5 Under the Radar/Sleeper Guys: Defense

Did the offense yesterday. Fell asleep during the Texans/Astros games to do the Defense. Here are 5 guys that nobody is talking about who will make an impact by the end of the season excluding true freshmen.

LB: Elijah Gooden: Weight room beast. Converted RB from HS. I think he will push for playing time rushing the passer. He will almost certainly contribute on special teams.

CB: Ka’Darian Smith: One of the young inexperienced CB’s have to step up this season with the top 3 CB’s graduating. I’m betting it will be K. Smith.

LB: Amaud Willis-Dalton: Late recruiting get by Applewhite last year. Has versatility to play safety as well. Can see Applewhite and D’onofrio used him in a variety of ways on defense.

DE Noah Jones: Redshirted last year. If one of Chambers/Carter get hurt and have to miss games I can see Jones making an impact. Has very good pass rush skills.

DB DJ Small: Played in a few games as a freshman before missing the rest of the season with an injury. Was getting backup reps at that time. If he proves he is 100 percent healthy he will push for playing time again. Too small (no pun intended) to play outside, but can be a really good nickel CB.


Interesting list. I have a little concern about Willis-Dalton at LB given his size (215 lbs). Maybe he would make a better nickel CB at that size like Brandon Wilson? A guy who has the speed to cover, but also has the size and strength to make tackles in the open field. The guy I want to see get on the field is Grant Stuard. He’s probably not going to see much playing time at safety behind Garrett Davis and Deontay Anderson, but with his speed and size, it would be nice to see him out there at the nickel or as an extra pass rusher off the end in blitz situations.

Elijah Gooden is an absolute beast. Most of the highlights I’ve seen on him are as a RB. Will be interesting to see him develop as a LB.

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here are some on defense.


I thought Stuard played some nickel last year. Although maybe just his hair did. I don’t recall precisely.


I think he did, but it was very limited. The vast majority of his playing time came on special teams.

to me it’s Leroy Godfrey…

He got minutes at the end of last season and really took over some game, and is not even talked about much here at all…i remember when i was making some of the highlights (watching film) in the last few games he was just popping out every…

he had 7.5 tackles for loss in the last 4 regular season games…if you spread that production throughout a full regular season that is about 24 (that would have been #4 in the nation)

ive said this before but he is my sleeper pick for breakout player


I’m hoping to see some things from Gooden.

Agree on Godfrey. Looking for him to have a breakout year.

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