With the return of several conferences to the 2020 college football scene, we are rolling out an updated NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Big Board featuring players from those schools. Next up, defensive players from the Big Ten:
Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan—
In a close game last October vs. the Iowa Hawkeyes while facing two future NFL offensive tackles, Kwity Paye showed the traits that make him such a highly-rated NFL prospect, recording a career-high 2.5 sacks and an additional two quarterback hurries in the game. Boasting prototypical 4-3 defensive end size at 6-4 and 270 pounds, the Providence, Rhode Island product is a gifted athlete who regularly displays impressive get-off off the snap, an arsenal of pass rushing moves in his toolbox, the capability of bending the edge to flatten to the quarterback, and burst to close on the ball. What’s equally impressive, however, is Paye’s physicality and desire to stop the run, regularly showcasing the play strength to knock-back opposing blockers, strong hands to jolt and shed, and then the dependability to get ball carriers down.
Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State—
Baron Browning is a name to remember. Despite rotating at the middle linebacker position in 2019 with Tuf Borland — another Buckeye linebacker who’s expected to be drafted this year — Browning finished the year fourth on the team in tackles for loss and sixth on the team in total tackles. With a rare blend of size, length, athleticism and explosiveness reminiscent of former Buckeye star Ryan Shazier, Browning is built for the modern NFL defense. Unafraid of contact, the former five-star high school product from Fort Worth, Texas is quick to read and react in the run game, comes out of his hips to strike climbing blockers with his hands, and wraps up ball carriers with his long arms. In the pass game, his speed and range enable him to cover a lot of ground in either zone or man coverage, and he’s a threat to get home to the quarterback as a delayed or add-on blitzer.
Dicaprio Bootle, CB, Nebraska—
Position versatility is key for most NFL players, and Nebraska defensive back Dicaprio Bootle certainly is versatile. Last year for the Huskers, Bootle started the first eight games at cornerback before shifting to safety due to injuries in the secondary. Though possessing below average height for the cornerback position at slightly under 5-10 and 190 pounds, Bootle is competitive in man-to-man coverage while displaying the confidence to remain square in his pedal. The Miami native regularly can be seen communicating with his teammates, pointing out coverage responsibilities, keying targets in zone with great field awareness, and rallying to the ball once it’s been thrown – all attributes that bode well for his chances as a safety as well. The 2020 season will be a valuable opportunity for Bootle to show improved tackling technique and consistency — improvements that will aid him while vying for a backup/special teams role in a NFL training camp next summer.
NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL BIG BOARD: BIG TEN DEFENSE
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