2013 NFL Draft Defensive End Rankings and Reports
I recently lost all of the information on my hard drive but I'm going to start the process of re-scouting some of the top pass rushers in this class. Enjoy!
Barkevious Mingo, Louisiana St.* (6'4”, 240, 4.55)
• Height and length are ideal for a defensive end or outside linebacker prospect
• Violent, active hand use prevents offensive linemen from being able to lock on
• Initial burst off of the snap is perhaps the best in the entire draft class; elite quickness
• Plays with a great deal of aggressiveness and has a motor which is always running
• Bend off of the edge is outstanding and can regularly win outside positioning
• Closing speed is elite and finishes with consistency due to hit power and tackling form
• Straight line speed is very impressive and showcases an outstanding pursuit range
• Excellent pad level allows him to win the leverage battle more often than not
• More stout as a run defender than expected given his lack of bulk; keeps legs churning
• Remembers to get his hands up to bat down passes when unable to reach the quarterback
• Mixes up his rush strategies in order to generate constant pressure on the quarterback
• Has played on both the left and right sides of Louisiana State's defense effectively
• Even lined up on some coverage units for Louisiana State and was effective there
• Appears to be more than athletic enough to develop zone coverage skills as a linebacker
• Has considerable upside considering he will only be entering his junior season in 2012
• Severe lack of bulk means he will have to show that he can handle considerable weight
• Ends up on the ground a little bit too often because he gets overly aggressive or too low
• Initial punch can be absorbed by offensive tackles and has some trouble winning with power
• Can get stuck on blocks when offensive linemen are able to lock onto his thin frame
• Plays a little bit out of control and can be run at when he commits to winning the outside
• Was mostly used as part of a rotation with Louisiana State's other quality pass rushers
• Was rushing out of a three-point stance far more often than he was standing up last year
• Only has one year of production in college so far; must continue to impress as a junior
Grade: First round
Alex Okafor, Texas (6’4”, 260, 4.65)
• Has a sturdy build along with the height and bulk to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4
• Long arms are effective at creating separation from offensive linemen
• Powerful style of play; can drive blockers back and shed blocks to get to the ball
• Tackling fundamentals are sound; wraps up with proper form and hits forcefully
• Change-of-direction is impressive; can bend the edge in order to get to the quarterback
• Motor is more than adequate; gives effort against the pass as well as the run
• Uses a few different pass rush moves in order to create pressure; active hand use
• Anchor is solid; avoids getting driven back too often by keeping his feet moving
• Does a nice job of scraping down the line in order to make plays against the run
• Has rushed out of both two and three-point stances in college (more effective from three)
• Inconsistency must be addressed in the 2012 season (week-to-week play)
• Must improve his initial quickness off of the snap; lags behind his teammates
• Recognition skills will require some work; ends up out of position a little bit too often
• Overly focused on winning the outside at times and surrenders inside (overaggression)
• Played the left end in college rather than the more reassuring right end position
• Pad level gets a little bit high when he rushes from a two-point stance
• Has not been an incredible finisher; six sacks in 2011 was a career high (10.5 total)
• Character will be investigated after being arrested in a bar this month
Grade: First round
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas* (6'4”, 250, 4.65)
• Ideal height for a pass rusher; has the arm length to shed blocks and bat passes
• Often rushes out of a two-point stance from the right side of the defensive line
• Gets off the snap is a hurry and can win battles with his initial burst a;pme
• Very active motor especially when rushing the passer; will not give up after initial move
• Can bend the corner, reroute, and challenge blockers with a surprising punch
• Bull rush is surprisingly effective considering his bulk; has an effective rip as well
• Keeps his feet moving after contact in order to compensate for lack of bulk
• Has been utilized in zone coverage out of a two-point stance in Texas' defense
• Gets his hands up in order to swat down passes at the line of scrimmage
• Was very effective as a sophomore in college; has a ton of room for improvement
• Would need to add a significant amount of bulk in order to play defensive end
• Relies more on his speed than his power; does not anchor especially well
• Inconsistent leverage; sometimes has trouble getting himself low enough to win battles
• Often takes poor angles in run support; sacrifices lanes by overemphasizing pass rush
• Plays with a bit of a narrow base and can be a bit slow to react laterally
• Ends up in the ground a little bit too often; can be knocked off balance with punch
• Will need to improve his coverage drops in the NFL; looks choppy in his backpedal
• Previous ankle injury will have to be medically examined at the NFL Combine
Grade: First round
Sam Montgomery, Louisiana St.* (6'4”, 250, 4.60)
• Height and length are ideal for a defensive end or outside linebacker prospect
• Bulk should already be adequate for some NFL teams looking for 3-4 outside linebackers
• Burst off of the snap is impressive and can sometimes win because of quickness alone
• Bend is above-average and can redirect effectively in order to reach the quarterback
• More effective than expected as a run defender; maintains gap responsibility well
• Uses hands in order to prevent blockers from locking on blockers and swat down passes
• Can rush with either speed or power in order to create pressure on the quarterback
• Healthy motor and is active in pursuit against the run as well; plays sideline-to-sideline
• Plays with leverage and knows how to shoot gaps by getting low and skinny
• Was extremely productive as a sophomore in 2011 (named to the All-SEC first team)
• Room for improvement is considerable after only one year as a starting defender
• Will need to add some bulk in order to play defensive end in most 4-3 schemes
• Winds up on the ground fairly often (could be a result of either strength or bulk)
• Too often blocked by tight ends because of his lack of playing strength; must churn legs
• Not as fluid or disruptive as Barkevious Mingo; gathers himself to change directions
• Instincts are fairly raw and must locate the ball and recognize plays more quickly
• Must demonstrate the ability to win the outside more often while rushing the passer
• Limited experience rushing out of a two-point stance; may show more in that area in 2012
• Really benefited from playing on Louisiana State's loaded defense and saw easy matchups
• Has only one year of starting experience and must continue his success next year
Grade: First round
Brandon Jenkins, Florida St. (6'3", 265, 4.70)
• Height and bulk are adequate for defensive end and ideal for outside linebacker
• Rushed from the right side in college despite playing with other quality rushers
• Shows a strong burst when getting off the line of scrimmage; closing speed is excellent
• Excellent bend when rushing from the edge; can swing back to the quarterback easily
• Creative use of varied pass-rush moves in order to catch blockers off guard
• Very active hand use is effective for preventing defenders from locking on
• Plays with a stronger initial punch than expected; compensates for relative lack of size
• Tenacity and motor are impressive on passing downs; loves to get after the quarterback
• Gets his hands up when he is unable to reach the quarterback (three batted passes)
• Highly productive over the previous two seasons in college and decided to return to school
• May end up being shorter than listed at the NFL Combine (Everette Brown three inches shorter)
• Almost exclusively rushed out of the three-point stance; didn't look as effective standing up
• Takes questionable angles in pursuit (too narrow/direct); could be an issue in coverage
• Overly focused on getting to the quarterback and could play the run more effectively
• Instincts when playing the run are too tentative; can be caught out of position or slow to react
• Ends up on the ground too often; ferocity sometimes leads to slipping on the field
• Somewhat of an inconsistent tackler who generally needs a direct path to make the stop
• Junior season was a bit of a step back from his sophomore year (13.5 sacks soph., 8.0 junior)
Grade: First or second round
Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist (6'7”, 290)
Athleticism: Incredibly strong and athletic; reportedly runs a 4.7 and has a 36” vertical leap.
Block Shedding: Long arms are extremely useful in this area; can assume two-gap responsibilities.
Burst: Has a surprising burst off of the line of scrimmage given his size; can win the edge off the snap.
Character: No known character concerns, but is overaged (will be a 25 year-old rookie.)
Durability: Has appeared in 40 games over three years at SMU; recently underwent shoulder surgery.
Experience: Did not begin playing football until 2009 but has extensive collegiate experience.
Hand Use: Active and uses his hands effectively in order to prevent blockers from locking on.
Instincts: Gets off of the snap quickly but is susceptible to misdirection plays at times.
Motor: Plays with a high motor and is aggressive in pursuit against the pass as well as the run.
Production: Only 16.5 career tackles for loss and just 7.5 career sacks; has blocked ten kicks.
Rush Moves: Must add more rush moves; overly relies on his strength and athleticism (bull rush.)
Size: Massive (6'7”, 290), long-limbed lineman with an 82” wingspan; could potentially add bulk.
Strength: Very strong for a 4-3 defensive end; reportedly has benched 225 pounds 35 times.
Tackling: Effective, forceful hit-and-wrap tackler who uses his long arms to his advantage.
Versatility: Primarily a right end, but has also blocked 14 kicks on special teams units.
Summary: Hunt's combination of size, strength, and athleticism will pique the interest of coaches looking for projects with high ceilings. Plays like a first-rounder at times, but his production has never matched his physical tools. Style of play and physical tools recall 2007 first-round pick Adam Carriker.
Ideal Fit(s): 3-4 defensive end, 4-3 defensive end
Grade: Second round
Devin Taylor, South Carolina (6'7”, 260, 4.75)
• Height and overall length are elite; physically resembles Bengals DE Michael Johnson
• Added considerable weight from his sophomore year to junior year; room for more growth
• Plays with an active motor and snap-to-snap effort is not a concern; fights through whistle
• Can win the outside with his initial burst and quickness; above-average bend back to QB
• Very aggressive, violent hitter who has a knack for picking up intimidating sacks
• Backside contain is sound; does not abandon gaps or fall for misdirection plays often
• Lined up in both two and three-point stances in college and looked comfortable standing up
• Frequently used in coverage (both man and zone); big and athletic enough to cover tight ends
• Has a very impressive spin move which has been used to create pressure; uses swim as well
• Intercepted one pass in each of the past two seasons; both picks were returned for touchdowns
• Has two years of college production already; one of the most accomplished rushers in the draft
• Frame could use some additional bulk in order to improve anchor as a 4-3 defensive end
• Leverage can be a problem due to his height; also rises too high out of his stance
• Balance must be improved; sometimes slips around and looks like he's playing on skates
• Does not possess an elite closing burst to the quarterback; more of a smooth accelerator
• More of a finesse player than a power player; primarily relies on quickness and moves
• Overall consistency is a concern; looks great one play and awkward on the next snap
• Did not have the junior campaign that many were expecting; looked better as a sophomore
• May not have the upside of some of the underclassmen; extensive on-field experience already
Bjoern Werner, Florida St.* (6'4”, 275, 4.80)
• Possesses the bulk necessary to remain at defensive end in the NFL
• Motor is the first thing that stands out on tape; very aggressive, tenacious player
• Plays with power and uses the bull rush to challenge offensive linemen
• Tackling technique is sound; hits and then wraps to make the stop
• Has a powerful anchor and is effective at shedding blocks in order to make plays
• Gets off of the snap fairly quickly and is adept at finding the ball fast
• Has handled some two-gap responsibilities when defending against the run
• Has some experience playing right end and defensive tackle in addition to left side
• Potential for improvement remains due to relative inexperience with football
• Height and arm length could both leave a little bit to be desired (may only be 6'2”)
• Closing burst is average; does not show a second gear when chasing the quarterback
• Lacks elite bend when rushing the passer and generally relies on his power
• Stiffness could limit him to teams running 4-3 schemes; may struggle in coverage
• Range is a little bit lacking against both the pass and the run; not the best athlete
• Could add to his repertoire of pass rush moves; mostly just a bull/rip rusher
• Plays primarily on the left side at Florida State because of Brandon Jenkins
• Only has one year of production under his belt and may benefit from staying in school
Grade: Second round
Upcoming scouting reports:
William Gholston, Michigan St.*
Dion Jordan, Oregon
John Simon, Ohio St.
I know we picked up Chandler Jones this draft and Hightower has the ability to put his hand on the ground too, but damn do I want us to pick up one of these guys. So many long rangy athletes who are just perfect for what Belichick looks for. Devin Taylor is the guy I would like to see us get the most but both LSU guys, both Texas guys, Gholston, and Werner are all potential fits.
I like Devin Taylor as a fit for New England as well; he drops into coverage regularly and has an extremely appealing combination of size (6'7", 260) and athleticism, with incredibly long arms. LSU's guys are probably too thin for Belichick's tastes. Ultimately the most realistic scenario in which New England drafts a pass rusher is if they decide to go with a four-down base (in which Chandler Jones would play on the right side and someone like Taylor or Alex Okafor played left end), or if Brandon Spikes is on the way out which would free up the SILB spot for Hightower. Spikes seemed to play well last year though; Belichick also said that he envisions Chandler Jones as a left outside linebacker (elephant), which would make Hightower the ROLB in the 3-4. Therefore a five-technique seems like a more natural projection at this point, although the Patriots could also have the opportunity to pursue Glenn Dorsey (2012 is the final year of his deal) or Tyson Jackson (owed $14.7 million in 2013) in free agency. Both players have a significant amount of experience playing for Romeo Crennel.
I like Devin Taylor's physical skillset but I think he plays soft. My wet dream right now is Sam Montgomery getting slightly injured towards the end of the season so he somehow drops to NE :) Will Gholston would also be nice, but the ghost of his cousin still haunts me.
Margus Hunt is my wet dream as a 3-4DE need a player like him.
I agree with you that William Gholston's size/strength/playing demeanor are very appealing. Sam Montgomery should be a dynamic pass rusher in the NFL, but does anyone seriously think Belichick would draft a 240 pound pass rusher?
It could be a shame to because next year's class looks to be the strongest pass rushing class in a long time
Hmmm....Jeffcoat or Okafor?
Also a big fan of Montgomery. How would Devin Taylor do in a 3-4? I agree with Razor that he plays a little soft.
Devin Taylor is incredibly raw. I don't think being soft is a problem with him at all. I saw good effort and solid awareness and football IQ throughout the Clemson-South Carolina game which I evaluated in-depth about a week ago. I don't think he is as sudden or as special of an athlete as most claim. I don't think Taylor is a bad athlete, I just don't see elite. As of now, he rarely uses his hands and just looks sloppy rushing the passer. He was matched up with Clemson's RT, who went undrafted, and was neutralized most of the game because Taylor just isn't polished.
I don't think Taylor belongs in the first right now. I don't see the special athletic ability everybody raves about, he plays high, and has minimal hand usage. Very raw.
I agree with the last part. But I also saw a lack of physicality from him as well. The only game in which he impressed me was against Georgia.
This DE class has the potential to have 3+ DE's taken in the top 10 depending on who declares. Teams will always need pass rushers and right now I project Mingo, Jones, Okafor as possible top 10 picks. Guys like Montgomery, Jeffcoat and Gholston all are possible top 20 picks as well. I really hope Oakland gets one of these guys to play DE.
Next year's pass rushing class is incredible. I wouldn't mind a guy like Jeffcoat falling to the Vikigns in round 2, though we will have bigger needs.
I think you're underrating Jeffcoat as a run defender.
Right now at this point in the draft process, I'm a big fan of Okafor followed by Gholston, Montgomery Jeffcoat, Jordan, Werner and Simon. They all have the look of 1st rounders to me. Mingo and Taylor are a step behind but they still have to play the season where anything can and will happen.
I'd have to look into character and measurables a little bit more and obviously there is a lot of scouting I still have to do, but as of now I'd probably rank them as something like:
4-3 defensive end:
Alex Okafor (1)
Devin Taylor (1)
William Gholston (1)
Brandon Jenkins (1-2)
John Simon (2)
Bjoern Werner (2)
3-4 outside linebacker:
Jarvis Jones (1)
Sam Montgomery (1)
Barkevious Mingo (1)
Jackson Jeffcoat (1)
Dion Jordan (2)
Just added a report for Bjoern Werner; his style of play is incredibly appealing but he may be a little bit too stiff to play linebacker in the NFL and profiles as a 4-3 left end.
I think Mingo is overrated as a 3-4 OLB unless he gains some weight. Great frame and movement skills, but not sure about him yet.
Here are some other guys, Carradine could be a 1st round pick with a good year, he can be a beast. And Square/Stinson are absolute book end DEs in a 3/4 potentially, especially Square.
Cornellius Carradine Florida State
Damion Square Alabama
Corey Lemonier Auburn JR
Ed Stinson Alabama JR
Earl Okine Florida
Craig Roh Michigan
Malliciah Goodman Clemson
Wes Horton USC
Tyler Hoover Michigan State
Gerald Rivers Ole Miss
Taylor Wyndham Kentucky
Colton Miles-Nash Arkansas
Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery reports are up! I had initially thought Sam Montgomery was the superior prospect, but on tape Mingo looks noticeably more disruptive. I'd grade Mingo out as a top five or ten pick, and Montgomery as someone who could go in the teens or early twenties.
Wes Horton's sister is really hot.
Anyone named Malliciah is winning.
EDIT: Decided to go with a second-round grade for Devin Taylor; he could end up going in the first round depending on his senior season but the junior campaign wasn't consistent enough for me to give him the first-round grade.
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