Defense wins championships: Five CFB defensive players to watch this week

Watch out these scary CFB defensive players

By: Tim Rodriguez

The 2022 NFL draft: Defined by the defense. After two years of elite quarterback classes, we have something “different”. A lot of these quarterbacks have yet to remove some of the questions that surround them. So here we sit in October, looking at the worst quarterback class since 2019. However, this class is shaking up to be even better defensively than that crop was almost three years ago. All of these players will be on full display this weekend. Who are five guys to watch this weekend on the defensive side of the ball? 

Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame: @ Virginia Tech

Did you think Kyle Hamilton was not going to be on this list? Kyle Hamilton should be on every list. Probably the best player in college football, Hamilton has NFL evaluators wondering how high a safety could realistically go in the modern era. Jamal Adams went sixth overall in 2017 and was the highest safety selected in quite a while. Sixth overall feels like a steal. I have a hard time finding five players that I can justify taking over Kyle Hamilton. The ultimate chess piece on defense, Hamilton is worth throwing out positional value for. 

Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State: @ North Carolina 

A positive thing being written about Florida State football! Senior transfer Jermaine Johnson has been the best thing about the Seminoles since the second he stepped on the field for them. Unable to consistently get on the field at Georgia, Johnson only had five sacks in 2020. Just five games in, he already has 5.5 in 2021. Johnson has been dominant and shoots up draft boards every single week.  

Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah: @ USC

Utah’s Devin Lloyd is a new age linebacker. With excellent range to flow from sideline to sideline and premier athletic traits, Lloyd is a constant playmaker for the Utes. Lloyd plays with good burst and can make up ground in a hurry, which also helps him in coverage. While his overall play in the run game leaves much to be desired, Lloyd has the tools to be a day two pick and start for an NFL team in his rookie year. 

Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia: @ Auburn 

Why is he not playing in the NFL? It is objectively hilarious watching college lineman try to deal with Jordan Davis, who may also be the largest man on planet Earth. The 2021 defensive tackle class was as weak as it could possibly get and Davis would have easily been the first one off the board, likely in the late first round. Standing at a massive 6-6, 340 pounds, Davis is a mountain of a man in the middle of possibly the best defense we have seen in the last decade. Davis’ production has also taken an uptick in his senior year. He is on pace to set career highs in statistics across the board, but his impact goes well beyond the box score.   

Perrion Winfrey, IDL, Oklahoma: vs Texas (neutral site)

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has completely transformed  the Oklahoma Sooners defense in recent years. Oklahoma gets after the quarterback like no one else and one of the biggest reasons for that is JUCO transfer Perrion Winfrey. Winfrey is having a breakout senior year for the Sooners and has made their defense sneaky good for the first time in quite a while. Winfrey plays with a relentless motor and uses his athleticism to push the pocket and frustrate quarterbacks. Grinch constantly has him looping on stunts and using that athleticism to frustrate offensive lines. Winfrey looks like a top 50 pick right now as a raw, athletic, high effort interior pass rusher.

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