The Opening: Top D-Line
Da'Shawn Hand
Da'Shawn Hand
National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Jul 3, 2013

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- On day two the defensive linemen strapped on the pads and went to work, bringing the top defensive talents from all around the country to compete against the best offensive linemen. Here is who made waves and stood out as the best of the best…

The day was quite honestly dominated by the offensive linemen. The defensive line had a hard time getting fired up and playing with much intensity, which is needed when going one-on-one in individual situations. But there were some standouts.

Chad Thomas (Miami, FL) is one of the more physically impressive defensive ends, probably in the country. He is long and quick off the edge. He ended the one-on-one session with a loss to Bentley Spain, but outside of that he held his own. On one of his better reps he blew past Trevor Darling showing his speed and athleticism. When he uses his hands and speed in combo he is almost unblockable.

Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was one of the coaches favorites and deservedly so. A strong interior linemen who plays with good leverage and pad level. He showed a wide array of techniques and on back to back reps showed a swim move and then the spin move beating Kammy Delp two times in a row. He has the whole bag of tricks in his repertoire.

Players from Louisiana were not allowed to strap on the pads per state rules, but that did not stop Gerald Willis (New Orleans, LA) from squaring off against Cameron Robinson. Robinson was tough to beat but torwards the end of the one-on-one session he was able to beat the No.1 offensive tackle in the on back to back reps. Not bad for a bigger framed DE. He looks like a DT but does show speed and burst to use the outside rush to beat a top prospect like Robinson.

Solomon Thomas (Coppell, TX) and Derek Barnett (Brentwood, TN) are two defenders who worked inside and outside and did well at both positions. Barnett stood out in the run block drills, showing strength to take on a double team and the quickness to get inside the pads of offensive linemen. Thomas was hit and miss at both spots, but was one of the more coachable players soaking up instruction like a sponge. He listened and implemented. He got beat some but bounced back each time.

Ainuu Taua (Lompoc, Cali.) was not the most physically impressive player, shorter and lighter than the rest, but extremely quick and explosive. He uses his hands really well, which is a necessity because OL outweigh him by a good amount. Still interior linemen had a hard time dealing with his speed. He blew past Brian Allen on one rep to draw oohs and ahhs from the crowd.

Anthony Moten (Fort Lauderdale, FL) was one of the better all around guys when it comes to footwork. He is quick and big. He has a nice first step. When he was at bis best he won consecutive reps against Corey Martinez. He uses a bull rush and is tough to deal with because he gets out of the blocks quickly. He drives offensive linemen straight back to blow up plays and control the gap.

Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, VA) was one of the more celebrated players coming in to the event, but only took two reps on Tuesday in one-on-one, leaving onlookers 'jonesing' to see more. He did have a memorable rep against Damien Mama using speed to get him back on his heels and off balance, but on the next rep Mama came back and obliterated him using his strength to drive him out and keep him a good distance away from the bag. Those were the only two reps he participated.

Greg Powers, Greg Biggins, Chad Simmons, Brandon Huffman, Allen Trieu, Brian Dohn, Jamie Newberg and Lindsey Thiry contributed to this report

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DT Da'Shawn Hand (profile)
DT Anthony Moten (profile)
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