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Prospect Profiles: DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern)

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6’6” 270 pounds 34.5 inch long arms 10.25 inch hands.


PRO DAY RESULTS: DE Corey Wootton (6-6, 272) ran 4.92 and 4.97 in the 40, had a 32-inch vertical jump, 9-foot broad jump, a 4.28 short shuttle, and a 7.00 three-cone drill. He stood on his bench press numbers from the NFL Scouting Combine. – Gil Brandt,


Career: 156 tackles, 1 FF, 4 INT, 19 sacks.

2009: 21 tackles 4 sacks.

2008: 42 tackles, 10 sacks, 2 INT

Scouting Reports


Before Wootton fell to a torn right ACL late in the Wildcats’ loss to Missouri in the 2008 Alamo Bowl, he was giving thought to entering the draft early as a probable top 40 pick last year. After he fell to the turf while chasing Tigers QB Chase Daniel, it wasn’t clear whether he’d even be ready to play in ’09.Over the course of his senior season, he improved enough each week to get back into the conversation as a potential first-round pick. An honorable mention All-Big Ten pick, Wootton finished with 21 tackles, six for loss, and four sacks.Wootton’s success had been derailed once before. He started two games as a true freshman in 2005 before a neck injury forced him to redshirt. The following year, he made a strong comeback bid, making Freshman All-American and honorable mention All-Big Ten squads with 51 tackles, nine for loss and 4.5 sacks as a full-time starter. After a down year in 2007 statistically (39 tackles, seven for loss, one sack), Wootton burst on the national scene in 2008 with a first-team All-Big Ten and team MVP performance (16 tackles for loss, 10 sacks).NFL defensive coordinators covet edge players with Wootton’s length and speed because of the difficulties they present against the pass and run. Both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses could use his skills, which means several teams will consider taking him in the first round.
Pass rush: Uses his 6-7 frame, long arms and good quickness to blow by collegiate right tackles on the outside. Can be violent with his hands to get the corner. Some suddenness on shake move to use an inside rush lane. If his man doesn’t sustain, Wootton works his way back into the pocket to harass the quarterback. Lines up at tackle in third-down situations to use his quickness against interior linemen. Drops into zone coverage occasionally, and looks smooth moving down the line to cover tight ends in the flat. Athletic enough to have made four picks in his career. Uses his height to affect passing lanes when unable to reach the quarterback.Run defense: Looks and plays a bit undersized, even at 265-270 pounds, because of height. Stays home to prevent against big misdirection plays, and keeps outside leverage to funnel backs inside to the linebackers. High cut, as you would expect at 6-7, and doesn’t sink his hips for smooth lateral movement. However, he has the length and speed to chase down receivers and backs from behind if needed. Must use his hands more effectively to keep backs from cutting him – but manages to recover fairly quickly. Doesn’t always chase down plays to his side, even when he has a chance at the tackle.Explosion: Very quick off the snap for his size, partially because his long steps make up ground quickly. Could be a penetrating disruptor as a pass rusher in a 3-4 scheme because of his initial quickness. Doesn’t show enough pop, however, to knock back NFL-caliber tackles on bull rushes or against the run.Strength: Plays tall on the edge, but seems to keep leverage on run plays when lined straight-up. Only has average upper- and lower-body strength, which prevents him from bull rushing effectively or disengaging to make plays against the run. Gets carried out of the play or put to the ground when slanting or twisting.Tackling: Uses his length to chase and drag down ballcarriers. Good burst to the ball when it is in his sights. Doesn’t blow up runners in space because of his inability to drop and bring his hips. Pocket passers have no chance when he’s coming after them, but he will miss elusive runners because he glances off their shoulder pads.Intangibles: Team Most Valuable Player in 2008 was a locker room and on-field leader on defense again as a senior. Coaches like his work ethic, especially during his recent injury rehabilitation.

NFL Comparison: Mathias Kiwanuka, Giants

Draft Board

Scouting Report-Wooton has gotten a lot of attention seemingly over the past 2 years.  It was alwasy going to be the year he blew up and became an elite player, but it never happened.  His size is great good, and with his long frame he looks to be able to pack on some more quality weight, which makes him an interesting 3-4 DE prospect.  I personally think the reason that he’s looks at more of a 3-4 player even though he lacks the ideal size to do it now is the fact that his skill set has never caught up to the hype.  He’s a solid player on the end, and he works hard. He’s strong at the line, does a nice job backing up the run game, and is a very technically sound football player.  Having said that, there are a lot of concerns with Wootton.  He’s got some serious injury red flags, and isn’t a great athlete.  Not real agile or explosive and his list of big plays is pretty short.

Draft Status-I wouldn’t touch Wootton before the 3rd or 4th round.  I just don’t see enough in his game or his potential to warrant anything higher.  But in the draftnik community there seems to be a huge push that Wootton is a day one pick.  All it takes is for one team to fall in love with you, to get overdrafted and I suspect that’s what will happen to Wootton as well.

Final Analysis-Like my man Chuck D says, “don’t believe the hype.”  I think Wootton is a lot of fluff as a football player.  I watched 8 or 9 of his games over the past 3 seasons, and I saw no signature game.  No game that he was making big plays, forcing an offense to account for him, or flashing enough to think he’s got a lot of upside.  I think he’s a good football player.  And I think in a 3-4 where you are basically asked to be an offensive guard on defense, he has potential.  He’ll need to be ok with beefing up some, but it shouldn’t be a problem.  He’s a solid player in run support, and does well enough with his hands to deal with larger players.  Those skills will serve him well as a 5 technique defensive end.  But he’s never going to be a great pass rusher, and while he gives great effort, his lack of athleticism limits his ability to pursue and chase down players.  He is a solid tackler and does a nice job finishing the play.

Reminds me of: Ryan McBean DE Denver Broncos-Both are similar body types and solid in run support but no threat as a pass rusher.  McBean was a later round pick, who’s had to work hard to earn a spot.  Wootton will be in a similar spot even though he’s going to be drafted sooner


  • Prototypical length and bulk
  • Long arms
  • Very strong at point of attack
  • Nice job of extending hands and controlling opponent
  • Flashes high potential in run support
  • Sets the edge
  • Good job of shedding linemen
  • Strong technician
  • Plays with solid motor
  • Scheme versatile
  • High upside as 5-technique
  • Weaknesses:

  • Below-average athleticism
  • Lacks explosion
  • Mediocre agility
  • Uncomfortable in space
  • Never very dominant – never had any big games
  • Not much upside
  • Durability concerns (neck, right knee)
  • A bit of an overachieverSummary: I personally was not able to watch Wootton’s junior tape, which I think is critical to the evaluation considering he was fully healthy that year as opposed to his 2009 season coming off his ACL tear. He might have lost some speed and agility. He profiles as a 4-3 left defensive end or a 3-4 5-technique defensive end. Wootton is projected to come off the board in the first three rounds, but I don’t expect him to be much of a pass rusher in the NFL.Player Comparison: Kenyon Coleman. Coleman is a very good defender against the run with scheme versatility, but is limited in rushing the passer.
  • National Football

    A tall, long-armed defensive lineman, Wootton exhibits a strong punch on contact. He does a nice job stringing out run plays and sealing the edge. Excels at using his length to shed blocks, but it takes him far too long to decipher the situation in front of him. His instincts are questionable. Has a tendency to get sealed away from the football way too easily. He allows his pad level to get too high when he tries to disengage from blocks. Isn’t real explosive off the snap and doesn’t possess the type of initial burst to threaten the corner. Gets a bit leggy off the snap and struggles to gain leverage on his outside rush. Showcases some quickness on his counter move and has a spin move he will go to when trying to lose a block. He’s at his best on his bull-rush, where he generates good power, knocking opposing linemen off balance and slipping blocks. Is much more effective when he plays with power instead of trying to side-step blocks. Lacking his quickness from a year ago, Wootton doesn’t look 100-percent healed from his knee injury.

    Grade: 6.2

    Big Board Rankings

    National Football Post 9th rated DE

    ESPN Scouts INC 6th rated DE 40th overall 45th overall

    CBS Scout 67th

    Where the Mocks Have Him Falling Round 3 pick #79 Carolina Panthers  (matt McGuire) Round 2 pick #45 Denver Broncos Round 2 pick #35 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Bartolis Summary and Final Verdict

    This about raps it up for Corey Wooton from

    Corey is an outstanding combination of size and strength for the position. His production is down from previous seasons and much of that can be attributed to a knee injury sustained in the Alamo Bowl at the end of last season. He is a decent athlete but not an explosive player off the edge. His lateral agility and change of direction hinders his playmaking ability in space. Corey does defend the run well and can anchor effectively to hold the point. He utilizes quick hands and long arms to control blockers but needs to expand his pass rush package to be effective at the next level. Wootton’s measurables, instincts and toughness makes him an interesting prospect for most defensive fronts. He wasn’t nearly as effective as previous seasons and knee concerns will be closely scrutinized going into the 2010 Draft.

    He’s a coveted prospect because two years ago he had 10 sacks and dominated some games, but he’s also risky becuase he’s had injury history.

    You can’t teach his size, strength, and length. He’s got an excellent build, which is why a lot of people think he is better suited for a 3-4, but the Giants seem to like players that are bigger players that play for a 3-4 into their 4-3. They like player versatility (Chris Canty, Clint Sintim) are two of the most recent examples of Jerry Reese taking “34 guys” and putting them into the Giants 4-3 system.

    Final Verdict

    I’d rather take a risk on a player like Greg Hardy in the fourth or fifth round becuase he presents more upside than Wootton, but Wootton is an intriguing prospect that we should keep our eyes on, especially in the third round where I think he represents more than fair value.

    He has injury risks, but not really a low floor. I don’t think he’ll bust, but he could be a very solid and productive player for an N.F.L. team to be had in the third round.

    I don’t love him for the New York Giants in the second round, but he does intrigue me a lot in the third round.

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