Sources Tell Us: USC D-lineman might need redshirt year in NFL

Editor's note: Our analysts are constantly talking to NFL and college sources about prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft. This week, analyst Lance Zierlein shares some of what he's hearing from NFL folks about two defensive prospects in this year's draft -- USC DE Rasheem Green and Alabama S Ronnie Harrison.

The scoop: "He probably would have been a top-10 pick next year. He's not strong enough to handle NFL guys yet, so this year might be a redshirt year for him. He has some serious juice, though. He's going to be a dude when it all comes together." -- AFC scout on USC DE Rasheem Green

The skinny: As someone who just finished watching Green's tape and writing his scouting report, I can tell you projecting his NFL future is a challenge. For one, he plays inside most of the time for USC, but he doesn't have the girth to play inside in a 4-3 defense as a pro. Green, who decided to forego his remaining season of college eligibility, will likely have to play defensive end in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense and rush from the interior on third downs. As a rusher, there are some "wow" flashes that give you an idea of what he could become, but he clearly has to get stronger and more consistent with his technique before he's ready for full-time work. He's a likely Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) pick.

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The scoop: "He's a feisty guy. Big and athletic, but he's not really the brains of the defense over there. He's not really 'that dude' who runs the show and I don't think he's going to be that kind of guy in the pros. He handles his work, though." -- NFC executive on Alabama S Ronnie Harrison

The skinny: Harrison has tremendous size and speed. He loves to hit. In my first mock of the 2018 draft, I project the Steelers to select him with the 28th overall pick. Pittsburgh feels like a natural fit for him considering his versatility as a cover and box safety. As for his personal leadership, I don't have knowledge of that, but I do know that he has the play demeanor and physical traits to start immediately and play at a high level for a long time.

Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.

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