2012 NFL Draft Preview: Virginia

Virginia’s Chase Minnifield Has High Hopes That the NFL Draft Boards Will Reward His Aggressive Play

Leading up to this month’s NFL Draft, we’ll be taking a look at each ACC‘s school’s prospects and where they’re slated to be chosen. While 43 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 26 and 28.

The key to the Virginia Cavaliers‘ 2011 resurgence was its defense, so naturally, several of those pieces will be headed to the NFL later this month. The losses make a dent, since all three of the players we’ll profile here were leaders, heated competitors and some well-recruited athletes who’ve set the bar around Charlottesville a little bit higher from now on.

Chase Minnifield, CB, Senior

What scouts like most about Chase Minnifield is his aggressive pass-coverage skills, which will definitely come in handy at the pro level. While small (5’10”, 185 pounds) and only average speed (4.65 40-time), his willingness to stick with receivers and always get a hand on the ball are glaring signs that he could be a successful NFL DB. The interesting part will be how his game translates to camp first, and the adjustments he’ll need to make. Ideally, teams would probably like him to both bulk-up and speed-up a bit, though both can take time. While he’d be an ideal third-corner to bring in, most of the NFL’s receivers can out-jump him, and his run-defense is not the best either. Teams will take the flier on his potential for turnovers though, and he should go in the late-third or early-fourth round. Continue reading

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Atlantic Coast Convos All-ACC Team (Defense)

Despite BC's Losing Record, Luke Kuechly Dominated on Defense in 2011

The Atlantic Coast Convos All-ACC Team honors the best players at each defensive position. We’ve provided a list of both first- and second-team selections based on what we’ve observed throughout the season. Feel free to disagree, however, since we did on several of the official ACSMA list.

First Team

Defensive End: Andre Branch, Clemson

Defensive End: James Gayle, Virginia Tech

Defensive Tackle: Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest

Defensive Tackle: Matt Conrath, Virginia

Linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Boston College

Linebacker: Sean Spence, Miami (FL)

Linebacker: Julian Burnett, Georgia Tech

Cornerback: David Amerson, NC State

Cornerback: Merrill Noel, Wake Forest

Safety: Matt Daniels, Duke

Safety: Josh Bush, Wake Forest

Punter: Shawn Powell, Florida State

Second Team

Defensive End: Quinton Coples, North Carolina

Defensive End: Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

Defensive Tackle: Joe Vellano, Maryland

Defensive Tackle: Brandon Thompson, Clemson

Linebacker: Terrell Manning, NC State

Linebacker: Zach Brown, North Carolina

Linebacker: Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

Cornerback: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

Cornerback: Chase Minnifield, Virginia

Safety: Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

Safety: Eddie Whitely, Virginia Tech

Punter: Dalton Botts, Miami (FL)

Breakdown by team: Virginia Tech (4), Wake Forest (3), Clemson (2), Florida State (2), Georgia Tech (2), Miami (2), NC State (2), UNC (2), Virginia (2), BC (1), Duke (1), Maryland (1)

Check out the All-ACC Offensive Team, too.