2013 NFL Draft Predictions: Teams That Won't Pass Up Top DE Prospects
This is an excellent year to bulk up your defensive line and at the linebacker position. If you're looking to upgrade your pass rush, you're in luck.
In this article, we'll highlight those teams looking to add edge rushers. More specifically, we'll look at teams likely to be in the market for dynamic, 4-3 defensive ends at this year's NFL draft.
Defensive tackle and the offensive line may be the positions with the most depth this year, but there is some major talent at the top of the draft at the end position. With that in mind, let's play matchmaker and hook up a few teams that need to improve the pass rush with the top defensive end prospects.
Oakland Raiders: Bjoern Werner, Florida State
If I were the Oakland Raiders, sitting pretty with the third pick in the NFL draft, I would look to improve my pass rush. When you finish the season with 25 sacks, 31st in the NFL, it's pretty clear the defensive end position needs to be addressed.
Seeing as some combination of Geno Smith, Star Lotulelei and Luke Joeckel will probably comprise the top two picks, the Raiders should have their pick of the litter at the position.
Bjoern Werner is my top defensive end on the board. He was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last year, and in his three seasons at Florida State accumulated 23.5 sacks and 35 tackles for loss.
He's strong enough to be a presence against the run, and he's continued to improve as a pass-rusher each year. Werner and the Raiders were meant to be.
Tennessee Titans: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
The Titans could use help at guard and in the secondary, but I'm projecting Damontre Moore will fall to them at No. 10, and I don't think they can pass him up.
On one hand, the Titans were able to get to the quarterback in 2012. The team finished the year with 39 sacks, tied for ninth in the NFL. On the other hand, linebackers Derrick Brown and Akeem Ayers had 11.5 of those sacks, and defensive end Derrick Morgan led the team with 6.5.
In other words, the Titans need to add an elite edge rusher.
Moore was a beast in 2012, finishing with 85 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks.
The Titans could still select one of the two talented guard prospects, Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper, but I'd be surprised if they pass on Moore if he drops to them.
New Orleans Saints: Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
By the end of the NFL Scouting Combine, Ezekiel Ansah is a name that everyone is going to be very, very familiar with.
Who is the top defensive end in this year's draft?
He's only been playing football since 2010, and he hasn't seen much time at defensive end in his career. However, he absolutely dominated at the Senior Bowl, and his athleticism for a man that stands at 6'5" and weighs 275 pounds is astonishing.
He looks like this year's Jason Pierre-Paul, and he'll shoot up draft boards soon enough. If he is still around for the Saints at No. 15, there will be dancing in the streets of New Orleans.
For a team that finished with just 30 sacks a year ago (tied for 25th in the NFL) and has long struggled to address the defensive end position, Ansah will be a player that makes a difference.
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