One of the things the Lions received in exchange for defensive tackle Shaun Rogers was Cleveland's third-round pick. On the second day of the draft, the Lions used that pick to replace Rogers with another defensive tackle. That DT was Florida State's Andre Fluellen, who is seen by some as a sleeper type of player that could turn out to be something special.
Fluellen is undersized according to some of the "experts" out there, but that really doesn't hamper his abilities. He has suffered from injury troubles in the past, but when healthy, he is a great player. On top of that, he is another high character type of player that Rod Marinelli will love to have on his team.
Here is some info on Fluellen:
Strengths: Anticipates snap well, can locate the ball carrier quickly and flashes the ability to make plays in the backfield. Active feet and makes it difficult for blockers to sustain. Works hard, takes sound angles to the ball and can make plays in pursuit. Wraps up upon contact, generally brings the ball carrier down when gets hands on him and flashes the ability to deliver the big hit. Has a quick first step and shows adequate not great closing speed when gets a clear path to the quarterback. Flashes an effective rip move and is a relentless pass rusher. Moves well laterally and runs line stunts well.
Weaknesses: Undersized and isn't tall enough to add substantial bulk to frame. Tough and physical but gets engulfed by double teams and lacks ideal lower body strength. Doesn't use hands well and is far more effective attacking gap than occupying blockers. Lunges at times, ducks head at times and loses balance far too much. Can be overaggressive and gets caught too far upfield at times. Doesn't show great body control in space and has some problems making plays in the open field. Has yet to develop effective double moves and doesn't always force blockers to move their feet. Drives legs once in position but doesn't have great lower body strength and isn't a great bull rusher. Slowed by ankle and hamstring injuries in 2006, he missed three games with an elbow injury last year and his lack of size raises questions about his ability to stay healthy over the course of a 16-game season.
POSITIVES: Explosive penetrating defensive tackle who plays with tremendous quickness. Displays a great first step off the snap, quickly changes direction, and moves well about the field. Keeps his feet driving on contact, wedges between the small creases of the line, and makes plays up the field or out on the flanks. Immediately alters his angle of attack and redirects to the action.
NEGATIVES: Struggles against big opponents and easily pushed off the line. Slow locating the ball and not instinctive. Does not consistently play hard.
Great height with the frame to get bigger...Excellent athleticism...Good speed and quickness with a burst...Can penetrate and make plays in the backfield...Explosive off the snap...Fantastic first step...Mobile and pursues well...Still has some upside.
Does not have the type of bulk you look for...Has to get stronger...Plays with poor leverage and technique..Has an inconsistent motor...He's not stout at the point of attack...Limited pass rush repertoire...Average production...Durability is a concern.
SI Film Room:
Fluellen finding out he is a Lion:
Fluellen will likely come in and compete to be a backup defensive tackle this season, but if Shaun Cody plays below his expectations, there's always the chance that Langston Moore or Fluellen could move into the starting lineup.
Side note: My interview with Fluellen will be up sometime soon.