Category: Defensive End

DE Shareef Miller, Penn St.*

6’5” – 254 lbs. – 4.69

Appeared in fourteen games as a redshirt freshman, posting 22-5.0-1.5, then has been starting for the past two seasons. Went 37-11.5-5.5 as a sophomore and 41-15.0-7.5 as a junior before declaring for the draft. Tall with solid bulk and good length, although he has a high-cut frame. Lined up as the left defensive end for the Nittany Lions, often playing out of a four-point stance. Has good reaction times to the ball being snapped, firing out low with some explosiveness. As a run defender, sets a pretty hard edge, gets some extension with his arms, and has enough power in his hands to occasionally reset the line of scrimmage. Can attack the B-gap and knife into the backfield to create congestion on inside attempts. Has some power in his hands to shed blockers. Gives good effort in pursuit, but range is a little bit limited; capable of making tackles in backside pursuit when given a free release but won’t usually make it out toward the sidelines. Also has a solid tackling radius but doesn’t bring down a high percentage of the ballcarriers he’s in position to make a play on because he resorts to arm tackles instead of framing up opponents. More of an attacking defender than a read-and-react player but appears to have the sand in his pants to hold the point of attack. Not quite as impressive as a pass-rusher. As mentioned before, has a high-cut frame with long legs and consequently looks a little bit linear. Struggles to win the edge with his first step and bend back to the quarterback, tending to take a more direct approach to rushing which involves using his power and hand use to try and find lanes. May need to vary his rush approach more and try to improve his flexibility so there’s at least a threat of him lowering his shoulder and bending a smooth arc to the passer. Shows balance issues when he’s trying to bend and needs to gather when he wants to change direction. Flashes some straight-line speed to close when he’s schemed open on twists/stunts. Wasn’t asked to make drops into coverage during the games reviewed and may not be an ideal choice for that type of role; could be a defensive end only. A player with the size, length, and power to rotate into a defensive line, but who may lack the flexibility and creativity to produce as a pass rusher at the pro level. Mid-round consideration.

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DE Zach Allen, Boston College

6’4” – 281 lbs. – 5.00

Appeared in twenty-five games over his first two seasons with the Eagles, starting one game as a sophomore (in a productive 36-10.0-6.0 campaign) before taking over a full-time starting role and posting 100-15.5-6.0 and 61-15.0-6.5 in his junior and senior seasons, respectively. Tall and thickly-built defensive end whose frame looks pretty much maxed out; good bulk in his lower body. Plays on both ends of the defensive line, in different techniques; team’s base defense uses four down linemen. Gets his arms extended to keep opposing blockers out of his pads in the run game; uses his hands to shed blockers successfully. Does a good job of keeping track of opposing when engaged. Good discipline in backside contain; stays home to prevent cutback opportunities. Able to use his size and strength to anchor against power, but is more of a read-and-react player who can stack and shed near the line than a powerful bull-rusher who resets the line of scrimmage. Gives some effort in pursuit but doesn’t really have the straight-line speed to chase runners toward the sidelines or make tackles further down the field. Refined pass-rusher who regularly mixes up his approach. Smooth mover who takes long strides and can bend the edge a little bit, but isn’t the most explosive player; nevertheless, goes with an outside rush on a sizable portion of his snaps. Uses his hands well; can swim or swipe his way past an opposing tackle. Flashes the ability to get under an opponent’s pads and convert speed to power to collapse the pocket. Has enough short-area quickness to penetrate with inside moves off the snap. Gets his hands up to bat down passes and was productive in that regard as a senior. Didn’t see him take enough snaps as an inside rusher to get a feel for his ability to generate pressure but has the type of frame to potentially do that. Also has some special-teams value, having blocked two kicks as a senior. An interesting prospect who combines a big frame with silky-smooth movement skills and plenty of variety in his rush repertoire; doesn’t have the raw speed and explosiveness teams look for in a primary pass-rusher, but he gets the most out of his skillset and doesn’t really have any other shortcomings. Ceiling might be a little bit limited, but will be coming into the league with the type of body and sophistication to contribute sooner rather than later and to give the team that drafts him peace-of-mind.

DE Rashan Gary, Michigan*

6’4” – 277 lbs. – 4.58

Rotated into the defense over thirteen games as a freshman (24-5.0-1.0), then had a big sophomore season which turned out to be his most productive (66-12.0-6.0). Only got onto the field for nine games as a junior and had a somewhat down year (44-7.5-3.5) but decided to declare for the draft anyway. Typically lines up as a defensive end, taking snaps from different techniques and on both sides of the line of scrimmage; rarely slid inside even on obvious passing downs, and that may not really be his position in a base defense. Pretty big for a defensive end and can absorb contact and mix it up in the run game. Plus athlete who can scrape down the line of scrimmage and flow toward the ball. Demonstrates the ability to lock out and shed blockers to make tackles in the run game. Good discipline when working in backside contain; stays home and doesn’t get sucked in by misdirection. Exhibits a strong motor in pursuit and can make some tackles from the backside; well-conditioned athlete who’s willing to chase to the sideline on a snap-to-snap basis. Tenacious pass-rusher who brings a lot of energy on a snap-to-snap basis. Tends to rely on his ability to convert speed to power, with good extension and leg drive to walk back opposing offensive tackles and generate pressure on the quarterback. Looks pretty smooth dipping his shoulder and bending back to the quarterback when rushing from a wide alignment. Uses hands well to slip blockers. Good closing burst to finish; uses his length to attack the ball. Would like to see him rushing more from the inside on tape to get a feel for his capacity to generate pressure against interior linemen; inside pressure usually comes from stunts and twists. Could stand to vary his approach a little bit and work more inside moves into his game. Pass-rush production leaves a little bit to be desired in a top prospect, but looked difficult to handle on tape. A very well-rounded, likable prospect who plays with the physicality, ferociousness, and awareness to develop into a valuable member of a defensive line, converting his explosiveness into power and offering enough speed to challenge the edge. Seems more like a pure defensive end who might be able to slide inside in some situations at the next level than a defensive tackle prospect and looks to be a strong candidate for the first half of the first round.

DE Porter Gustin, Southern California

6’5” – 255 lbs. – 4.69

Rotated into the defense as an outside linebacker in his freshman season, ending up with 25-7.0-5.5. Took over a starting job at the position the following year posting 68-13.0-5.5. Was limited to just four games due to various injuries as a junior but still managed three sacks. Ended up playing in just six games as a senior but managed 28-10.0-7.5. Has a good combination of height and length for an edge defender, with arms which measured 33” in Indianapolis; body is high cut and still a little bit gangly, could probably fit another ten pounds on. Stands up on the end of the Trojans’ defensive front as a rush linebacker; didn’t really see him taking snaps with his hand in the dirt during the games reviewed. Has the tools to develop into a solid run defender. Not overwhelmingly powerful, but gets good extension with his arms and is active with his hands to attack blockers. Good patience when working in backside contain. Athletic enough to flow to the ball on sweeps and stretch runs. Good closing speed and a wide radius to make tackles when he finds a clear lane. Not the most refined pass-rusher, but demonstrates a good motor and sense of urgency. Has enough explosiveness and straight-line speed to get depth off the snap and then try to redirect back to the passer, and bends a pretty smooth arc, although often too deep. Flashes the ability to use his hands to set up and ragdoll opposing tackles, and has some ability to convert speed to power. Does a good job on stunts/twists, which are well-suited to his athletic profile. As in the run game, has a good closing burst to finish his rushes. Wasn’t used as much in coverage despite playing outside linebacker; almost exclusively a downhill player at the college level. Major question is his durability, having appeared in just ten games over the past two seasons; Combine medicals were more important for his stock than the workouts themselves, in which he performed pretty well. However, if teams are satisfied that his injury history represented a string of bad luck that won’t affect him going forward, looks like a solid bet to come off the board by the mid-rounds, as he offers an impressive combination of size, length, and athletic ability which allowed him to produce at a high level when he was on the field. May have a bit of an adjustment period where he fills out his frame a bit more and adjusts to working in coverage.

DE Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion

6’4” – 253 lbs. – 4.78

Redshirted, and has been starting ever since, with escalating production in each season: recorded 32-7.5-5.0 in 2015, 42-11.5-7.5 in 2016, 44-14.0-8.5 in 2017, and 58-18.5-12.0 in 2018, with a total of eleven forced fumbles over that time period. Listed size is in line with what teams look for on the edge. Often lined up as his team’s left end, playing different techniques. Flashes the ability to discard blockers in the run game. Uses his quickness off the ball to disrupt opposing runners. Can flow down the line to the ballcarrier. Good closing burst and a wide tackling radius. Could be more disciplined about setting the edge; will let himself get sealed inside at times by trying to anticipate rushing lanes. Gets knocked off-balance by punches and chip-blocks too often. Doesn’t always make full use of his length. Exhibits the type of motor teams look for in a pass rusher. Stutter-stepper with suddenness and fluidity. Good reaction times to the ball being snapped and is often the first defender off the line. Explosive mover, but who typically tries to fool opponents instead of beating them with pure speed. Has active hands and does a good job of making it difficult for opponents to square him up and land accurate punches; mixes up his approaches, with his best move at this point being his swipe. Good ball awareness to go for the strip or bat down passes when he’s in position to do so. A finesse rusher who doesn’t bull-rush or convert speed to power very frequently on tape. Has some experience rushing out of a two-point stance, but didn’t really drop into coverage like a typical rush linebacker. Still a little bit raw, but has the physical and athletic tools to potentially develop into a starter on the end of a defensive line; has some of the rush tools to try rotating into a defense on passing downs earlier in his career, but it would be nice to see more discipline and more of a power element to his game when it comes to setting the edge. Would fit best in a one-gap defense which allowed him to use his quickness and creativity to his advantage, and could draw second-day interest from a team with that type of scheme.

DE Nick Bosa, Ohio St.*

6’4” – 266 lbs. – 4.79

Was a productive member of the defense as a true freshman, posting 29-7.0-5.0 despite rotating in alongside Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes, and Tyquan Lewis, then stepped into a full-time starting role as a sophomore and went 34-16.0-8.5. Junior season ended after just three games due to a core muscle injury, but still managed to go 14-6.0-4.0 in that span. Tall, with pretty solid bulk for a pass-rusher; looked bigger as a junior. Played both end spots on the Buckeye line. Came from Greg Schiano’s swarming, one-gap defensive front, and has the quickness to disrupt rushing attempts by creating penetration off the snap. Plays with a good pad level, fires out low and does a good job of using his hands to get past blockers. Also exhibits the ability to extend his arms and dig in against power, dropping his anchor and functioning as a two-gap, read-and-react defender. Good timing when stacking and shedding blockers, with a wide tackling radius to bring down ballcarriers. Very rangy in pursuit, both because of his effort and because of his speed. Level of activity allows him to work through trash and flow toward the ball. Can sometimes get too aggressive and take himself out of position; would like to see a little bit more patience. Highly productive pass-rusher who projects as a primary option at the next level. Get-off can be a little bit inconsistent at times but covers a lot of ground with his first step to challenge the edge with speed. Also does a great job of mixing up his rush approach and working in a generous amount of inside moves, using his suddenness to threaten gaps. Hand use really stands out, getting his arms extended to keep opponents out of his frame and using swipes and slaps to avoid being engaged. Very good body control and bend when coming around the edge. Has the speed and closing burst to hunt down and finish quarterbacks who try to flee the pocket. Capable of making it out to the sidelines to make tackles in the screen game. Considered the top candidate to go first overall in this year’s draft class because of the threat he presents on the edge given his athleticism and hand use, Bosa looks like a primary pass-rusher who can function as a foundational piece for a pro defensive front. May not be quite as well-rounded as his brother, but it’s easy to see why people view him as a plug-and-play producer.

DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi St.

6’6” – 260 lbs. – 4.41

Weighed only 229 pounds as a freshman at Michigan St. back in 2014, appearing in two games before redshirting. Was suspended from the team for the 2015 season and into 2016, so ended up spending the latter year in junior college before transferring to Mississippi St. Had added twelve pounds by that point and enjoyed a highly-productive junior campaign in the starting lineup, totaling 48-15.5-10.5, and concluded his collegiate career with a similar senior campaign (51-13.5-11.0). Tall and a little bit thin, with an athletic but slightly narrow build. Played a lot of left end in college, working against opposing right tackles. Has very good functional strength for a player with his frame. Disciplined run defender who maintains outside position and likes to get physical with opposing tackles on the end of the line. Plays with the leverage and explosiveness to get under an opponent’s pads and reset the line of scrimmage more successfully than his size would indicate. Active hands with enough power to stack and shed in the run game; can ragdoll opposing linemen at times. Has suddenness in the short-area to get penetration on inside moves. Gives good effort to pursue to the sidelines, with enough athleticism to make tackles near the boundaries. Wide tackling radius by virtue of his length, with a good closing burst in pursuit. Relentless pass-rusher who mixes up his rushes and has advanced hand usage. Keeps opponents out of his pads and can slap their hands away or use swim/rip moves to create opportunities for himself. Gets up to speed quickly and can also threaten as an inside rusher on twists. A little bit linear as a speed-rusher; fast and explosive, but doesn’t always bend tightly enough, allowing opposing quarterbacks to climb the pocket. Will overrun the pocket and end up needing spin back to pursue. Mostly a speed/finesse rusher who doesn’t feature a bull rush very extensively. Despite his height/length, only batted one pass and forced just one fumble in college. Played with his hand in the dirt at the college level, making it difficult to evaluate his prospects as a potential 3-4 outside linebacker. Circumstances surrounding his suspension and transfer will require further investigation. A little bit unorthodox physically and not quite a complete pass-rusher, but offers the size, athleticism, motor, hand-use, and power to draw interest early in the draft, particularly as a player who put together two productive campaigns in the SEC to close out his collegiate career. Outstanding Combine may earn him a top-ten or top-fifteen selection.

DE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan*

6’5” – 255 lbs. – 4.66

Redshirted, then rotated in to the tune of 35-5.5-1.5 the following year. Broke out as a redshirt sophomore with a 57-16.5-11.0 line, then followed that up with 70-19.0-7.5, forcing four fumbles in each of the final two seasons before declaring for the draft. Lined up at left end, often from wide alignments to facilitate getting after the passer. Has impressive height and solid bulk for an edge defender, with decent length, arms measuring just under 33” in Indianapolis. Very good athlete who ran well, timed a 6.89 in the cone drill, and put together a 36” vertical leap. Was a productive pass-rusher in college, in large part because he regularly mixes up his approach when rushing, relying mostly on his suddenness at the line of scrimmage and on his hand use; not just a pure speed-rusher. Flashes a quick, violent spin which is worth developing further. Would like to see him get more consistent extension with his hands, however; will run stunts/twists and use his body to engage interior offensive linemen with predictable results. Too many snaps in which he’s easily handled by a skill position player who’s been retained in protection. Not the stoutest run defender. Has a rush-first mentality which can lead to him giving up the edge, either by getting too much depth on his speed rush or by trying to knife inside and get penetration. Still growing into his frame and doesn’t have the most physical approach, preferring to use his hands and suddenness to get past opponents instead of holding the point of attack or using his bull-rush to try and reset the line of scrimmage. Often comes out of his stance and pops straight up, losing the leverage battle as soon as the play begins. Does have the length and raw athleticism to potentially develop into a solid run defender with time, and displays a pretty good motor in pursuit. A prospect who is favored by statistical formulas designed to spit out desirable prospects on the basis of his size and athletic testing, but who also demonstrates enough creativity and variety as a pass-rusher to interest teams on the basis of what he puts on tape alone. Would like to see him play with more physicality and toughness in the run game, and he will need to continue to grow into his frame, but looks like one of the better mid-round rushers and could sneak up even higher than that.

DE L.J. Collier, Texas Christian

6’2” – 283 lbs. – 4.91

Appeared in four games as a redshirt freshman, then rotated in over all thirteen games in each of the following two seasons, posting 21-4.5-4.5 as a sophomore and 18-4.5-4.0 as a junior. Stepped into the starting lineup and ended up with 42-11.5-6.0. Measured in two inches shorter and seven pounds heavier than his listed size; lack of ideal height is counterbalanced by long 34” arms. Takes snaps from different techniques, moving back and forth between the left and right sides of the line and often rushing out of a two-point stance. Plays the game with a desirable level of intensity and aggression. Explosive athlete who fires out low and gets up to his top speed quickly; can blow up some rushing attempts in the backfield. Demonstrates a very good motor in pursuit. Keeps his pad level low and does a good job of extending his arms and anchoring when run at. Very good functional strength with plenty of power in his hands to jolt opposing linemen. However, would like to see him play with more discipline on the edge; in his eagerness to get involved, will sometimes be sucked in and end up allowing the runner to break containment. As a pass-rusher, predominantly relies on his ability to fire out with explosiveness and a low pad level and convert speed to power, which he used to great effect. However, regularly mixes up his approach to keep opponents off-balance. Good technician who uses his hands well to slip past opposing linemen, mostly with a deadly swipe move. Bends a pretty good arc to the passer, although he’s more likely to try and use his shoulders to slip past opposing tackles than he is to dip his shoulder and win with a speed rush. Also effective on stunts/twists, allowing him to find open lanes to the passer. Has some occasional balance issues/awkward movements which crop up when he’s redirecting. Did not perform well at the Combine, testing poorly in the 40, cone, vertical, and broad jumps, developments which were inconsistent with what he shows on tape but are still likely to affect his stock. Looks like a beast on tape, using his aggression, length, hands, power, and explosiveness to work his way to the ball. Ultimate draft stock will come down to how teams weigh what he did on game day against very pedestrian testing numbers which, statistically speaking, suggest he may lack pro athleticism. Played so well in 2018 that he should be a mid-round pick at the latest.

LB Josh Allen, Kentucky

6’5” – 262 lbs. – 4.63

Began his collegiate career weighing just 210 pounds. Played in twelve games as a freshman, then bulked up to 230 pounds and started nine of thirteen the following year, recording 62-8.5-7.0 with four forced fumbles. Had a similar junior season (66-10.5-7.0, two forced fumbles) before adding another thirty pounds this year, leading to a highly successful campaign (84-18.5-14, five forced fumbles in the regular season). Rushes out of a two-point stance on the end of an odd front; takes snaps on both sides of the line. Also lines up as more of a traditional linebacker. Tall with good bulk and length. Uses his quickness to make inside moves and disrupt opposing ballcarriers in the run game. Good patience and discipline when defending the run from the back side. Able to use his arms to keep opposing blockers out of his pads. Flashes the ability to use his hands to shed opposing blockers. Good pursuit to the sidelines on outside runs and screen passes. More of a rangy player than an end who uses his power to attack blockers. Gets put on skates at times. Was a highly-productive pass-rusher in college. Not quite as explosive as some other high-end pass-rush prospects, but can cover a lot of ground with his first step, making it difficult to keep him from winning the edge when he times the snap count successfully. Predominantly an outside speed rusher. Able to dip his shoulder and bend around the edge. Good awareness to go for the strip when closing from the backside; can slap away an opposing lineman’s hands and chop the quarterback’s arm to create forced fumbles. As in the run game, could do a better job of getting low and converting speed to power to bull-rush opposing tackles and collapse the pocket; doesn’t have the power element his size would lead you to expect. All-around passing-down weapon who makes plenty of drops into coverage; covers a lot of ground when shuffling/spot-dropping. Did a little bit of pattern-matching against opposing tight ends, and can even carry them down the field on wheel routes if needed. A little bit reminiscent of former first-round pick Dion Jordan in the sense that he offers plus size and the ability to do a little bit of everything on passing downs. Looks likely to come off the board within the first five picks and almost certainly the top ten.