Under the radar: Colorado

We're continuing with our under the radar series.

The idea is to pick out a player who is not a big name, but who may be underrated. Or, at least, a guy who will need to step up and play a critical role in 2012.

We're going in reverse alphabetical order.

Colorado: DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe

2011 production: Totaled 18 tackles -- all solo -- and had 5.5 sacks. He also forced a team-high three fumbles.

Making the case for Uzo-Diribe: Of the eight defensive linemen named to the first and second team all-conference defense last year, only two of them (Nick Perry and Dion Jordan) had more sacks than Uzo-Diribe, who finished ninth in the conference. He tied for fifth in the conference in forced fumbles. But Colorado's poor defensive showing last season (last in scoring defense, 10th in total defense) didn't do much to help his credibility. He's an explosive player at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds and is certainly a defender that opposing offenses can't overlook. The biggest issue for him this spring was being more consistent against the run, and he seems to be making strides. He's poised for another good season -- potentially a breakout season -- and if some of Colorado's younger defenders can step up, he could be in line for some of the postseason honors that evaded him last year.