2017 NFL Draft

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Danny Batten

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 246 | College: South Dakota State
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Each year a few Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, former D1AA) players sneak into the late rounds of the draft and have successful NFL careers. Batten's work ethic, versatility, strength and hustle endear him to NFL teams looking for guys willing to make plays on special teams and, potentially, get involved on offense or defense as they adjust to the speed of the game.

Batten earned All-American honors and finished third in the Buck Buchanan Award voting, given to the top defender in the FCS, after accumulating 85 tackles, 17 for loss, and nine sacks at the strong-side end spot for the Jackrabbits. The four-year starter had already won first-team all-conference honors twice, racking up 75 tackles, 14.5 for loss and eight sacks in his junior year and 67-12-4.5 in 2006. He started 10 of 11 games as a true freshman, making 46 stops, 9.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks.

Minnesota found out that Batten wasn't just teeing off against lesser competition, as the Gophers almost lost to SDSU thanks to his 12 tackles, 1.5 for loss and sack. Whether teams use Batten as a defensive end (like Montana alum/Atlanta Falcon Kroy Biermann) or linebacker (Cal Poly alum/Philadelphia Eagle Chris Gocong), where he played during Texas vs. the Nation practices, he'll be a solid player likely to stick in the league for some time.


Pass rush: Often used on the strong side because of his run-stopping ability, so pass rush came mostly from hustle and effort. Keeps coming after initial punch from tackle. Has good speed, flexibility and hand play to turn the corner if used that way. Stood up on some occasions to blitz inside gaps or come off the edge. Keeps his eyes in the backfield and gets hands up to deflect passes, but does not own the length to block many.

Run defense: Plays with leverage, standing strong against much bigger offensive tackles and able to disengage to reach the ball when it comes by him. Also moves down the line while engaged. Comes downhill when standing up to blow up fullbacks or attack the ballcarrier. Maintains containment on his side of the line. Rips off tight end blocks easily with strong hands. Will be engulfed by NFL tackles.

Explosion: Lacks elite quickness or pop for a strong-side defensive end but uses violent hands and has enough get-off to pressure the tackle's outside shoulder on a pass rush.

Strength: Plays with leverage and is quite strong for his size but lacks the bulk to turn tackles or push the pocket at the next level. May be best off playing linebacker in order to match up against tight ends or get the jump on tackles off the edge. Should handle most tight ends playing the nine-technique against the run and in coverage.

Tackling: Exceptional hustle and chase on the edge, whether the play is in front of or behind him. Plays low and changes directions well. Wraps and rarely lets go, even though his arms are not as long as many NFL defenders. Goes through the ballcarrier and delivers a serious blow on almost every tackle.

Intangibles: Durable, consistent, high-effort performer who plays hard through the fourth quarter. Vocal leader who congratulates teammates and lets them know when they did not complete their assignment.

2009 Season

Batten led the Jackrabbits in both tackles for loss (17) and sacks (nine) during the 2009 season. The Missouri Valley Football Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year and third-place finisher in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the FCS ranks, Batten ranked second on the squad with 85 total tackles, while adding a forced fumble and pass breakup.

2008 Season

Earned first-team all-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors after ranking second in the league with eight sacks … also led team with 14.5 tackles for loss and ranked fourth with 75 total tackles … named winner of Doug Miller Award for team defensive MVP?and also was an honorable mention All-America selection by College Sporting News … all of his sacks came in MVFC contests, including career-high two at Indiana State … notched at least three tackles in every game, led by career-high 11 stops against Cal Poly … aided second-half comeback at Stephen F. Austin with 24-yard return on first career interception … made eight tackles and was credited with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries in Beef Bowl victory over Western Illinois.

2007 Season

Started all 11 games and ranked sixth on team with 67 tackles … earned first-team all-Great West Football Conference honors after ranking third in league with 12 tackles for loss and sixth in sacks with 4 1/2 … recorded career-high 10 tackles, including a sack, in season-ending victory over North Dakota State … shared team's defensive player of the week honors in victory over Texas State after posting five total tackles, including two for loss and a sack, and two quarterback hurries … opened season with nine-tackle, half-sack performance at Western Illinois … also tallied sacks in games against Georgia Southern and Cal Poly … forced and recovered fumble in road win at UC Davis … blocked kick versus Northern Iowa … notched at least three tackles in every game … named honorable mention All-American by The Sports Network.

2006 Season

Cracked the starting lineup at defensive end as a true freshman … played in all 11 games with 10 starts … tied for sixth on team with 46 tackles and was third on squad with nine tackles for loss … named team's Defensive Player of the Week honors after tallying seven tackles versus William Penn (Iowa) … shared weekly defensive honors after seven-tackle performance at Nicholls State (La.) … registered seven tackles with three for loss and 1 1/2 sacks at Montana … recorded two stops in collegiate debut versus Wisconsin-La Crosse … collected four tackles and a fumble recovery at McNeese State (La.).

High School

Lettered three seasons for coach Rich Iverson at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Ariz. … earned first-team all-conference and honorable mention all-state as a senior, when he had 144 tackles, including seven sacks … gained 290 yards receiving with four touchdowns … also earned first-team all-state honors in rugby.


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