Home     About

Top Defensive Linemen: Part 2

Posted by James Rowe on May 18, 2011 – 6:15 pm in: 2012, NFL Draft

The last decade has given the NFL some superstar type DE’s through the NFL draft. Players like Mario Williams and Julius Peppers are looked at the prototypical DE prospects, but are there any in the upcoming 2012 draft? As of right now I would say no. Sure there are some productive pass rushers from last season, but we will see if anyone will step their game up to an elite level. Here are my top 5 prospects that I think have a chance to become elite DE’s in the NFL

1 Quinton Coples DE UNC– This is the top Senior DE prospect one most everyone’s board. At 6’6 270lbs, Coples has NFL ready size and his play for the Tar Heels shows it. Last season Coples was able to sack the QB 10 times, and having a career 16 sacks while at UNC. He is a diverse player, lining up at DE and sometimes at DT, which is always a plus. He is more of a power rusher compared to a speedy guy, so he will likely play LDE in the NFL, which could hurt his stock. Coples joins the recent success of UNC defensive linemen to have 1st round grades, in fact he isn’t the only one on this list!

2 Devin Taylor DE South Carolina*- Even though Taylor may not be the best DE prospect on his team(that goes to #1 recruit Jadeveon Clowney), Taylor is still a very respectable player. At 6’7 250lbs, he has the height to gain atleast 15-20lbs and still be a freak athlete. Coming off a 7.5 sack season, I expect Taylor to explode onto the scene as one of the best pass rushers in the SEC. Having Clowney play opposite should allow Taylor to see 1 on 1’s, which should result in an increase in sack totals. I can see Taylor as a RDE in a 4-3, but also wouldn’t be surprised to see a 3-4 team draft him to be a stand up pass rusher.

3 Vinny Curry DE Marshall– The only small school prospect on the list, Curry has played some of his top games against schools like Ohio State and West Virginia(4sacks in those 2 games). He put up great stats last year, with 12 sacks after only 3 the year before. At 6’5 245lbs, he will need to gain some weight in the pre-season if he wants to be considered a 4-3 DE prospect. Curry gets to the QB with power and speed moves, and I think if he puts up good numbers like in his junior year, he should be an instant impact type player in the NFL. Right now he looks to be a 3-4 OLB prospect, but if he gets stronger he can be a 4-3 DE in the NFL.

4 Brandon Jenkins DE FSU*- Jenkins exploded onto the scene his sophomore year, tallying up 13.5 sacks after producing none his first year on campus. At 6’3 250lbs, he doesn’t have the best triangle numbers, but he undoubtedly is still able to produce. Jenkins uses his speed to get the edge of pass protectors and is an underrated run defender despite his size. Florida State has put out some DE’s into the NFL that haven’t succeed, but maybe Jenkins is the exception. Right now I see him being able to play in both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to gain another 10lbs before the season.

5 Donte Paige-Moss DE UNC*- The last DE prospect I like is Paige-Moss. DMP started off slow, but in his last 6 games last year he totaled 6.5 sacks. At 6’4 260lbs, DMP has good size already and is a very good all around athlete. His unlimited potential makes him intriguing prospect that should rise the boards especially after his combine workouts when ever he enters the draft. He reminds me of Aldon Smith of this past draft, and could end up going as high as him. With the talent surrounding him on the UNC dline, expect DMP to increase his sack totals since he will likely get less attention than guys like Coples.

Tags: , , , ,