Rankings and quick lookaheads of all the defensive end prospects invited to the 2019 NFL Combine.
2019 NFL Defensive End Combine Workout: Sunday, March 3
Here we go with the 2019 NFL Combine, with all the breakdowns and analysis of every positive and negative for all of the top prospects. This isn’t that hard. Just simplify it – who can play football well enough to make an impact at the next level?
The bigger breakdowns will come before the NFL Draft, but for now – again, from the college perspective – here are the pre-combine rankings for all of the defensive ends invited to the big workout.
Before getting into the top five breakdown, here’s a ranking of the best of the rest.
2019 Pre-NFL Combine Defensive End Best of the Rest Rankings
Number in parentheses is the projected round drafted pre-NFL Combine.
33. (OLB) Jamal Davis, Akron 6-3, 233 (7 FA)
More of an outside linebacker than a true defensive end at the next level, he’s tough, he’ll always keep coming, and he can get behind the line, but he’ll likely make a team as a special teamer.
32. Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia 6-4, 277 (6)
There’s no spot for him as more than a backup. He’s not a pass rusher, and he’s he’s not a tackle. He’ll battle, he’ll do the dirty work, and he’ll be a versatile part of a line – just without a true role.
31. (OLB) Gerri Green, Mississippi State 6-4, 250 (7 FA)
Much, much better as a defensive end than a linebacker, he’s not quite an NFL lineman. The speed and frame are great, but there’s not really a set next-level role for him.
30. Darryl Johnson, North Carolina A&T 6-5, 232 (7 FA)
While he’s likely fall through the draft as an undersized pass rusher from a small school, he’s got the make-up to start out as a top special teamer and rotational end. He’s a flier, but there’s upside once he gets up to around 245 pounds.
29. (OLB) Malik Carney, North Carolina 6-3, 231 (6)
Too small, he’s going to be more of an outside linebacker than a true defensive end. However, he flies around and has a blast of a step to get into backfield. There will be a role for him.
28. (OLB) Wyatt Ray, Boston College 6-3, 250 (5)
There’s a problem with his lack of pure pass rushing blast for his size, and there might not be a set position for him. While he’s a try-hard type who’ll make a lot of plays, he’s a special teamer who’ll get erased by NFL blockers.
27. Carl Granderson, Wyoming 6-5, 261 (6)
While he can get bumped around a bit, he’s a pass rusher with a great first step. With his frame, he has room to get a wee bit bigger and stronger, and he’s tough to get around. The tools are there, but he’s going to be a wee bit of a project.
26. (DT) Byron Cowart, Maryland 6-3, 297 (7 FA)
While he never lived up to his immense prep hype, he’s still very big, very athletic, and he still looks like he’s out of central casting – almost. He could stand to be a little bit taller, but whatever. He’ll be a late pick – if he gets taken at all – with the tools to be a mega-steal.
25. Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan 6-5, 265 (6)
Ultra-productive tone-setter for a defense that turned things around over the last few years, he’s never going to take it easy, and he might just turn out to be a fantastic steal. He’s got the frame, now an NFL strength and conditioning coach has to do something with it.
24. CeCe Jefferson, Florida 6-1, 261 (6)
The body type doesn’t quite fit. He’s a tough defender who plays a bit more like an undersized tackle than a speed rusher. Everyone would love to have players with his attitude, but he’ll likely be limited to a backup end in a 3-4 scheme. Don’t expect much behind the line at the next level.
23. (OLB) Justin Hollins, Oregon 6-5, 243 (7 FA)
An interesting prospect with a great frame and upside to grow into a tweener of a pass rusher. He’s a fantastic athletic, but he’s only a third down specialist.
22. Kevin Givens, Penn State 6-1 285 (5)
The body type isn’t right. Quick, he’s a nice playmaker in the backfield who works for his production. But he’s not a tackle, and he’s not a true end. There’s no position for him, but he’ll be a key reserve who can fill in the gaps.
21. Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma State 6-3, 241 (5)
More talent than tools, he uses his non-stop motor to get into the backfield on want-to. He’s a bit too light, and he disappeared too often, but he’ll be a great value pick that will always bring the fuel.
20. Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois 6-0, 235 (6)
Way, way, WAY too small, he’s going to have to be a jack-of-all-trades special teamer and defender. A special pass rusher who knows how to get the job done, he’s got the attitude to somehow make it and be a defensive factor.
19. (OLB) Porter Gustin, USC 6-5, 267 (4)
It looked like he’d be a superstar after a great start to his career, but he couldn’t stay healthy. He’s a pure football player who always brings the fight, but can he stay in one piece? He’s better on the field than he’ll be in workouts.
18. (DT) Charles Omenihu, Texas 6-5, 274 (3)
There’s an intriguing combination of tools to play with. He’s more of an interior tweener than an outside pass rusher, being able to play at times as an undersized tackle more than a true end. There’s a lot to work with to get drafted just inside the top 100.
17. (DT) John Cominsky, Charleston 6-5, 285 (4)
A bulked up athlete with the size to be a strong backup end, he’s got the speed and he’ll destroy the workouts. Now he has to be a better football player. The tools are there to take a mid-round flier.
16. (DT) L.J. Collier, TCU 6-2, 272 (4)
Blow off his bowling ball size and his lack of pure athleticism. He’s a lunchpail pass rusher with a great body type to hold up against the run. There’s too much tweener, but a defensive coach will love his versatility.
15. Chase Winovich, Michigan 6-3, 257 (3)
Attitude and motor aren’t a problem, and he’s always going to find his way into the backfield and keep on coming. However, he’s a bit of a tweener without NFL size for an end, and he’s just not a next-level linebacker.
14. Anthony Nelson, Iowa 6-7, 271 (3)
Where is he going to play? A great pass rusher for his size, he’s a tough defender with a big body and great frame to get around. The body is there, but he’s only a 3-4 end.
13. Ben Banogu, TCU 6-4, 249 (3)
A nice tweener of a pass rusher who should grow into a situational role. He’ll get engulfed a bit too often against the run, but turn him loose and watch out.
12. Shareef Miller, Penn State 6-5, 260 (4)
Just a good football player, he has good size and the versatility to move around where needed, but his talent doesn’t necessarily translate to the next level – there’s too much work and tweaking to do. He’ll slide, but he’ll find a way to make an impact.
11. Jalen Jelks, Oregon 6-6, 244 (3)
While he’ll never be an anchor against the run, he’s a dangerous athlete who could be unleashed into a terror on third downs. He’ll always bring the effort and motor, but his game will be all about getting around the corner.
10. Austin Bryant, Clemson 6-4, 268 (3)
There’s just enough missing to push him out of the second round. He’s got great size and he’ll get behind the line, but he’s just okay against the run. He looks the part and has the tools to be terrific with a little more power.
9. (DT) Zach Allen, Boston College 6-5, 285 (2)
Where’s his position? He’s an underpowered tackle and not quite dangerous enough as an end. He’ll have to work as a 3-4 end, and his sack numbers might not be anything special. He’ll hold his own, but he’ll be missing that one true job.
8. Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion 6-4, 252 (2)
There’s a whole lot to love about his game. A relentlessly quick pass rusher, he’ll have to find the right role, and then he’ll blow up. He’ll get eaten alive against the run by NFL blockers, but he’s what you want from the outside.
7. Joe Jackson, Miami 6-5, 258 (2)
Let everyone else play a lot for those mufflers in the first round – Jackson will be an absolute steal outside of the top 32. No, he’s not the smoothest of pass rushers, and he probably won’t look the part in workouts, but he’s a tough guy’s tough guy who always produces.
6. (DT) Rashan Gary, Michigan 6-4, 280 (1)
If you want to count him as more of a tackle, then he’s in the top five on the DT list. But considering the class of pass rushers in this draft …
Why wasn’t he even better? The former superstar recruit is very big, very quick, very athletic, and he had all the NFL tools from the moment he signed on at Michigan.
Defensive linemen like this just don’t come around every day, and, okay, he was very, very good. He just wasn’t the jaw-dropping star – even though he earned All-Big Ten honors – who blew up on a national level. He’ll be a great pro who’ll be worth the top 15 overall pick. But again, with everyone looking for devastating pass rushers …
NEXT: Top 5 Defensive End Prospects Before the NFL Combine