This Week in Scouting | Defensive Players on the Rise


Welcome to another edition of “This Week in Scouting!” Despite losing power over the weekend because of a bad storm, I was still able to watch a few defensive players. For this week, I was able to scout three players that have the potential to be good, and in fact, one of them is already really good.

Let’s start with the one player that’s already really good. If you’re looking for a defensive player to watch this week, think of the one team in the country that either everyone loves or everyone hates. That should help narrow down the player that we’re going to start with.

Still haven’t guessed the team or the player? Think crimson.

Now, Roll Tide. Did you get it? Okay, enough of the guessing. Let’s start with Alabama and one of the most talented players on their defense.

Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama 

By having players like Quinnen Williams and Christian Miller on their defense last year, there was one player that quietly had a good year. That player is the 6’3″ and 235 pound linebacker, Dylan Moses, who was as consistent as they come for the Crimson Tide defense.

Last season, Moses had 86 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. It’s no surprise that he had that type of production, either. From wherever he’s aligned on the field, he’s consistently reading the offense and processing in a timely and efficient manner. This puts him in position to make plays at any given time. He flashes some good range and athletic ability to be involved in just about any play.

If you haven’t watched Moses yet, you need to do so. Even though the Crimson Tide lost a bunch of talent on their defense, they’ll replace it with even more, per usual. However, there won’t be anyone more talented on their defense than Moses. We’ll be talking about him plenty during the season, and we should see his name called early in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State and Joe Bachie, LB, Michigan State 

I’m going to pair these two together because they are both crucial to the success of the Michigan State defense. Starting with Kenny Willekes, he’s got such an interesting backstory. Form being a former walk-on to an absolute playmaker, he enters his senior season with over 150 tackles over the last two years. On top of that, he’s totaled 33.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks.

When you put on the tape, you’ll notice right away the high motor that Willekes possesses. Beyond that, he shows a nice blend of power and speed, but he does have to improve his technique at the point of attack. After spending time at Von Miller’s pass rushing camp, there’s certainly reason to believe that he’ll take another step forward in his career.

Next, we have a player that I’ve been a fan of since his arrival in East Lansing. Starting middle linebacker and defensive captain Joe Bachie is one of the most underrated players in the Big Ten. He’s not exceptional, but he’s instinctive and shows consistent ball skills whenever he’s on the field. The senior linebacker has quietly had consecutive 100-tackle seasons but also has four interceptions during that span. He won’t be as athletic as someone like Dylan Moses, but he’s a hard-nosed football player with a good motor.

If you haven’t watched the Michigan State defense, you’re truly missing out. Why? Because they’re one of the best defenses in the country, especially when it comes to stopping the run, and a lot of that is to the credit of players such as Willekes and Bachie. They both were named to the preseason All Big Ten team, and rightfully so with their playmaking ability. These two seniors will be players that we could see at the Senior Bowl when the season is over, but there’s no doubt that these two players get drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft.


National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.