CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Defensive Ends

CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Defensive Ends

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CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Defensive Ends

CFN 2017 NFL Draft Analysis & Rankings: Defensive Ends


From the college football perspective, who are the top defensive ends in the 2017 NFL Draft?


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Led by the main man up top, it’s an interesting group – even if there aren’t a lot of devastating pass rushers.

A lot of the class depends on whether or not some of the tweener types play defensive end and not outside linebacker – or if they’re a hybrid of the two. Take out some of the options who aren’t true ends, and all of a sudden, the class becomes a little thin. However, the position will yield the No. 1 overall pick.

So what’s the college football analysis and take on the 2017 NFL Draft defensive end class? Who can play, and who can’t? It’s this simple – who are the ones who matter, and who are the ones who are just guys who’ll make it if someone gets lucky?

After seeing and covering these guys from recruiting until completion, from the college football perspective …

2017 NFL Draft: Defensive Ends

1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

There are absolutely no flaws. He’s about as perfect a defensive end prospect in terms of raw tools in the history of the NFL Draft, with prototype size, speed, quickness and power. Coming from a family of elite athletes, he brings that to the field with the ultimate rocked-up physique right out of central casting.

Okay, he might not have been the consistently dominant force he should’ve been considering his skills, he might not be a killer against the run, and he might have been going at three-quarters speed last season with a knee injury, but there’s no worry. Now that he’s going to be in the league, as long as he stays healthy, watch out for him to turn it loose and show why he’s the no-brainer No. 1 pick.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: No. 1 Overall

3. Solomon Thomas, Stanford

The only concern is Stanford – outside of Andrew Luck and a few offensive linemen, how many other Cardinal players have rocked since Richard Sherman? He’s a potentially devastating prospect, though, with good bulk, strength, quickness and pass rushing ability to be a multi-year Pro Bowl performer. He might not fit and one position, but there aren’t any worries – some team in the top five will find a spot for him.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Top Ten Overall

3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee

While he’s missing the raw bulk, he’s been one of the best playmakers in the SEC over the last few years with consistency, high-end production, and a terrific motor. While he might need technique work, that’ll come – he’s a rare pass rusher with a rare ability to keep making plays no matter what. Relentless, he keeps on producing.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 1st Round

4. Taco Charlton, Michigan

While Jabrill Peppers got all the love and national attention, Charlton was – after missing the first few games – the Wolverine’s best defensive player. The 6-6, 277-pounder was devastating in the backfield as an unstoppable pass rusher who could hold his own against the run. Can he repeat his 2016 season at the next level? If so, he’s going to be the star on someone’s defensive front.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 2nd Round

5. DeMarcus Walker, Florida State

One of the top defensive forces in college football last season, he owned the backfield and took over games. He did it all as a pass rusher with key play after key play on a talented line. Don’t get caught up in the likely knocks on his lack of speed around the edge. He’s a 6-4, 280-pound playmaker. Don’t ask questions.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 2nd Round

6. Carl Lawson, Auburn

Really, really strong and really, really quick, he’s a tweener who’ll be used as an outside linebacker and pure pass rusher. Health is the big question, having to get past a torn ACL and later a hip injury. He’s not a complete player, and he might end up being a one-trick guy, but that one trick could be at a Pro Bowl level.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 2nd Round

7. Jordan Willis, Kansas State

It’s all there for some GM to fall deep and hard in love. At 6-4 and 255 pounds, he’s got good length, can play at outside linebacker, and can get up front and be a tweener of an end. He needs more to his overall game, but he’s a phenomenal athlete to go along with his want-to and leadership. The guy is simply good at this whole football thing.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 2nd Round

8. Charles Harris, Missouri

More of an NFL linebacker than a true end, he’ll fill a variety of roles. The 6-3, 253-pounder doesn’t have raw tools – the combine was a bit of a disappointment – but he plays fast and he can dominate behind the line. Get a blocker on him, though, and bye-bye. Use him as a pure pass rusher, and he’ll be okay.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 2nd Round

9. Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M

It’s hard to look explosive on the same line as Myles Garrett, but Hall is a terrific athlete with the versatility and toughness to work in just about any system. He’ll slide after the first group of dangerous pass rushers, but someone will fall in love just outside of the top 50. He’s what coaches want – he’ll do whatever it takes to be an NFL factor.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

10. Deatrich Wise, Arkansas

Very big, he’s got a special frame with the length to work as a light tackle of a 275-pound end. He wasn’t nearly the playmaker expected last year with the Hogs, but he’s a powerful tackler with a motor that never stops. The speed and quickness aren’t there to be an NFL pass rusher, but he’ll produce against the run.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 4th Round

11. Dawuane Smoot, Illinois

There are certain guys who scouts are desperate to turn into a pro prospect no matter what. He’s a good athlete on the field, but he didn’t show it off at the combine. He’s got good 6-3, 264-pound size, but he was only mildly productive. He has the fight, and he’ll bring the effort, but he’s not going to be a force.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 4th Round

NFL Draft: Dumb Luck If Any Of These Defensive Ends Are NFL-Good Starters

12. Trey Hendrickson, Florida Atlantic

But where does he play? Will the 6-4, 266-pounder work as an outside linebacker or a defensive end? The most disruptive defensive player in Conference USA this season, he’s a killer in the backfield. Ultra-quick, he’s missing the power against the run, but he can move. Make him a specialist and let him go.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 4th Round

13. Tarell Basham, Ohio

A long-time good pass rusher at an All-MAC level, he got better and better as his career went on. With good size, great smarts, and a burst off the ball that doesn’t quit, he’ll be a nice mid-round grab with the versatility to fit every style. He might be more functional than sensational, but he’ll stick.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 4th Round

14. Josh Carraway, TCU

Yeah, the 6-3, 242-pounder will be more of an outside linebacker than a true defensive end, but with his quickness and athleticism, he’s got the upside to grow into a dangerous pas rushing specialist. He won’t do enough against the run, but he’s too quick to ignore in the mid-rounds

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 5th Round

15. Tanoh Kpassagnon, ViIlanova

With freakish 6-7, 290-pound size, he could get even bigger and end up potentially being unstoppable inside, or end up rising up as a dangerous pass rusher on the outside. Very smart, but needing a lot of work and a ton of fire to become a killer, he’ll be worth a flier. Just don’t expect anything big.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 3rd Round

16. Bryan Cox, Florida

The 6-3, 265-pounder was all banged up last year and didn’t do nearly enough. He’s not a smooth pass rusher when he’s right, and he could work as a big outside linebacker who could fill a need as a situational backup, but even with his fight and motor, he’s not a starter.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 5th Round

NFL Draft: Draft Them. Don’t. Whatever.

17. Hunter Dimick, Utah

Fine, so he’ll either be a late scout-love pick or a key free agent, but he’s a pure pass rusher who does that one thing very, very well. Able to take over games, he has a natural knack and great motor for ending up in the backfield. He has no NFL tools whatsoever, but for a guy who was an elite playmaker behind the line from high school on through his entire Utah career, give him a shot.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: Free Agent

18. Garrett Sickels, Penn State

One of the Big Ten’s best pass rushers, the 6-3, 260-pounder doesn’t have the athleticism or the quickness off the ball, but he always seems to get behind the line and ends up making several big plays. An all-motor guy, he’ll be a good backup or a really tough cut who’ll bounce around the league for a while.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 6th Round

19. Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern

He never lived or played up to the hype, and he was never the game-changing force he needed to be for the Wildcats, but he’s very strong, very athletic, and with the tools to be a whole lot better. He’s a pure flier who could be a third-down specialist.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 6th Round

20. Joe Mathis, Washington

A true tweener, the 6-2, 266-pounder will see time as an outside linebacker but could line up on the outside of a 4-3 if needed. He doesn’t have an elite burst off the ball, and he doesn’t look the part, but he’s a tough defender worth a shot.

Where He’ll Be Drafted: 7th Round

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