NFL Draft 2013: Defensive Linemen Sure to Star in the Pros
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In a draft class dominated by defense, there are several outstanding linemen who will be successful on Sundays.
With less than three months until draft day, NFL teams remain on the prowl for that next defensive piece of the puzzle.
We all know defense wins championships. Just ask the New England Patriots after they were embarrassed by the Baltimore Ravens at home in the AFC Championship game.
Let's take a look at five defensive linemen sure to flourish in the NFL.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
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In the peaceful community of Salt Lake City, a 6'4", 320-pound defensive tackle named Star Lotulelei tore through offensive lines regularly at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Lotulelei played for a Utah team that only finished with five wins but his presence was felt throughout the entire country.
He finished his senior season with 11 tackles for loss, five sacks and three forced fumbles. Lotulelei also led the nation with four fumble recoveries and earned 2012 Walter Camp All-American honors as well as Bednarik Award Honors.
Usually a nose tackle, Lotulelei has the size and mobility to be effective anywhere on the line.
If the Kansas City Chiefs weren't so desperate for a quarterback, Lotulelei would have a great shot at being drafted No. 1 overall.
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
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Florida State's Bjoern Werner had a stellar junior season for the Seminoles after he finished third in the country with 13 sacks.
He has speed off the edge, something a team like the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars could desperately use.
At 6'4", 255 pounds, Werner uses his strength and mobility to shed blocks and is generally the first defender in the backfield.
Whoever drafts Werner will get a versatile defensive end who can contain the run as well as rush the passer.
Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
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With such a cool name as well as the ample amounts of attention he's received since declaring for the draft, LSU's Barkevious Mingo is lining up to be a great NFL talent.
Playing alongside another first-round talent in Sam Montgomery on LSU's defensive line is the main reason Mingo isn't talked about going in the top-three.
Although Mingo only recorded 4.5 sacks this season, he has the speed to constantly disrupt quarterbacks and force them into errant throws.
He's one of the biggest names in this year's draft, which says something since he comes from the conference that breeds NFL talent.
At 6'5", 240 pounds, Mingo is bigger than Denver's Von Miller and possesses the skill set to be just as effective.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
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When you draw comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul, you must be doing something right.
BYU's Ezekiel Ansah stands 6' 6", 270 pounds, and although his natural position is still yet to be determined between defensive end and linebacker, the guy can ball with the best of them.
Ansah got the attention of scouts during the Senior Bowl, and the Ghana native recorded 4.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 62 combined tackles for the Cougars this season.
What's even more impressive is the fact that he's only played football for three years.
A former track star, Ansah also possesses the speed and the power to disrupt the quarterback in the pocket.
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
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Texas A&M's Damontre Moore exploded out of the gates in 2012 by recording five sacks in his first two games.
He finished the season as one of the nation's best pass-rushers by recording 12.5 sacks to lead an Aggie defense that only gave up 21 points per game in a rugged SEC.
Moore earned First-Team All-SEC honors in 2012 and led the team with 21 tackles for loss and 85 tackles overall.
Moore was also a finalist for the Hendricks Trophy and a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award as well as the Lombardi Award.
If it weren't for Johnny Manziel stealing the show, Moore would be the talk of the town in College Station.