Saturday, 16 March 2013

THE_TITAN's 2013 NFL Draft DE Rankings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State - Werner is the prototypical 4-3 defensive end, he has an excellent burst off the snap and is the perfect size to rush the passer as well as be stout against the run. His 13 sacks in 2012 prove that he has the ability to generate negative plays and this is clearly a rare attribute as elite pass rushers are few and far between. For this reason I expect Werner to be high on the boards of teams that run 4-3 defenses, and whoever drafts him won't be disappointed. Draft Ranking: Top 10

German-born Werner has the potential to be an elite DE.

2. Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon - Dion Jordan is an enigma to many. As a converted wide receiver you would expect him to have good athletic ability, and that he has, at 6'6 248lbs he has the body type to add weight and work as 4-3 DE or, conversely, at his current size he could contribute to 3-4 teams as a pass rushing OLB. Jordan tore it up at the Combine, running a 4.60 40yd dash, jumping 122 inches in the broad jump and running the 20yd shuttle in 4.35 seconds. At Oregon Jordan racked up 14.5 sacks and his length, speed and physicality will lead a team to draft him very early in the first round. Draft Ranking: Top 10

3. Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU - Kiki Mingo is a prospect that divides a lot of people. Some see him as a pass rusher in a 4-3 defense while others see him as strictly a 3-4 player. From a 4-3 perspective I certainly think he needs to add some bulk and weight but at 6'4 240lbs he has the body-type that could take on some more muscle. Mingo is pretty weak against the run and struggles to anchor, but his explosiveness off the snap and his elite athletic ability could make him a valuable pass rushing asset for a team. For this reason I think he will go early and despite his dip in form last season a team will fall in love with his potential. Draft Ranking: Top 15

4. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU - Ghanaian-born Ezekiel Ansah has only been playing football for three years and the fact that he got a Senior Bowl invite shows you how far this kid has come in such a short time. In my mind he has the highest ceiling of any defensive player in this draft. However, the team that drafts him has to be patient, he still has to develop his football knowledge and evolve his arsenal of pass rushing moves. Ansah occasionally looks like he hasn't got a clue what he is doing in games, yet his elite athletic ability and his dominant brute strength still leads to him making play after play. If a team has the patience for a project then they could be rewarded with one of the most exciting players in the NFL. Draft Ranking: Top 20

5. Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M - Moore's stock has taken a massive hit over the last couple of weeks. No doubt he has great production in the best college football conference (the SEC) as illustrated by his 12.5 sacks and combined 21 TFL. However there is a very distinct worry about his athletic ability after and extremely poor showing at the Combine and, in addition to that, there was already a worry about his size coming out of college. In the end I think he could be more suitable as a 3-4 OLB but a 4-3 team could still see him as a defensive end. There is no doubt the production is there but with Moore's poor-to-average athleticism there is some debate as to whether or not his play can translate to the NFL. Draft Ranking: Top 25

Moore is a highly productive player coming out of the SEC.

THE_TITAN's 2013 NFL Draft DT Rankings

1. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah - Star is my clear number one defensive tackle in the draft. After watching a lot of tape of the Tongan behemoth, it is clear to me that he has the ability to be a dominant force on any NFL team's defensive line. At 6'2 311lbs, Lotulelei  is the ideal size for a DT in a 4-3 scheme (though he could also be utilised in a 3-4 as a NT, I personally feel this would be wasting his talents somewhat). Star's strengths are the fact that he reads the game very well and has the ability to be a stout defender against the run but also rushes the passer effectively. Star is not really a technique guy and uses brute force and power to take on double teams and penetrate the interior offensive line. His non-stop motor allows him to be a dominant player in four quarters of football and wear down any opposing O-lineman. Star has no major weaknesses to speak of (he could get more sacks and use his hands more effectively), he is really a stud DT but his recent heart concerns at the Combine could change his draft stock somewhat. Draft Ranking: Top 5

Star Lotulelei should be considered for the 1st overall pick.

2. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri - Richardson is your prototypical 4-3 pass rushing defensive tackle. He has one of the best motors for any defensive lineman in the 2013 draft which is illustrated by his 75 tackles for Mizzou last season, those kind of numbers are unheard of for a DT on an SEC team. Richardson also benefits from being an elite athlete with the rare combination of speed, size and football smarts that will lead to him being an extremely hot commodity in the upcoming draft. Additionally, Richardson has a large arsenal of pass rushing moves which he has used to pile up a large number of negative plays for opposing offenses during his college career. Some character concerns and his lack of ability to anchor against the run will push Sheldon Richardson out from being a top 5 pick. Draft Ranking: Top 10

3. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida - Floyd is one of those players that I have always had ranked high but I am shocked to see the 'experts' ranking him in the top five picks (one even had him going first overall). Don't get me wrong, Floyd is an excellent DT prospect, he is a very good athlete and has had consistent production throughout his college career at Florida. He has a high motor, uses his hands well, good size and the ability to defend well against both run and pass. The only thing bringing him down to third position in my rankings is that I don't ever see him being a dominant player at the next level. I certainly see him being an above average DT but I don't see that ability to take over a game that I believe Richardson and Lotulelei have and for that reason Floyd is ranked third. Draft Ranking: Top 15

Sharrif Floyd is being overrated by many scouts.
4. Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State - Hankins is a guy that I see mainly as a run defender and space eater at the next level with the ability to collapse the pocket and handle double teams. He is not the greatest athlete, nor  is his tape nearly as impressive as those ranked ahead of him, but it is hard to find a guy with such a knack of being able to disrupt interior offensive lines on a consistent basis. The reason Hankins is ranked fourth is a combination of factors, mainly the fact that he is not a threat to get sacks or rush the passer at the next level. However 3-4 teams will be salivating over the prospect of having Hankins anchoring their defensive line and causing havoc on the interior. Draft Ranking: 1st Round

5. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue - Short is one of those players that a team could take a risk on and pick him a lot earlier than he is projected. My main concern with him, though, is that he is not consistent. When Short is at the top of his game he looks like a sure fire top 20 pick, but then he disappears for long stretches. Short has great size and length with the ability to take on double teams, defend the run and rush the passer. He is scheme versatile and would fit into either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. The bottom line is that Short is not consistent on tape and for that reason he falls to #5. With consistent play, Short may have been in the same conversation as Floyd. Draft Ranking: Late 1st Round-Early 2nd Round

Short has fallen down the rankings due to inconsistent play.