen into the pocket. Gets high off the snap at times, can be moved down the line by zone blockers to allow cutback lanes. Will provide interior pressure, not a ton of sacks, because he lacks elite closing speed." - Chad Reuter - CBS Sports.com
Here's a Pre-Draft evaluation video for you to consider:
Next up is Ian Williams, Defensive Tackle out of Notre Dame. He's got the attention of a few teams, one being the N.Y. Giants. Here's one of our SBNation brothers take on him at the Big Blue View. I like Ian's chances in the NFL. Though not much of a pass rush threat compared to Parker, he will definitely sew up the middle against the run. He reminds me of New England's Vince Wilfork. Here's what NFL.com had to say about him:
"Williams is recovering from a torn MCL suffered during his senior season, but he is a quality run stopper that could be an effective two-down specialist. He is near impossible to move when he gets in good position, as he is very strong and has a thick compact body. He is also a hard worker that never gives up on the play. He can be a very stout run stopper, but he is not athletic or technically refined enough to contribute in the pass rush. Williams is a one dimensional player, but he is human hole plugger."- NFL.com
Ian is a strong guy (31 reps @ 225lbs). At 6'2", 319 lbs he is a human wall. (The Great Wall of Ian... I like how that sounds!)I also like his football personality and he is an intelligent young man. He shows a maturity any GM likes to see, but shows it honestly (No Cam N. smile here folks!)and Ian also earned the respect of his teammates. This is a Four Pillars" guy through and through. I also think he is among the most "NFL ready", mentally and physically of the UDFAs.
With that, here's a bit of video:
My Opinion: In a perfect world, I'd combine these two players strengths into a Pro-Bowl DT. Ian Williams will help fix a defense's problems against the run. My problem with him is that "one dimensional" aspect of his play. Call me greedy, but I want a player who has a wider skill set. Martin Parker's future will depend on his "coach-ability" at the next level. In my opinion his run defense issues can be worked through to create the best value between these two unique and talented young men. So what would I do? I'll take two please!
So what do you think? Can we find a young DT in UDFA or should we go for Cofield or another experienced veteran player? What other UDFA DTs deserve a look?