Everyone knows that the Green Bay Packers have needs at OLB opposite Clay Matthews, and most of the players who are being projected to be picked by the team in mock drafts fit are 3-4 OLBs. However, there's just as glaring of a need for a 3-4 defensive end that can replace Cullen Jenkins. Between injuries and limited talent, the players who attempted to fill the void Jenkins left just didn't produce. It would be surprising if the Packers didn't address this in the first two days of the draft.
Most of the 3-4 defensive end prospects in the NFL Draft played as 4-3 defensive tackles in college. One of those guys is Jerel Worthy, an All-American DT from Michigan State. He was a three-year starter for the Spartans and he was great late in 2011. He has all of the physical tools that a team wants out of a 4-3 tackle/3-4 end, but he's no slam dunk.
After the jump, we'll have some expert opinions, some highlights and more info on why Worthy's current draft stock and his natural talent don't quite match up.
First off, here are the thoughts of Dan Kadar of SB Nation's Mocking The Draft.
Strengths: One of the quicker defensive tackles in this year's class. When he gets a good first step, Worthy excels at firing through the gap and getting into the backfield. Uses his hands really well. Will be able to play early in his career because of his strong technical knowledge.
Weaknesses: Was a non-factor early in his senior season which brings up questions about his effort. Is easily neutralized if his first step fails. Doesn't have quite enough power to handle double teams and will get lost in the wash.
Combine quotable: (On questions about his effort) To an extent, but at the same time it's just something that you have to work through. It's something I've grown and gotten better at, from the beginning of my season last year to the end of my season. I showed up in a lot of marquee games and laid my imprint on the game, and it was something that I wanted to work at. Getting better at playing against high level competition -- Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State -- with great offensive lines, I wanted to be dominant the whole game. That will only come with hard work in practice, and off the field growing in maturity and getting better.
If you want to put a voice to that quote and hear more from Worthy about questions regarding his effort and consistency, check out this interview with Charley Casserly at NFL.com. Apologies, but it's not embeddable.
Size - 6'2", 308 lbs, 33" arms, 9 3/8" hands
40-Yard Dash - 5.08 seconds
Bench Press - Did not participate
Vertical Jump - 28.5"
Broad Jump - 107.0"
3-Cone Drill - 7.60 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle - 4.56 seconds
SB Nation Prospect Video
Our friends at SB Nation Studios in New York have done some really cool videos for some prospects, and Worthy is one of them.
Apologies for the music in these highlights. Not that I don't like Young Jeezy, but I know some people read this site at work. These highlights have music with profanity, so hit the mute button before you watch if you're somewhere where that's going to get you in trouble.
Man, if those are your highlights and you don't have ridiculous stats, it's easy to see why people would be questioning your motor and effort. Those are some huge plays. His first step and strength look pretty off the charts on the basis of his highlight tape. Unfortunately, the biggest criticism of Worthy is that he doesn't do this all the time. Another knock on him is that he needs to develop more pass rush moves.
Verdict: There will always be haters, that's the way it is. This guy is a first round talent.
Having watched a few Michigan State games this year and listened to that interview with Charley Casserly, I am not concerned about this guy's character, work ethic or lack of consistency at all. If he gets into the right environment with the right coaches, I believe that he is going to become a top-notch 4-3 defensive tackle OR 3-4 defensive end.
He played well for 13+ games in three straight years, he's got great physical tools and he sounds like a great guy. Conditioning, consistency and pass rush moves can all be coached. Physical tools, durability and character can't be coached. I think Worthy is going to be a better pro than he was a college player, and he would be a solid pick at No. 28 if there are no players who Ted Thompson is high on that have inexplicably dropped off a cliff to fall into our laps.
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