2017 NFL Draft – Top Defensive Ends

Offense: QB | WR | RB | FB | TE | OT | OG | C

Defense: DT | DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S

Note: These are ordered in regards to general overall rating.  This is not necessarily a reflection of predictive draft order as other variables such as scheme, coaching, etc. will alter each team’s rating of each prospect.

  1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M – Myles Garrett has an explosive first step off the edge, and combined with the physical attributes of length and flexibility, has the pass rushing qualities that all NFL teams covet. Has excellent hand skills, and gains leverage very well, with the ability to convert speed to power. More productive when given some space, making him more attractive teams that allow their defensive ends to operate slightly off the line, such as in the wide-9 formation. Must improve at the point of attack, and can improve technique and overall strength with proper coaching.
  2. Jonathan Allen, Alabama – Extremely versatile defensive lineman, that should be able to play in any scheme. He could play as an extremely big defensive end that has the mobility to get after the quarterback, or slide inside. Jonathan Allen could play as an every down defensive end in most schemes, or work as a three technique in a standard 4-3 defense.
  3. Solomon Thomas, Stanford – A versatile defensive end with the length and strength to defend the run and also move inside. Possesses the diverse skill set that NFL defenses look for. Very strong in protecting running lanes around him, but surprisingly agile and with a set of pass rush skills to penetrate gaps, getting sacks and forcing fumbles.
  4. Derek Barnett, Tennessee – A complete player, and probably best suited to play outside linebacker in a 3-4, but could excel as well in a 4-3.  Very rarely do you find a player with this sort of flexibility in terms of position- he can play on either side, on the line or drop into coverage. No part of his game is elite, but his ability to pass rush, tackle, and drop into coverage provide a skill set that defensive coordinators covet.
  5. Jordan Willis, Kansas State – A technician, he sets up tackles with different pass rush moves, and can convert speed to power very well.  Strong hands and quick feet.
  6. Carl Lawson, Auburn – Interesting prospect at either 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker- exceptional against the run and effective pass rusher. Gets excellent leverage when taking on blockers, with the ability to control the gaps around him. Great footwork and hand technique when working on the line, and plays with an edge 100% of the time.
  7. Tarell Basham, Ohio – An edge pass rusher that has a lethal combination of burst, dip, and power to get into the backfield. Had an excellent week at the Senior Bowl against top competition, validating the tape that he showed against MAC competition. High mover in the draft, could emerge as one of the top pass rushers in the draft.
  8. DeMarcus Walker, Florida State – A disruptive pass rusher that will most likely be a left defensive end that can move inside sometimes on passing downs. Powerful burst, disruptive hands, and strong lower body, he needs to keep developing his technique against the run to really move up boards as an all around defensive end and not just a pass rush specialist. Very physical, but can disappear for times during games.
  9. Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova – An absolute physical specimen for a defensive end, teams will be lining up to draft him high and develop him as a project.  Has the initial burst to get outside quickly off the snap, and the technique to counter that with inside moves at other times.  Long and strong, he is a prototype of what many teams are looking for in a defensive end that can do it all.  Needs time to develop, and the lack of experience against top competition will cause him not to be drafted as high as some defensive ends that are not as physically gifted.
  10. Trey Hendrickson, Florida Atlantic – Outstanding hands, very quick, and moves feet well. Had an exceptional week at the East West Shrine Game, and won the defensive MVP for the game. Very disruptive, and consistently wins one on one matchups.

Comments: A very deep class with some fuzziness at the top half of the board with a few players that could be drafted to various positions.  Excellent players to be had throughout first four rounds.