Josh Chapman (via BrownsOrBust)
Josh Chapman is strong. He is insanely strong. He is strong mentally and he is strong physically. Physically, he can bench 580 pounds with regularity. He can squat 630. Remember Terrence Cody, whom many people thought we should draft in the 2010 NFL Draft? Chapman is much stronger, much quicker, and though not as dominant, he has much more potential in my humble opinion. But there is more to him than bench presses and power cleans.
Chapman was the anchor for the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide national championship defense. He was one of the biggest key cogs for one of the better college football defenses of the modern era. He started all but one game last year, and that was only one of two games he did not play in his entire career. Despite never being mentioned, he was very quietly one of the best players on the team last year. Consistency defined who he was. But that's not the half of it.Josh Chapman is square. His body type is exactly what you want in a defensive lineman. Despite being only 310 pounds, he is able to hold his own against multiple offensive lineman. Coming off the bench as a sophomore, he supplanted the 50 pounds heavier Terrence Cody with little dropoff. And then, the next year, he was the run-stopping key to the defense. But then we get to this year.
Chapman was not mentioned enough this year. I remember noticing him blow up plays, pushing back two offensive lineman. Nose guards like Chapman do not really show up in the statistic column; they are partially measured by how well their defense plays. This is especially true when looking at rushing defense and tackles for loss. The Chapman-led Alabama team ended up first in total defense, giving up 50 yards less per game than second-place LSU and a full yard less per play than third-place Georgia. Alabama allowed 75 rushing yards per game, and a total of 899 yards. Alabama led the nation in rush defense, pass defense, total defense, scoring efficiency defense, first downs allowed, third-down efficiency, and red zone efficiency. Chapman was possibly the most important player and one of the biggest reasons why people are asking if they could be the greatest of all time.
And he did it all on a torn ACL and a torn meniscus.
Remember, a torn ACL is what caused Kris Jenkins to retire. Yet Chapman played through it for an entire year and will participate in the combine despite it. When asked why he decided to finish his senior season rather than opt for surgery, Chapman said, "I didn't really want to give up like that. I really enjoyed playing. As long as it stayed right, I could play."
That is the very definition of toughness.
Although the ACL injury greatly concerns me, the will and determination that Chapman showed this year is outright amazing. The fact that he played through a season-threatening injury, that he lead a team to be one of the greatest of all time, that he gave his all for the team, is all I need to know.
Many are asking if Pouha will return this year. Many are asking if Kendrick Ellis will be what he turned out to be. Even if everything happens just as planned, I certainly think that another defensive lineman, especially in the late rounds, would be extremely important. Chapman is projected to go anywhere from the second round all the way to the fifth round. If he really does fall that far, I truly hope that the Jets pursue him.
After all, toughness and strength like Chapman doesn't come around every day.