Oxnard is almost here and there’s a lot of anticipation on how new players, rookies as well as signed free agents, will match up. With many defensive spots up for grabs, here are some top match ups to look out for.
Jeff Heath – veteran and anticipated replacement for Barry Church who signed with Jacksonville in March. This is his position to lose.
Kavon Frazier – Drafted in the 6th round in 2016, Frazier played the last nine games of the regular season. He’s been rehabbing a foot injury during the off-season.
Robert Blanton – five year veteran signed in April. He previously played four years with the Minnesota Vikings and one year with the Buffalo Bills. He has experience on special teams as well.
Chidobe Awuzie –2nd round draft pick and was a versatile player at Colorado. Has experience at strong and free safety, cornerback, and outside linebacker.
Xavier Woods – Drafted in the 6th round, Woods started all four years at Louisiana Tech and had 14 interceptions. He’s a smaller player at 5’11, 197lbs which could be a weakness.
Jonathan Cooper-The veteran free agent we signed in January will most likely be the replacement for Ronald Leary if he stays free from injuries.
Chaz Green – Drafted in 2015, Green has been battling injuries during his career. He missed his entire rookie season with a hip injury and underwent back surgery in December 2016 for a herniated disc.
Byron Bell – Another veteran free agent signed this year in March. Bell has had 72 career starts over five seasons. Had a season ending ankle injury last year with the Tennesee Titans.
Nolan Carroll – We signed the 8 year veteran in March. He played for the Eagles for 3 seasons and started in 28 games. He will most likely be suspended one or two games due to his DUI arrest this May.
Anthony Brown – Drafted 189th in 2016, Brown was over shadowed last year by rookies Dak and Zeke, but he showed immense potential when he stepped up when starting CB Morris Claiborne got injured. In the final 5 weeks of 2016, Brown allowed the fewest yards per coverage snap out of all NFL CBs.
Chidobe Awuzie – Ranked 2nd in PAC-12 CBs in 2015, and was in the top 5 CBs his last year. Well rounded player who will most likely start this season.
Jourdan Lewis – Drafted in the 3rd round, Lewis was a two-time all-American at Michigan. If it weren’t for his smaller size (5’10, 188lbs) and a domestic violence charge in March, he could have been a 1st round pick.
Marquez White – 6th round draft pick from Florida State where he was a starter his last 2 years. He played football and basketball (one season) at Florida, which shows his natural athleticism.
Demontre Moore – Drafted during free agency, the five year veteran has played for five teams during his career. Moore sees this year as his last chance which could be the push he needs to earn a spot.
Stephen Paea – Drafted in March, the seven year veteran previously played under Rob Martinelli for his first two seasons with the Bears. He has 79 career games, 14 sacks, and 73 tackles. His familiarity under Martinelli could prove as an asset.
Joey Ivie – 7th round draft pick out of Florida, Ivie only started 16 games throughout his collegiate career and had seven sacks and two forced fumbles.
Jordan Carrell – Another 7th round pick from Colorado, Carrell started every game during his two year stint as a Buffalo where he had 89 tackles and 6 sacks.
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