The NFL Comparison for Top 10 DE Recruits from Class of 2015

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IApril 17, 2014

The NFL Comparison for Top 10 DE Recruits from Class of 2015

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    The 2015 class has several excellent recruits at the defensive end position. While they're known in recruiting circles, comparing them to NFL players will only help paint a clearer picture of their skill sets.

    A defensive end in Florida compares favorably to a defensive lineman with the Seattle Seahawks.

    Another recruit at the same position plays a lot like a new member of the Oakland Raiders, while a former Raider appears to be an older version of a 5-star defensive end from Illinois.

    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports.

    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Natrez Patrick

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    At 6'3" and 220 pounds, 4-star defensive end Natrez Patrick is an athletic prospect who has deceptive strength. He may not possess ideal size for an edge-defender, but he can use his strength to anchor versus running plays.

    Patrick also has solid acceleration in pursuit, which helps him track and reach ball-carriers. As a pass-rusher, his best trait is his quickness. He can bend when rushing, and he shows a good surge when aiming to finish on passers.

    Patrick is a lot like Andre Branch of the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Canton Kaumatule

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    Canton Kaumatule is a 4-star prospect who fits best as a 3-4 defensive end. The Hawaii native has a terrific motor, which he uses to fight his way through blocks to make plays.

    Kaumatule, who is 6'6.5" and 275 pounds, has great length and strength. He's capable of occupying offensive linemen to keep linebackers free, but he also has the athleticism to make plays on the edge and inside. Once he learns how to use his hands better, he should flourish in college.

    Billy Winn of the Cleveland Browns is a player Kaumatule is similar to. 

Keisean Lucier-South

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    Hailing from California, Keisean Lucier-South is a 4-star defensive end who is not going impress many people with strength. He's not going stack blocks with power and force at the point of attack, and he's not going to sit and anchor before shedding at the line of scrimmage.

    What the 6'5", 215-pounder is going to do is use his speed and quickness to beat blockers versus the run and pass. Lucier-South can play with his hand down or standing up, and he has natural pass-rushing ability.

    His NFL comparison is Kamerion Wimbley of the Tennessee Titans.

Mekhi Brown

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    At 6'6" and 230 pounds, Mekhi Brown is a long-limbed edge-defender who is at his best when he is asked to attack the pocket.

    Brown has average strength right now, and it hinders his ability to stack and anchor at the point of attack. However, he does flash the potential to become more powerful as he matures physically in college. 

    The Georgia native has good athleticism and quickness to attack the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle. He also can use his length to keep clean during a rush.

    Brown's raw skills and size make him a comparable player to Ziggy Ansah of the Detroit Lions.

Byron Cowart

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    With his ability to play on both edges, as well as play defensive tackle, 5-star defensive end Byron Cowart is certainly versatile.

    The 6'4", 250-pounder can explode upfield at the snap to attack the perimeter of a pocket with tenacity. He converts speed to power at a high rate. Plus, the Florida native can shed blocks to get free when defending the run.

    A good comparison for Cowart would be George Selvie of the Dallas Cowboys.

    Chad Simmons and Jamie Newberg of wrote on March 15: "He is put together well and he could end up playing strongside end or becoming a force at three-technique on the next level."

Jashon Cornell

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    A 5-star defensive end from Minnesota, Jashon Cornell could eventually move to defensive tackle before he leaves college.

    He's 6'4" and 270 pounds, and he has the potential to get significantly stronger over the next few years. Cornell has good first-step quickness at the snap, and he can redirect well when pursuing the ball. He also uses his hands well to shed blocks and attack offensive linemen when rushing.

    Aided by his ability to also help inside on passing downs, Cornell looks a lot like Justin Tuck of the Oakland Raiders on tape. 

Josh Sweat

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    Josh Sweat is a 5-star defensive end from Virginia who is 6'5" and 230 pounds. He is an excellent athlete with impressive quickness and speed on the edge.

    Sweat has an explosive first step at the snap, which he uses to jump on top of blockers. He can punch and extend to stay clean while advancing to the quarterback, and he has the range to pursue ball-carriers versus running plays.

    His size, length, athletic ability, quickness and lack of great strength make him a similar player to Dion Jordan of the Miami Dolphins. 

Terry Beckner Jr.

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    A big and powerful edge-defender, blockers do not want to mess with 5-star prospect Terry Beckner Jr. very often.

    The Illinois native has heavy hands and a sharp punch at the point of attack, and he hasn't even come close to maximizing his strength yet. At 6'4" and 293 pounds, Beckner has solid quickness to get upfield at the snap. 

    He does a good job of converting speed to power when rushing, and he has the strength to anchor versus the run. His NFL comparison is Lamarr Houston of the Chicago Bears.

Shameik Blackshear

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    Shameik Blackshear is a 5-star defensive end from South Carolina who is a classic speed-rusher. He routinely beats offensive tackles by exploding upfield and forcing them to open their hips and bail earlier than they like to.

    Blackshear, who is 6'5" and 240 pounds, has long arms to keep blockers away from him. He isn't the strongest defensive end in the country, but he helps defend the run by closing hard in pursuit. Willie Young of the Chicago Bears would be a solid comparison. 

CeCe Jefferson

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    Although he'll run himself out of a play every now and then, CeCe Jefferson is as explosive a defensive end as one will find in the 2015 class.

    The Florida native launches upfield at the snap in an impressive manner, which puts a lot of immediate pressure on offensive tackles. Jefferson, who is 6'2" and 250 pounds, converts speed to power explosively at the point of attack.

    Jefferson's strength and power are so good for his position that he can kick inside and rush over guards as a defensive tackle. His speed, explosive athleticism and solid strength will remind people of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. 


    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.