2014 Sleeper DE: Larry Webster
By Ken Scudero
You may remember Larry Webster from back in November when I included him in my small school prospects article. Webster was named a Division II third team All-American for the 2013 season. He finished with 49 tackles, 14 TFL and 12.5 sacks. In 2012, Webster won the PSAC East Defensive Player of the Year as a basketball player. He didn't commit fully to football until this season and has impressed greatly in his two seasons as a defensive end.
At the NFL Combine, Webster measured in at 6-foot-6, 252 pounds. He has perfect size for a pass rusher and also has freakish speed. He turned heads in Indianapolis when he ran an official 4.58 40-yard dash, which was second-best behind Jadeveon Clowney. Webster is actually most comparable to Clowney as a player as well as a physical specimen. Granted, Clowney is one of the best talents we've ever seen coming out of college, and he can step in right away and be a force, but Webster has some similarities to him. Webster excelled in other areas at the Combine as well. He was third-best among defensive ends in the broad jump (10 feet-3 inches) and fifth in the vertical (36. 5 inches).
Webster can also be compared to Jason Pierre-Paul, as Pierre-Paul didn't play football for very long before being drafted in the first round in 2010. Both were basketball players who converted to pass rushers, and coaches have been impressed with how quickly Webster picked up the position. He understands blocking schemes to an extent and can rush from the edge as well as in between linemen. His ceiling is high, and with more experience at the position he has all the tools to be a very good player.
NFL teams want to see Webster bulk up to compete at the NFL level. In D-II, he was overpowering offensive lines simply by running through them with his strength or right around them with his speed. If he can put on muscle and still maintain his quick first step and his ability to run down quarterbacks, he will be in good position to become a player in the near future.
Webster is the son of 11-year NFL defensive tackle Larry Webster. He has football in his blood and with two years of dominating performances at the D-II level, I like his chances in the NFL. He's currently projected as a 6th or 7th round pick and I don't think he will move that far forward. I originally projected him as high as the third round, but Webster is still flying under the radar. Though he would be a third round talent in some draft years, I don't think he will be selected earlier than the 5th round in this deep draft. But one team is sure to get excellent upside in the pass rush when selected on the last day of the draft.