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Shutdown Corner
  • Before the NFL draft on May 8-10, we'll be looking at all the key prospects and also breaking them down by position. In our "Draft Needs" series we will also examine which teams will be in the market at each position, looking to fill their remaining roster holes.

    DEFENSIVE LINE

    Dallas Cowboys: Signing Henry Melton from Chicago helps, but he is coming off a season-ending injury last year and if he just replaces Jason Hatcher, who had an unbelievable year before going to the Redskins. And Dallas lost future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware at end. Maybe the team brings back Anthony Spencer, who is still a free agent, but he's coming off major knee surgery and the fact that he's still unsigned tells you he's not going to fix everything. Dallas needs a lot of help, particularly on its horrible defense, and the line is a great place to start. A good inside presence is almost a must at pick No. 16, someone like Florida State's Timmy Jernigan or Pitt's Aaron Donald. NEED LEVEL: Extremely high

    Read More »from NFL Draft Needs: Cowboys, Bears good bets to draft defensive tackle in first round
  • Jordan Zumwalt seemed destined to play football at Arizona State, considering his father was a scrappy, undersized pass rusher there and his mom also attended the school. Jordan, his parents and his brother and two sisters often would load up the family RV and roll down the highway from their Southern California home to Tempe to watch the Sun Devils play ever year.

    But Zumwalt, a star player at Huntington Beach’s Edison High School, switched gears — he was going to play for the local team instead, Pac-12 rival UCLA. Although it took him a little while to get going, the fiery linebacker finished his career strong (with a few bumps along the way) and now has positioned himself as an intriguing middle-round linebacker and special-teams prospect.

    Although he’s taking a huge class load this summer in order to earn his degree, the highly entertaining and loose-lipped Zumwalt was able to take a few minutes to chat with Shutdown Corner about watching his father play, getting recruited by Pete

    Read More »from NFL draft: Q&A with UCLA LB Jordan Zumwalt
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    Leading up to the NFL draft on May 8-10, Shutdown Corner will examine some of the most interesting prospects in the class, breaking down their strengths and weaknesses.

    C.J. Mosley
    Linebacker
    Alabama
    6-foot-2, 234 pounds
    2013 stats: 108 tackles (61 solo), 9 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits
    40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds (unofficial time, at pro day)

    The good: Mosley, first and foremost, produced. In 2013, he had 108 tackles, 30 more than anyone else on the defense. The year before, on Alabama's national championship team, he had 107 tackles, 48 more than anyone else on the Crimson Tide. He gets to the ball. Repeatedly. He has good size, speed and quickness, fantastic instincts, was coached by a great staff in college and put up big tackle numbers in the best conference in the nation. He can blitz or drop in coverage, and should be an immediate three-down starter in the NFL. No team, with so much reliance on nickel defense, is going to invest a high pick in a linebacker that can't stay on

    Read More »from NFL Draft Under the Microscope: Alabama LB C.J. Mosley
  • Before the NFL draft on May 8-10, we'll be looking at all the key prospects and also breaking them down by position. In our "Draft Needs" series we will also examine which teams will be in the market at each position, looking to fill their remaining roster holes.

    INSIDE LINEBACKER

    Denver Broncos: John Elway's shopping spree improved the roster, but the GM did strike out and miss on finding a new inside linebacker. The Broncos kicked the tires on a few of the notable linebackers on the market but still haven't landed one, which puts them at the front of the line for a new inside linebacker in the draft. With a team that is built to win now, drafting for need makes sense, so it would be a surprise if the team didn't fix its patchwork middle linebacker issue early in the draft. The problem is they have the 31st pick. The Broncos might not have a chance to land C.J. Mosley, the top inside linebacker, but it's easy to see them ending up with a thumper like Wisconsin's Chris Borland. NEED

    Read More »from NFL Draft Needs: Denver Broncos still need a linebacker, might draft a starter
  • Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell has been told what he cannot do for years, so excuse him if he no longer cares about what other people think.

    Mitchell is expected to be selected in the upcoming NFL draft, but not as a high pick. In fact, Mitchell requested an evaluation by the NFL draft board, and even though he didn't receive a favorable evaluation, he decided to forgo his senior year anyway. Mitchell was doubted coming out of high school, had to earn playing time at Oregon, and entering the NFL is just another battle he intends to win.

    Despite not having a lot of pre-draft hype, Mitchell spoke with Shutdown Corner about the challenges he has faced so far, and how he plans to overcome those obstacles in the NFL:

    Shutdown Corner: How has your pre-draft preparation been going? 

    Terrance Mitchell: The whole process has been cool, but it started off a little frustrating, starting with the combine. I didn’t run the time I wanted, but I did have the top 3-cone and top shuttle times of

    Read More »from NFL draft: Q&A with Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell

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