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Deep sleepers: Late-round defensive prospects to watch

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This is part two of our "Huh? Who is that dude?" primer -- the defensive players' version -- for the 2015 NFL Draft.

The offensive players' version ran Thursday.


» Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 prospects for 2015 NFL Draft


Every year, there is a late-round pick (or three) of a non-FBS player whom very few folks know anything about -- a player such as Central Arkansas DE Jacob Ford, Northwestern State CB Jeremy Lane or Washburn CB Cary Williams. Here are some guys who fit that mold this season. Each of these prospects played at the FCS level or below, and none were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.

CB DeVante Bausby, Pittsburg State

The particulars: 6-foot-2, 179 pounds.
The skinny: Bausby was considered one of the top four prep defensive backs in the state of Missouri as a high school senior during the 2010 season by rivals.com. Even then, his lack of bulk was an issue: He was listed as a 156-pounder. While he definitely could stand to add some weight and bulk, he is a big-time athlete from the same Division II school in Kansas that produced Arizona Cardinals rookie WR John Brown. Bausby, a three-year starter for the Gorillas, reportedly ran what was called a "wind-aided" 4.22-second 40-yard dash at his recent pro day. Regardless of the wind, that kind of speed and that kind of height intrigues teams. Pittsburg State, which also is the alma mater of former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Kendall Gammon, hasn't had a defensive player drafted since 1993.

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CB Al-Hajj Shabazz, West Chester

The particulars: 6-2, 200.
The skinny: Here's another "big" corner -- and this one doesn't lack bulk. Shabazz was a three-year starter for West Chester, a Division II school in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester. Shabazz played the "shutdown corner" role in college and finished his career with 10 interceptions and 23 pass breakups. Shabazz, who played high school ball in Philadelphia, is trying to become the first draft pick from West Chester since 1994; that was LB Lee Woodall, who spent eight seasons in the NFL.

DL Tory Slater, West Georgia

The particulars: 6-5, 290.
The skinny: It might be hard to believe, given his current weight, but Slater was a wide receiver/outside linebacker -- and a hurdler -- in high school in the Atlanta area. When he signed in February 2011, he was listed at 6-4 and 190. He played outside linebacker as a true freshman, but gained 55 pounds and was a 245-pound defensive end as a sophomore. He was up to 270 as a junior and was listed at 290 as a senior last fall, when he had 10 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and 69 overall tackles. While he was an end in college, he could move inside at the next level. Slater is athletic for a big man, though he remains raw in terms of technique. Division II West Georgia -- located in Carrollton, about 50 miles west of Atlanta -- never has had a player drafted.

CB Tray Walker, Texas Southern

The particulars: 6-2, 187.
The skinny: His measurables are a big selling point, and he had a solid pro-day performance recently. Walker played football and was a track athlete (sprints and the long jump) in high school at powerful Miami Northwestern, where he was teammates with, among others, Teddy Bridgewater. While he was not invited to the combine, he did participate in the Super Regional Combine in Phoenix and looked good. He has long arms (almost 34 inches), which is another desired trait for corners. Walker is raw and needs technique work, but his size alleviates some concerns. FCS member Texas Southern hasn't had a player drafted since 2000. Its most famous football-playing alum is Pro Football Hall of Fame DE Michael Strahan, and there are numerous other former Texas Southern players who should be familiar to NFL fans, among them DT Julius Adams, WR Ken Burrough, DT Ernie Holmes, OT Winston Hill, WR Warren Wells and RB Willie Ellison.


» Bucky Brooks' top five 2015 NFL Draft prospects by position


DT Davon Walls, Lincoln

The particulars: 6-6, 290.
The skinny: Walls played just one season at Lincoln, a Division II school in Jefferson City, Mo. Walls is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who played football and basketball in high school (he was a teammate of Atlanta Hawks swingman Lance Stephenson at Brooklyn's Abraham Lincoln High); he then played football and basketball at Fresno College for a year before moving on to Coahoma CC in Mississippi to play only football. He signed with Syracuse in 2012 and played in three games that fall. He was dismissed from school in 2013 after he was arrested on burglary charges (he eventually pleaded guilty and was placed on probation), then moved on and played at Lincoln in 2014; he had 10 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss for the Blue Tigers. He is a massive man with good feet and athleticism, but he is extremely raw and is going to require seasoning. Lincoln hasn't had a player drafted since 1975. The best-known Lincoln alum is former NFL CB Lemar Parrish, who had 47 interceptions in 13 NFL seasons (1970-82); he was a seventh-round pick in '70 by the Cincinnati Bengals and also played for the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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