They used extensive criteria that included (but was not limited to) pass rush, run defense, tackling, explosion, strength, and physical makeup into determining how those attributes translate to the NFL.
The ten-best pass rusher prospects are:
1. Quinton Coples - DT/DE – North Carolina, Sr., 6’6” 281 Lbs. – Coples is the most physically gifted athlete in this draft. If he worked to improve his skill set he could dominate the NFL but he relies too much on natural ability. With that alone, he will still be highly effective as a 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT.
2. Michael Brockers - DE – LSU, rSo., 6’5” 306 Lbs. – As a defensive tackle, Brockers would struggle to make our top 5 but his violent use of his arms and athleticism make him an appealing 5 technique.
3. Jerel Worthy – DT – Michigan State, rJr., 6’3” 310 Lbs. – The most dominant defensive tackle in this group. We love his size and how well he uses it. He doesn’t just move well or eat up space, he causes havoc.
4. Melvin Ingram – DT – South Carolina, rSr., 6’2” 276 Lbs. – A lot of talk has surrounded Ingram playing the outside linebacker position in a 3-4. On tape he’s by far, the most effective when he uses his ability against the interior of the offensive line. Standing him up takes away from his explosiveness. The ideal fit would be in a scheme that would move him around.
5. Fletcher Cox – DE/DT – Mississippi State, Jr., 6’4” 295 Lbs. – Cox moves better than any 300 pounder that we have seen. He would be effective inside or out. He’s fast, strong, and doesn’t quit.
6. Devon Still - DT – Penn State, rSr., 6’4” 310 Lbs. – Still is explosive but he doesn’t always show up. He’s a lesser version of Coples. He loses at the point way too often.
7. Brandon Thompson – DT – Clemson, Sr., 6’2” 311 Lbs. – When Thompson has his head over the ball in the 1 technique, they may not be anyone quicker off the snap. He’s a big body that not only can stand up two defenders but can also penetrate quickly.
8. Malik Jackson - DE – Tennessee, Sr., 6’5” 270 Lbs. – Jackson carries 270 well. He should be able to add another 15-20 pounds and play the 5 technique. This will play more to his strength than inside or trying to get the edge 90% of the time.
9. Billy Winn – DE/DT – Boise State, rSr., 6’3” 296 Lbs. – Winn is another one of these easy moving big bodies. This is a great class to find explosive 300 pounders. He has the skill set to be effective in whatever the defense call for.
10. Jared Crick - DE – Nebraska, rSr., 6’4” 285 Lbs. – Talk has been surrounding Crick for a few years now. When Ndamukong Suh was coming out, people were already talking about how good Crick looked on tape. He definitely benefited from Suh but proved capable of holding his own as well.
Several other 4-3 DTs / 3-4 DEs were intriguing to us, and we will continue to keep an eye on these players who were on the bubble:
a. Kendall Reyes – DT/DE – Connecticut, rSr., 6’4” 300 Lbs.
b. Derek Wolfe - DE – Cincinnati, Sr., 6’5” 286 Lbs.
c. Chandler Jones - DE – Syracuse, rJr.,6’5” 265 Lbs.
d. Kheeston Randall – DT/DE – Texas, Sr., 6’5” 297 Lbs.
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock