By now you should realize that we need to be looking for an eventual replacement for possibly our most important defensive player, Justin Smith. In doing so, we also need to improve our pass rush. Ideally, we could meet both needs with one player.
However, outside of top prospects like Sheldon Richardson, Star Lotulellie, Sharrif Floyd, and Sheldon Richardson.... there aren't many options. Most prospects after those guys either don't quite fit our defensive scheme or aren't athletic enough to be effective pass rushers.
So we will probably have to develop somebody. My choice is a guy we haven't talked about much:
Alex Okafor, DE Texas
Now before you start throwing fruit, hear me out. The guy has similar measurables as Justin Smith (when he was a rookie):
Alex Okafor: 6'5" 264 lbs
Justin Smith: 6'4" 267 lbs
On top of that, Okafor played DT his sophmore year. So he has experience playing inside. Indeed, he has very good hand technique (required to be effective inside). He has played strong side DE for most of his time at Texas, so he is used to lining up on the inside shade of a TE. He has the frame to add bulk, he just needs time to develop more strength and power.
How would he fit in our defense?
As a rookie, he would be a role player and could come in for Ahmad Brooks in our even fronts. Brooks usually plays the strong-side pass rusher in our nickle package. This is very much out of position for him. He is a pure LB. However, this is exactly the position that Okafor plays at Texas. On passing downs, our even front would look like this (with Dorsey rotating inside):
Okafor McDonald J. Smith A. Smith
As he adds bulk he would move over to J. Smith's spot in odd fronts. We play sort of a hybrid defense in that our 3-4 alignment often has single gap responsibilities by the down lineman. This would play to Okafor's strengths.
So what do you guys think? He could be available at 61.
[ Edited by blm7754 on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM ]