Category: Defensive End

LB Devonte Fields, Louisville

6’4” – 240 lbs. – 4.75e

Originally attended Texas Christian, enjoying a highly-productive freshman season before being limited to three games the following year; was suspended for the first two games and then injured his foot. Dismissed from the team in 2014 after being charged in connection with a domestic violence incident. Transferred to Trinity Valley Community College for the 2014 season, then to Louisville in 2015. Has a tall, lanky build which may be ten pounds or so below the weight a pro team would like him to be playing at. Plays on both sides of the team’s defense, often out of a two-point stance; rarely puts his hand in the dirt and may be a bit too lean to be asked to do that often at the pro level. Pretty disciplined, deliberate run defender who will maintain backside contain and avoid overcommitting. Not afraid to take on blockers but generally tries to work around them; gets pretty good extension and has enough suddenness to disrupt attempts. Strong enough hands to discard blockers and make tackles; plays with more power than is typical for a player of his size. However, doesn’t have much of a motor in pursuit; costs his defense by not pursuing at full speed. More disruptive in the passing game than he is as a run defender. Pretty quick off the line, mixing in both inside and outside moves to create pressure. Has enough speed to challenge the edge, but although he flashes the ability to dip his shoulder, generally redirects back inside rather than bending the edge back to the passer. Works some counters into his game, most commonly a spin. Usually relies on his athleticism and technique but has shown the ability to convert speed to power at times. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes. More commonly a downhill player, but also has extensive experience lining up in space and handling zone coverage responsibilities. Looks very comfortable making limited drops or attacking screens in space. Has pretty fluid footwork, avoids getting too high, and can cover a lot of ground with his strides. Long, athletic defender who plays bigger against the run than he is, can generate pressure off the edge in the passing game, and looks comfortable playing in space. His talent and skills are not in question; however, teams will have to evaluate him carefully because of his issues in the past and because his motor seems to run cold at times. Second-day talent who could easily slide to the third day.

Games watched: Texas A&M (’15), Clemson (’16), Florida St. (’16)

DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee*

6’3” – 265 lbs. – 4.80e

Has started thirteen games in each of the past three seasons for the Volunteers, all highly-productive campaigns. Has adequate height and a thick build, with long limbs; really looks the part of a pro defensive end. Lines up on the right end of the defensive line in both three and four-point stances, playing different techniques; will function as a stand-up rusher on rare occasions. Tough and physical on-field temperament. Possesses pretty strong hands to shed blocks in the run game, with the length and power to two-gap. Stout enough to hold the point of attack; generally patient in backside contain but will create some rushing lanes by trying to win the edge. Can scrape down the line and flow to the ball, but isn’t particularly rangy because of his average speed. Despite a wide tackling radius, has some trouble breaking down in the open field. Struggles to defend read-options. Isn’t an elite athlete in terms of speed but is an accomplished pass rusher with some intriguing skills and a solid motor. Very dangerous when he gets a good jump on the snap, and does a good job of anticipating counts. Something of a long-strider who can challenge the edge, dip his shoulder, and bend back to the quarterback to finish, especially when he lines up in a wide technique. Has a pretty diverse repertoire of rush moves and approaches; will mix in different moves and can win with speed or power, but usually relies on the former rather than the latter. Primarily but not purely an edge rusher; can also bull-rush a little bit, and will utilize inside moves. Adequate burst to finish. Had some pretty impressive games against top blockers this past season. Has made limited spot drops in zone coverage and looks fairly comfortable but probably wouldn’t be asked to handle much more than the occasional snap there at the pro level. Did manage to line up in the slot and carry a receiver downfield versus A&M. Might be a little bit scheme-limited; could potentially play outside linebacker in an oversized 3-4 defense, but isn’t as natural a fit as some other top pass-rushers in this year’s class. However, offers a pretty complete package of rush skills, with a blend of explosiveness, flexibility, technique, creativity, and power which could allow him to develop into a team’s primary pass-rusher, as well as the length and power to become a solid run defender. Looks like a potential first-round pick.

Games watched: Alabama (’16), Florida (’16), Texas A&M (’16)

LB Ryan Anderson, Alabama

6’2” – 253 lbs. – 4.80e

Redshirted in his first season, then worked into the rotation and played on special teams the following year. Saw his role expand as a sophomore and has been a starter for the past two seasons. Will usually line up as a rush linebacker in the team’s defense, which generally features three down linemen, but occasionally puts his hand in the dirt or will blitz from an  inside position. Predominantly plays on the left side of the defense. Height and bulk are adequate for a rush linebacker role but might be smaller than most teams are looking for in an even-front defensive end. Plays with technique, intelligence, and toughness. Very assignment-sound and consistent. Patient player in run support who can generate some pop on contact, extend his arms, and set the edge; more disciplined than aggressive on rushing downs. Avoids overcommitting and getting himself into trouble, generally taking good angles when flowing to the ball. Pretty reliable tackler although his radius looks average at best. Lacks elite top-end speed and burst but can generate some explosiveness in his lower body and is also sudden enough to beat offensive tackles at the line. When rushing the passer, often tries to convert speed to power but can also challenge the edge and bend back to the quarterback smoothly, albeit without an exceptional closing burst to finish. Uses subtle hand use to slap an opposing blocker’s arms away. Was able to get pretty consistent pressure rushing off the right side of the offensive line and drew some extra blocking attention. Does a good job of disrupting opposing releases out of the backfield; usually able to get a chip in before a tight end starts to get downfield. Was asked to work in coverage more often than most pass-rushers and exhibited impressive range and quick feet with adequate technique; typically was asked to make zone drops or pick up players on shallow drags rather than lining up in man coverage. Can place his hands on opponents and carry them downfield, but gives up some separation at the route stem. A very polished player with all of the mental tools teams look for a pro defender; athleticism isn’t exceptional but looks more than adequate. Experience in a pro-style defense and on special teams should help him find a role early in his pro career.

Games watched: Tennessee (’15), Arkansas (’16), Southern California (’16)

DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M*

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6’5” – 262 lbs.

Five-star recruit who burst onto the scene as a true freshman; produced well for three seasons before declaring for the draft despite drawing a lot of extra attention from tight ends and backs on passing downs. Plays right end for the Aggies, occasionally rushing out of a two-point stance. Offers teams a prototypical frame for a pro pass rusher in either an even or an odd front; good height and length, carrying his weight well. Has a lightning-quick first step; routinely the first player off the line and can generate some power due to his explosiveness. Capable of splitting double teams. Flexible enough to dip the shoulder and bend back to the quarterback. Physical player who’s not afraid to mix it up with bigger offensive tackles; can overwhelm smaller tight ends with power. Pretty good leg drive after initial contact, coming out of his stance with good leverage to dig in. Needs to improve his hand use; overly reliant on his speed at this point. Doesn’t work many different moves into his game and tends to get stonewalled when he’s successfully engaged for lack of counters. Uses a rip move on occasion while challenging the edge which looks like it could be worked into his arsenal more regularly. Looks hard to defend when making inside moves but hasn’t made those a major part of his game. Was effectively neutralized by Cam Robinson this season. Has some experience making drops into coverage, which looks like something he might be able to do at the next level. Top-end speed is good but not great; more of a freak in terms of short-area quickness than the type of player who makes tackles out near the sidelines. Has enough strength and physicality to anchor in the run game; can handle being run at, but is more of a penetrator. Effective defender on read-options; can’t really be given a free release because of his ability to fly into the backfield. Too explosive to be effectively blocked by pulling tight ends and fullbacks. Gives good effort on rushing attempts in his direction but won’t make many plays in backside pursuit; can often be found watching when the play goes to the opposite side of the field. Widely regarded as a top pick, his prototypical frame and elite first step give him the potential to develop into a defensive cornerstone in either an even or an odd front. Could be a star if he is able to better utilize his hands and diversify his approach as a pass-rusher.

Games watched: Alabama (’16), Louisiana St. (’16), Tennessee ’16)

DE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

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6’2” – 265 lbs. – 4.75e

Originally committed to Cal but ended up spending his first year at Contra Costa College before transferring to UCLA. Worked his way into the starting lineup as a junior, then enjoyed an outstanding senior season. Possesses adequate height and length, with solid bulk; has added over thirty pounds since arriving at school. Rushes out of both two and three-point stances and from both sides of the line, most typically as a stand-up rusher off the left tackle. Aggressive, high-motor player who consistently works through the whistle. Has enough speed to challenge the edge in the passing game, often using a rip move to get free; able to bend back to the quarterback effectively. Explosive both off the line of scrimmage and when closing. Can successfully convert speed to power and walk tackles back into the pocket, creating congestion. Mixes in inside moves to keep opposing tackles off-balance; has a pretty diverse array of approaches when rushing. Good awareness to go for the strip when in position to do so. Gets his hands up to contest screens. Spin move looks a little bit sluggish when the quarterback climbs the pocket. Has violent, active hands and can shed blocks pretty well in the run game. More of an attacking player but appears strong enough to hold the edge; has the leg drive to create some push. Could probably play in either a one or two-gap defense. Can scrape down the line when the play direction is to the opposite side of the field. Doesn’t have a particularly wide tackling radius but looks reliable when he’s in position to bring down ballcarriers, with some pop on contact. Makes an effort to tackle while engaged. Seems to do a pretty good job when working as the free defender on read-options. Will pursue plays to the sidelines and down the field. Had some trouble protecting his legs on cut blocks. Wasn’t really asked to make many drops into coverage, so his technique and fluidity when asked to do so will probably be an important part of his pre-draft process; does appear to have the raw speed for that type of role. Breakout senior season will earn him first-round consideration, which he may be able to solidify with good measurements and testing. Probably makes the most sense as a rush linebacker in an aggressive 3-4 defensive front, both because that’s been his primary role thus far and because it’s more commensurate with his physical profile.

Games watched: Colorado (’16), Stanford (’16), Utah (’16)

DE Dawuane Smoot, Illinois

6’3” – 255 lbs. – 4.75e

Came off the bench as a freshman, then worked into the rotation as a sophomore before taking over a starting role the following year. Team captain. Plays left end almost exclusively; only took a few snaps from the other side of the field. Looks a bit lanky relative to his listed size/bulk, with long limbs; has been listed at declining weights over the past three years. Explosive off the line of scrimmage, with above-average flexibility; more of a speed rusher who gets upfield and tries to bend back to the passer. Doesn’t always convert speed to power successfully, but flashes the ability to create some push because of his leg drive. Possesses very quick hands to prevent blockers from placing their hands on him; however, struggles to free himself when he’s successfully engaged. Looked very disruptive as a junior, but didn’t seem quite as dynamic in his senior year. Would probably benefit from varying his pass-rushing approach and working moves into his game more frequently. Has the athleticism and motor to pursue plays to the sidelines in pursuit. Instincts versus the run are raw; needs to improve his overall play recognition and contain the corner much more consistently, getting sucked in too frequently by misdirection or because he committed too quickly. Too focused on rushing the passer, providing some big holes for opposing ballcarriers to rush through. More effective as a one-gap, attacking defender; probably lacks the patience and anchor to play in a two-gap role. In short yardage situations, can be driven off the line of scrimmage by more powerful offensive tackles. Capable of creating congestion inside, but it isn’t one of the focal points of his game. More likely to create an obstruction with his body than to maintain awareness of the ball and bring down runners while engaged. Will probably also get some looks as a rush linebacker prospect given his movement skills and his adequate frame for that type of role. Has a lot of the tools teams look for in a pass rusher (explosiveness, suddenness, quick hands, flexibility), but wasn’t able to generate consistent pressure at the college level and will not be able to coast on his natural quickness and explosiveness as easily at the next level. Limitations as a run defender might limit him to more of a situational pass-rushing role, whether as an end or outside linebacker. Might be best if given a wide alignment and allowed to get upfield.

Games watched: Iowa (’15), Nebraska (’15), Michigan (’16)

DE Taco Charlton, Michigan

6’6” – 272 lbs. – 4.75e

Worked as a reserve/special-teams player as a freshman, then worked into the defensive line rotation over the next two years before assuming a more regular starting role as a senior. Lines up at defensive end on both sides of the line, with different alignments; takes the occasional snap from the inside on obvious passing downs and has a little bit of experience rushing from a two-point stance. Tall, long-limbed defensive end who may need some further upper-body development but otherwise looks the part of a pro edge rusher. Might be a little bit thinner than his listed weight. Plays with a strong motor. Usually exhibits a slight delay when reacting to the ball being snapped, but accelerates smoothly off the line of scrimmage, with natural athleticism; good closing speed when he’s secured a lane to the passer. Primarily a speed-to-power player in the passing game; most frequently attempts to win the outside but looks most dangerous when he’s schemed open on inside rushes. Will keep his legs churning after contact and can occasionally generate push against offensive tackles. Fairly straightforward rusher who relies on his natural athleticism; has been rewarded when he’s worked spins and other moves into his repertoire but doesn’t do so on a consistent basis. Capable of dipping the shoulder and bending the edge. Overall hand use is pretty active. Could stand to improve his balance somewhat; usually okay but gets overextended from time to time or looks like he’s playing on skates. Might be best in a two-gap defense. More physical than powerful; doesn’t shy away from contact. Generally able to anchor versus blockers but doesn’t walk opposing tackles back very often. At his best, is able to scrape down the line and obstruct runners in the run game. Flashes the ability to make tackles while engaged; length gives him a wide radius. However, struggles to disengage quickly when an opponent gets inside his pads, allowing runners to get to the outside. Tends to get sucked inside on running plays and needs to do a better job of protecting the corner. Looks tentative and doesn’t always make successful reads when presented with read-options. Still a pretty raw player at this point, but has a lot of the physical and athletic tools teams look for in an edge player at the next level and was pretty productive in his first season with the first-team. Could eventually be an every-down starter, but isn’t a plug-and-play prospect; at this point, is probably more capable as a run defender than a pass rusher.

Games watched: Northwestern (’15), Penn St. (’16), Rutgers (’16)

DE DeMarcus Walker, Florida St.

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6’4” – 280 lbs. – 4.80e

Was a rotational player in his first year with the Seminoles, but has been starting since basically his sophomore year (eleven of fourteen games.) Team captain who plays both defensive end spots for the Seminoles, sliding inside to tackle on some obvious passing downs. Has very good overall size and decent musculature, with a somewhat top-heavy build; carries his weight well. Tough and physical player, if not an overpowering one. As a pass-rusher, is more intense than explosive off the line of scrimmage. Not really the type of player to dip his shoulder and bend the edge; often steered wide of the quarterback. Creativity also leaves something to be desired; has some suddenness in his hands and will work swim and rip moves into his repertoire with some effectiveness. Gets a lot of his pressures as an inside rusher or when rushing inside on a stunt or twist from the end position. Closing burst is more impressive than his burst off the snap. Heads-up player who will go for the ball when he has a chance. Overall instincts in the run game are adequate. Plays with enough patience to make sense in a two-gap scheme, which may better use his skillset. Will stay at home and sniff out the occasional late-developing screen or misdirection play. Struggles to defend the read option. Has some ability to anchor and scrape down the line but might be better at using his hands to shed blockers, with some strength and quickness in his hands. Can be sealed inside from time to time, and was driven back by tight ends on a few plays. Occasionally gets a bit too upright and overextends himself. Good closing burst to tackle in pursuit, with a wide tackling radius and a strong grip to finish. Motor is pretty good but will get caught watching when the play is on the other side of the field. Might not be a great fit for a 3-4 defensive front; best position may be elephant linebacker in that sort of scheme. Not quite as stout as other players of his size, but might offer a little bit more as a pass-rusher, using his hands with quickness and power to compensate for his lack of elite burst off the line of scrimmage. Looks like he might be able to start at left end in a four-man defensive line which uses two-gap principles.

Games watched: Miami (’15), Louisville (’16), Mississippi (’16)

DL Chris Wormley, Michigan

6’6” – 302 lbs.

Finally broke into the starting lineup midway through his redshirt sophomore year, where he has remained ever since. Versatile player who lines up on both ends of the defensive line and also slides inside to function as an interior rusher on a regular basis. Although he has more in common with a five-technique end from a physical standpoint, he often functioned as more of a traditional base end on a four-man line. Well-developed body whose frame might be nearly maxed out; carries his weight well. Pretty straightforward pass-rusher who almost exclusively relies on a speed-to-power combination on the outside. Offers a good level of intensity on the field. Gets off the line pretty quickly and can extend his arms and drive his legs to walk opposing linemen back. Capable of slapping down an opposing blocker’s arms but could stand to use his hands more frequently and develop a more nuanced approach to rushing the passer; doesn’t have a particularly diverse repertoire of rush moves and rarely attempts inside moves when he’s rushing from the edge. Does incorporate an effective spin move into his game when he’s being moved inside to rush on obvious passing downs. Can sometimes be driven wide of the rusher because of his tendency to get too far upfield. Instinctually, however, is a pretty disciplined run defender who does a good job of maintaining backside contain and avoids committing too quickly on read-options and other plays of that nature. Has the type of functional strength and build that teams may like in a two-gap run defender on the edge, but generally is more of an aggressive upfield player who wasn’t often asked to really hold the point of attack in a read-and-react system. Scrapes down the line and will pursue through the whistle but, because he lacks elite top-end speed, isn’t much of a threat to actually make plays near the sidelines. Sometimes has trouble working through trash; ended up on the ground a handful of times during the games reviewed and could be susceptible to cut blocks. Too a few snaps as an end on three-man lines in college but might be primarily considered as a five-technique end given his combination of height and bulk; in that role, could provide a pass-rushing presence for a team which lines their defensive ends to be able to generate pressure. Best fit, however, may be as a five-technique end on a four-man line in a scheme such as Seattle’s. Projects as a future starter.

Games watched: Illinois (’15), Penn St. (’16), Rutgers (’16)

DE RAY DREW, GEORGIA

DE #47 RAY DREW, GEORGIA

6’5” – 276 lbs. – 4.80e

Appeared as a reserve over seven games in 2011, then in thirteen in each of the following two seasons, starting seven games as a junior. Plays five-technique on both sides of the Bulldogs’ 3-4 defense, but could go either way as a pro, gaining weight to play left end in four-man fronts or adding some to play in three-man fronts; has previously played at weights ranging from 263 to 284 pounds. Takes the occasional snap out of a two-point stance or inside at tackle. As a run defender, doesn’t always have the gap discipline he should; occasionally goes all-in to rush the passer, leaving his gap unattended. Anchor is a bit inconsistent, but flashes the ability to hold his ground against double-teams thanks to his thick build and long arms. Not likely to drive defenders into the backfield but can generally prevent himself from being blown off the ball. Has advanced instincts/play recognition given his limited starting experience. Can be turned out of the hole; a bit of a waist-bender at times. Lacks the range to pursue tosses and stretch plays to the boundary, although his motor is generally strong in all phases of the game. Needs to do a better job of protecting his legs from cut blocks; can be targeted on screen passes and might initially struggle to defend against zone concepts on rushing attempts. More of a bull-rusher than someone who can win the edge, but can also generate pressure by knifing through inside gaps; also capable of splitting the double-team. Rip move is effective if deliberate; otherwise, lacks a diverse, creative repertoire of rush moves. Mixes in a spin at times but looks lethargic. Has some athleticism but may lack the speed and closing burst to chase down quarterbacks who escape from the pocket; more likely to generate pressure than to finish with a sack. Has trouble if he doesn’t win off the snap. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes. A bit of a mystery at this point, as physically he lacks the bulk associated with five-technique ends but has been thrust into that role with the Bulldogs and has the skillset associated with the position as opposed to resembling a 4-3 left end playing out of position. Might make sense as a left end in a four-man front which favors the two-gap jumbo ends that have become popular around the league recently. Could really boost his stock with a productive senior season, his first as a full-time starter.

Games watched: Florida (’13), Missouri (’13), Tennessee (’13)