Day Three Dream Team: Defense

By Simon Carroll

You build a team through the draft, or so the old adage tells us. And those that buy into this mantra will be the first to tell you that unearthing value in the mid to late rounds is the way to win championships. From Tom Brady to Richard Sherman, Jahri Evans to Adalius Thomas – day three of the draft is littered throughout history with star players who have helped their teams to Super Bowls.

With that in mind, I’ve attempted to build a ‘dream team’ for the upcoming day three of the NFL Draft, of prospects who are still on the board in rounds 4-7. This article focuses on defense – for the offense click here:

EDGE: Amare Barno, Virginia Tech

Amare Barno is a long, wiry athlete with ridiculous movmement for a man his size. Barno displayed all of his athletic prowess at the combine, where he put up numbers a wide receiver would be proud of. With exceptional burst off the line and the wingspan to corral any ball carrier in his postcode, Barno looks set to build upon the ten sacks in 21 games he recorded in Blacksburg.

IDL: Matthew Butler, Tennessee

Explosive doesn’t really cut it when you describe Matthew Butler, a whilrwind interior pass rusher who has a knack for softening edges and squeezing into the backfield. Butler raised his game against the best defenses in the SEC, and stands to have a better NFL career than he did at Tennessee.

IDL: Kalia Davis, UCF

There is very little tape on Kalia Davis thanks in large part to injury – but what there is, he’s an absolute animal in the trenches. Davis has all the power to maintain contact with blockers then shed them at will to the ball carrier. And when he’s tasked with getting in the backfield, not many can stop him. Davis needs to prove his reliability and conditioning to take the next step, but the upside is tremendous.

EDGE: Dominique Robinson, Miami (OH)

You wouldn’t know it, but Dom Robinson arrived at Miami as a receiver and tight end. Having only played as an edge rusher for two years, he’s preditably raw in his technique, but Robinson’s instincts are incredible – he just seems to know where the football is going on any play. Pair that with some impressive athleticism he showcased at his pro day, and there’s a high ceiling for the former RedHawk, even i it might take him some time to get there.

SLB: Luke Masterson, Wake Forest

Luke Masterson is a rangy linebacker with safety speed and a hard hitting mentality. His lack of draft stock is criminal, and he predictably balled out at the Hula Bowl before wowing at his pro day. A versatile player with experience all over the defense, Masterson projects best as a SAM linebacker where he can attack lanes with speed and aggression.

Read Simon Carroll’s interview with Luke Masterson here:

MLB: Tre Walker, Idaho

Enforcer, tone-setter, downhill thumper; just throw all the usual cliches at Tre Walker, an incredibly productive linebacker who recorded an insane 338 tackles in 38 games at Idaho. Walker demonstrates good instincts and a non-stop motor to be around the football on every play, and whilst his pass coverage needs some work, he’s more than worhty of a spot on this team as the hard-hitting heartbeat of the defense.

WLB: Darien Butler, Arizona State

Darien Butler is small, but I simply don’t care. The former Sun Devil is like a rabid attack dog on defense, hairing around the field to the football. His exceptional ball skills are demonstrated in his pass coverage prowess, and his instincts and athleticism make him the perfect WILL linebacker to chase down the ball on every play. BALLER.

CB: Tariq Woolen, UTSA

Cornerbacks in the NFL need three things; length, speed, and competitiveness. Tariq Woolen has the lot, and turned heads at the combine with his 4.2 second forty time. You’d like to see some more ball skills from the former Roadrunner, but the truth is he erased receivers so well that opposing offenses refused to throw his direction. Expect a period of acclimation as Woolen gets used to faster, stronger oppoonents, but he’s a future shutdown corner.

FS: Tycen Anderson, Toledo

Tycen Anderson has the size of a run-stuffing box safety, but actually is more proficient manning the deep field where his incredible range allows him to cover sideline to sideline. From a height-length-speed perspective he’s got the prototypical NFL measurements, and he competed admirably at the Senior Bowl. A little more aggression as a run defender would make him the perfect all-round safety.

SS: Juanyeh Thomas, Georgia Tech

One of my favourite players in this draft, Juanyeh Thomas seems to just find another gear when the big plays roll around. He balled out at the Shrine Bowl, covering half the field to deny a touchdown at the pylon before stuffing the run at the goalline the very next play. Thomas is a physical, aggressive safety that brings some role versatility, but I think he excels as a downhill box defender that can trigger to the football.

CB: Montaric Brown, Arkansas

A true ball-hawking cornerback who anticipates tipped passes and makes plays on the football when he simply has no right to. Brown is a sticky press corner who is a pest at the catch point, and has some excellent ball skills that saw him record five interceptions in his final season at Arkansas. Some teams might like him as a slot corner where his combative nature can shine, but he has more than enough ability to survive on the outside too.

Mock Draft

Simon Carroll


previously the founder of nfl draft uk, simon has been covering college football and the nfl draft since 2009. based in manchester, simon is also co-creator & weekly guest of the collapsing pocket podcast.