NFL

Top NFL Draft Prospects on Defense for Maryland Terrapins in 2014

Maryland Terrapins, NFL Draft

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland Terrapins defense in 2014 should be even better than the 2013 version, which itself was an improvement from 2012. The Terps didn’t necessarily suffer from a lack of talent on defense, more of a string of injuries and a degree of inconsistency that drove Terp fans crazy. This fall the Terps return nine starters, and there’s a couple intriguing prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft who will look to boost their stock.

Senior NT Darius Kilgo has a stout, 6-foot 3, 320-pound frame ideal for a two-gap nose at the next level. His stats aren’t eye-popping (6.5 TFL’s and 2.5 sacks in ’13), but the role he plays is more about creating for the rest of the defense than himself. He’s somewhat limited right now in terms of pass rush ability, but that should improve as he learns to use his hands more and play with consistent leverage. He’s got a very strong base though, is hard to move in the middle and has surprisingly nimble feet for a big guy. He’s the kind of guy that will fly under the radar to nearly all fans, but scouts will be keeping a sharp eye on him.

Senior OLB Matt Robinson is an impressive size/speed guy at 6-foot 3, 245-pounds, with times in the high 4.6’s. Despite being 245-pounds, he actually has a frame that looks like it could hold even more weight without jeopardizing speed. The former safety is a good athlete with sideline to sideline speed and lateral agility, and has a nose for the ball. He needs to get stronger at the point of attack for blockers who reach the second level, but I really like his burst off the edge. Scouts will be paying attention to how well he holds up injury wise, as he’s battled numerous injuries over the past few years.

Next we have two guys local guys hailing from the ruggedly illustrious Prince George’s County in L.A. Goree and Jeremiah Johnson. Goree, a senior inside ‘backer, has been rock solid the past three seasons for the Terps making plays and big stops against the run. He’s certainly got some work to do in coverage and playing the pass, but he’s a thumper in the run game with the ability to play inside an even or odd front. He’s another good size/speed guy at 6-foot 2, 245-pounds with mid-4.6 times.

Johnson, a senior CB, is one of many Terps coming off injuries from last season. He doesn’t necessarily fit the trend of tall and lengthy CB’s that are all the rage right now, but plays bigger than his 5-foot 11, 193-pound frame, especially against the run. Johnson is a smart player with good leadership skills and film room habits. He may struggle playing on an island at the next level, but offers and intriguing skill set for zone-heavy coverage schemes.

Another guy to keep an eye on is DE Andre Monroe, who led the team with 9.5 sacks last year. Monroe is held back on rankings because of his size (5-foot 11, 282-pounds), but I like his explosion off the ball and his quick hands. He doesn’t have the length to play the edge at the next level, but I think he could be an intriguing fit playing a penetrating 3-tech inside.

Rick Stavig is an NFL Draft Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on Google+.

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