Thursday, April 19, 2007

Get to Know 'Em: Tim Crowder

Rather than add my voice to the legion of bloggers speculating on the Vikings' first round pick, I'm going to take the draft analysis a step further and preview players the Vikings might take with the 41st overall pick. And in case you're wondering, I'm getting the ideas for players from NFL Draft Countdown, Draft Tek and FF Tool Box. So for all I know, these guys will all be gone in the first round, or will still be available when the Vikings draft in the third round. If it's the latter, let's all pretend this was a third round preview, ok? Thanks.

April 3: Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio St.
April 4: Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina

April 5: Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
April 8: Steve Smith, WR, USC
April 10: Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami
April 18: Jason Hill, WR, Washington St.
April 19: Tim Crowder, DE, Texas

I wrote when I previewed Charles Johnson two weeks ago, if the Vikings decide to draft an offensive player in the first round, they'll most likely try and pick up someone to help their pass rush in the second round. Tim Crowder, a decorated 6'4, 272lb senior defensive end from Texas may just end up in Purple because of that strategy. And don't be surprised if he makes an impact in his first year.

Crowder has a lot going for him--intangibles (he was the Longhorn's captain his senior year), experience (he played in every game while he was in Austin) and all the physical tools you look for in a defensive end. He has speed (4.69 forty) and demonstrated that he had enough speed to get around tackles while racking up 10.5 sacks his senior year. And when he gets to the QB, well, they better protect the ball, as he forced four fumbles his senior year. He's not just a pass rush specialist, either as his play against the run as been above average, partly due to his ability to get the most out of his size and partly due to his ability to disengage from blockers.

His technique is not perfect, however. He doesn't always stay low, allowing blockers to stand him up and get their hands into him. Against Baylor, he could get out of it. Against Chad Clifton, he won't have a chance. And while he has enough speed for the position, tackles won't be staying up all night worrying about it. He's fast, but he's not Javon Kearse.

If the Vikings choose to wait until the second round to address their pass rush issues, Tim Crowder would be a solid choice. He probably won't lead the league in sacks, but he will be able to pressure the quarterback, especially since he'll never be the focus of a blocking scheme (if the Vikings can acquire a defensive end that draws the focus away from the Williams "brothers", well, then they won't have to worry about their defensive line anymore). If he ends up wearing Purple, Crowder will be a solid addition to Erasmus James and Ray Edwards

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