Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE
Here's a plugger from the land of Lincoln
A Defensive Tackle prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos in the mid rounds is Illinois DT Akeem Spence. Spence is a 6'1 305lb defensive tackle who's expected to be a 3rd or 4th round selection as of now in Aprils NFL Draft. Spence ranks as the 10th overall Defensive Tackle in this years crop, and according too CBSSports.com Spence ranks as the 105th overall prospect in this years draft.
Spence played 3 years at the University of Illinois and had a decent career. During his career he totaled 186 tackles, 16.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Spence had a solid sophomore and junior seasons. He totaled 69 and 72 tackles in those years, 5.5 and 7.5 tackles for a loss, and 1.5 and 1 sacks.
94 - Akeem Spence
Height / Weight:
6-1 / 305
Started every game of his career (38 consecutive)
Helped lead Illinois to back-to-back bowl victories in 2010 (Texas Bowl) and 2011 (Kraft Fight Hunger)
Anchored a 2011 Illini defense that ranked seventh nationally in total defense (286.2 ypg) and third nationally in pass defense (162.3 ypg)
Had 186 career tackles, 16.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks
Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (2012)
First-Team Freshman All-American by Phil Steele, Rivals.com and the FWAA (2010)
2011 NW Florida All Sports Association Collegiate Award winner
Earned bachelor's degree in communicatioin in Dec. 2012
RS Junior: Honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by both coaches and media ... Started all 12 games in 2012 and started all 38 games of his UI career at defensive tackle ... Ranked third on the team in tackles with 72 and tied for second on team with 7.0 TFLs ... Set career highs in tackles (11), solos (7) and TFLs (2.0) at Northwestern ... Led the team with nine tackles against Purdue, including five solos ... Posted nine tackles, including 1.5 TFLs, against Minnesota ... Made six tackles, including a half-sack, at Ohio State ... Recorded five tackles against Indiana ... Registered five tackles, including one TFL, at Michigan ... Recorded five tackles at Wisconsin ... Had nine tackles, including one TFL against Penn State ... Recorded seven tackles against Louisiana Tech ... Had a half-TFL and a hurry against Charleston Southern ... Forced a goal-line fumble on the opening drive at Arizona State ... Recorded a half-sack and half-TFL to go along with three tackles against Western Michigan ... Named to the preseason watch lists for the Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award.
RS Sophomore: Started all 13 games on the season ... Ranked fourth on the team with 69 tackles on the season, including 5.5 TFLs and 1.5 sacks ... Notched two tackles and a half-sack in Illinois' win over UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl ... Recorded seven tackles against Minnesota ... Tied career high with nine tackles and a half-TFL against Michigan ... Recorded six tackles and one TFL at Penn State ... Posted eight tackles, one TFL and forced and recovered a fumble at Purdue ... Recorded five tackles, one TFL and a half-sack against Ohio State ... Posted a career-high nine tackles in win over Northwestern ... Posted four tackles, including a half-TFL and half-sack, against Arizona State ... Notched three tackles, including a TFL and a QB hurry, in win over South Dakota State ... Was the 2012 NW Florida All Sports Association Collegiate Award Winner.
NFL.com Scouting report on Spence:
Good build, carries his weight well. Strong hands. Can jolt offensive lineman, and is a physical tackling presence. Moves down the line well, shows good range. Can hold at the point of attack. Lots of starting experience, doesn't tire easily.
Doesn't explode off the ball. Fires off with higher than ideal pad level. Slow to use his hands. Won't run legs when engaged. Not the best at handling doubles. Not much of a pass rusher.
NFL COMPARISON - Sione Fua
Spence has a good build and displays a strong set of hands. He's a physical tackler, and will make tackles all around the line of scrimmage. However, he needs to improve how he comes off the ball, and needs to make better use of the power in his upper and lower body. He should be a mid-round selection as a 4-3 nose tackle.
CBSSports.com Scouting Report on Spence
Spence is a physical tackler and powerful hitter, showing good range and mobility for an interior lineman. He has good awareness to find the run lane and halt ballcarriers. Spence isn't much of a pass rusher at this point (3.5 career sacks), but has good experience, starting every game for Illinois the past three seasons (38 starts). Good experience, starting every game for Illinois the past three seasons (38 starts).
Needs to improve his leverage and timing in meeting ballcarriers at the line, and keeping his eyels level to follow the ball and not take himself out of the play. Spence isn't much of a pass rusher at this point (3.5 career sacks).
I knew very little of Spence before doing this, but i liked what i read. He offers very little as a pass rusher, and seems nothing more than a nose tackle in a 4-3. With Justin Bannan getting older, and being a Free Agent, a Nose Tackle is an area of need. I wouldn't be upset with the addition of Spence. Seems like a good guy, tough and reliable. Should be available for the Broncos in the 3rd or 4th round, would be a solid pickup i believe.