NFL Draft 400: Ranking the Draft's Top Edge-Rushers

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 13, 2017

NFL Draft 400: Ranking the Draft's Top Edge-Rushers

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    The 2017 NFL draft class features elite talents at the top of the board in Texas A&M's Myles Garrett and LSU's Leonard Fournette. After that? This is one of the deepest classes in the six years I've been scouting at Bleacher Report.

    Stacking the board top to bottom for the '17 class was no easy task. There are a legitimate record-breaking number of first-round talents on my board. Outside of Round 1, it was easy to imagine putting 60 of the top players into the top 40. If you can't find starters in Round 4 of this class, you're doing it wrong.

    So who is the best overall? How about the best at each position? The goal of the NFL Draft 400 series is to figure that out.

    The top 400 players were tracked, scouted, graded and ranked by me and my scouting assistants, Marshal Miller and Dan Bazal, and Connor Rogers. Together, we viewed tape of a minimum of three games per player (the same standard NFL teams use). Oftentimes, we saw every play by a prospect over the last two years. That led to the grades, rankings and scouting reports you see here.

    Players were graded on strengths and weaknesses, with a pro-player comparison added to match the player's style or fit in the pros. The top 400 players will be broken down position by position for easy viewing before the release of a top-400 big board prior to the draft.

    In the case of a tie, players were ranked based on their overall grade in our top 400.

Matt Miller's NFL Draft Grading Scale

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    At the end of each scouting report, you'll see a final grade that falls somewhere between 4.00 and 9.00. This scale comes from the teaching I received from Charley Casserly, Michael Lombardi and other former and current front office personnel in the NFL. I tweaked it this year to be more transparent, and as a result, each player received a number grade as well as a ranking.

    This applies to all positions across the board.

    Matt Miller's NFL Draft Grading Scale
    GradeLabel
    9.00Elite—No. 1 pick
    8.00-8.99All-Pro—Rare Talent
    7.50-7.99Round 1—Pro Bowl Potential
    7.00-7.49Round 1—Top-15 Player Potential
    6.50-6.99Round 2—Rookie Impact/Future Starter
    6.00-6.49Round 3—Rookie Impact/Future Starter
    5.80-5.99Round 3-4—Future Starter
    5.70-5.79Round 4—Backup Caliber
    5.60-5.69Round 5—Backup Caliber
    5.30-5.59Round 6—Backup Caliber
    5.10-5.25Round 7—Backup Caliber
    5.00Priority Free Agent
    4.50-4.99Camp Player

37. Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2 ¾"257 lbs4.76s32"10 ½"7.38s

     

    POSITIVES

    Ken Ekanem was a three-year starter at Virginia Tech, playing defensive end and some stand-up linebacker. He is tough and opted to play with a slightly torn pectoral muscle in 2016, which kept him from benching at the combine. Ekanem flashed production for the Hokies, posting 34 TFLs and 22.5 sacks. He’s a worker with good first-step quickness. He’s a toolsy, smart pass-rusher with the understanding of how to beat blockers with moves. He’ll set up an offensive tackle and counter with inside moves and outside moves. He’s quicker than fast.

     

    NEGATIVES

    A lack of twitchy athleticism shows up immediately on tape and in workouts. Ekanem tested poorly in the three-cone and short-shuttle drills, which measure things like lower-body agility, explosion and body control—three very important traits for a pass-rusher. Ekanem has short arms and a small wingspan, which limits his ability to beat blockers with length or hand play. Most late-round players are drafted for athletic potential, but Ekanem hasn’t shown the twitch or burst to fit that bill.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Victor Ochi, Kansas City Chiefs

    FINAL GRADE: 4.99/9.00 (Undrafted Free Agent)

36. Dylan Donahue, West Georgia

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2 "248 lbs4.75s30 ¼"9"7.02s

     

    POSITIVES

    The son of former NFL player Mitch Donahue, Dylan transferred to West Georgia from Palomar College as a JUCO player and immediately became a starter at defensive end. He has the build of an NFL outside linebacker with a great motor and awesome production at West Georgia. Donahue posted 37.5 TFLs and 25.5 sacks in two seasons coming off the left side of the defense. With impressive quickness off the snap, Donahue is able to compete with athletic offensive tackles. He’s a natural in space and uses his quickness and balance to keep blockers guessing while bending with enough juice to accelerate out of his turn. He has enough upper-body power to press blockers off his frame if they get inside his arms. Donahue is a developmental guy, and he has enough tools to work with early on. He’s the type of worker who will excel on special teams while learning the game.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Donahue will be 25 years old in August and is an overaged prospect. He lacks ideal arm length and hand size and can get pushed around when he doesn’t beat a blocker with his quickness. Donahue’s lower-body explosiveness is questionable considering he’s never faced NFL-level blockers. He has to win with toughness at the point of attack. Donahue’s lack of growth potential in his frame and his small arms/hands make him a projection as a 3-4 outside linebacker and a poor fit in a 4-3 scheme.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Kasim Edebali, Denver Broncos 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Undrafted Free Agent)

35. Al-Quadin Muhammad, Miami (FL)

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 ½"253 lbs4.70s33 ¼"9 "7.25s

     

    POSITIVES

    Al-Quadin Muhammad is a natural athlete with the tools to line up as a 4-3 end or 3-4 outside linebacker who could see the field early as a situational pass-rusher. He has an NFL body and looks the part on the hoof with great length and a solid build. He’s quick-hipped and has the feet to make some plays in coverage if developed as a linebacker. Muhammad has flashed a skill set to find the ball and be a playmaker in space. He had five sacks in seven starts in 2015 and was starting to figure out the position and how to use his tools. He’s a high-upside player with considerable risk off the field. A team gambling on Muhammad late in the draft could strike gold.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Off-field concerns must be addressed with Muhammad. In 2014, he was arrested after the spring game for a fight with a roommate and was suspended for the year. Muhammad was also suspended for the first game of the 2015 season for a violation of team rules. Muhammad was kicked off the team before the 2016 season for receiving impermissible benefits (discounted luxury rental cars). He sat out the entire ‘16 season. It’s an automatic concern that Muhammad was suspended for as many games as he played in, sitting out two full seasons and playing two. On the field, he’s limited in terms of awareness, experience and football IQ as a seven-game starter. Muhammad is basically starting from ground zero and must be developed while a team puts a plan in place to help him mature off the field.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Jeremiah Attaochu, Los Angeles Chargers 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Undrafted Free Agent)

34. Lewis Neal, LSU

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'0 "274 lbs4.7233 "9 5/8"N/A

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter at LSU, Lewis Neal posted 15 TFLs and 11.5 sacks in the last two seasons playing defensive end in the 4-3 defense. He looks the part of a 4-3 defensive end with thick legs, long arms and good natural power. Neal understands leverage and how to play with low, quick pads. He’s strong with his hands and can punch with results. Neal’s football IQ and awareness are good, and he’ll locate the ball well through misdirection and play action. He’s a bit of ‘tweener but could potentially slide inside on rushing downs to play more of a 3-technique. Neal’s work ethic and drive are worth giving him a longer look.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Neal’s body type doesn’t work at defensive end or defensive tackle because of poor length use and limited athleticism. He’s easily moved off his spot on the edge when asked to anchor against the run and doesn’t have the arms to lock out and shed blocks. Neal’s lack of speed getting upfield makes him a limited gap-shooter. He doesn’t have the quick feet and unlocked hips to roll through interior blockers and would need to add strength to his upper body to potentially play tackle.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Geneo Grissom, New England Patriots 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Undrafted Free Agent)

33. Tashawn Bower, LSU

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'4 ¾"250 lbs4.82s33 "9 "7.20s

     

    POSITIVES

    A part-time starter over the last two seasons at LSU, Tashawn Bower looks the part off the bus with a great frame and enough length. He could even add bulk and strength to his lean body. Bower was praised by coaches as a worker. He’s a competitor with good developmental potential. LSU asked Bower to play often against the run, and he did well in that role, using his length and size to set the edge. He does a good job locking out blockers and then peeling off to the find the football. Bower has the raw tools worth developing, and it’s rare to find a defensive end with his size who likes to play the run, which could boost his stock.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Bower’s inability to crack the LSU lineup full-time is a concern. He wasn’t productive enough over the last four seasons to warrant a long look at first. With a lack of athleticism on a lean frame, Bower doesn’t jump off the screen as quick enough or strong enough to beat NFL blockers consistently. He plays tall with stiff hips and a lack of understanding as a pass-rusher. When Bower loses on first effort, he doesn’t have the developed pass-rushing tools to counter. An NFL team would be wise to bulk Bower up and teach him to play 4-3 defensive end with better power in his upper and lower body.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Romeo Okwara, New York Giants 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.00/9.00 (Undrafted Free Agent)

32. Devonte Fields, Louisville

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2 ½"236 lbs4.72s32 "9"7.40s

     

    POSITIVES

    A one-year starter at TCU and two-year starter at Louisville, Devonte Fields was one of college football’s most dominant defenders as a true freshman in 2012. He’s a raw, natural athlete with the hips, feet and bend to get to the quarterback. Fields’ closing speed is NFL-quality. He comes out of his stance with a plan and knows how to set up blockers and then counter their moves. Fields is able to feast on the mistakes of offensive tackles. He shows the burst and flexibility to line up at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Multiple teams we talked to cited Fields as a character reject. Fields was suspended for one-and-a-half games to start the 2013 season and then broke his right foot after three games. In January 2014, he was robbed and attacked at his off-campus house but did not allow police to search his home and did not press charges. He was suspended from the team in May 2014 when he was accused of threatening an ex-girlfriend with a gun and punching her in the face, but the charges were dismissed. Fields was permanently suspended from TCU at this point and transferred to Trinity Valley College before landing at Louisville. Fields tore his labrum in 2015 and played through the injury. He was invited to the combine but wasn’t able to perform in the bench press because of a shoulder injury. Fields has a small body for a 4-3 scheme and isn’t strong enough to anchor in the run game. Coaches complained that he shut it down in 2016 and didn’t give max effort.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Arthur Moats, Pittsburgh Steelers 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.20/9.00 (Developmental Player—Round 7)

31. Keionta Davis, UT-Chattanooga

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3"271 lbs4.73s34"9 ½"N/A

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter, Keionta Davis pops off the tape with great size and length. He has a big frame with pro-level size and power. A solid all-around athlete, Davis had wonderful production at UT-Chattanooga with 43 career TFLs and 31 sacks. He also punched out eight forced fumbles. He has the frame to add weight. Davis’ body control and balance are very good, and he has solid natural strength to hold up in the run game. His use of length in the pass game jumps out at you, whether he’s locking out a blocker or getting his hands up to bat down passes.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Davis has heavy, stiff legs and doesn’t have the hips to turn the corner against NFL offensive tackles. It might make more sense to bulk him up to 290 pounds and play as a 3-technique in a 4-3 scheme. Davis didn’t play against NFL competition, so his stats might need to be thrown out. He’s not blessed with the quick hips or twitch to beat pro-level blockers straight up. He’ll have to beat blockers with effort instead of athleticism. Davis was invited to the combine but wasn’t able to work out because of an issue team doctors found with his spine. That alone could crash the stock of this player with a high ceiling.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Wallace Gilberry, Cincinnati Bengals 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.20/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 7)

30. Samson Ebukam, Eastern Washington

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2"240 lbs4.45s32 ½"9 "7.07s

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter, Samson Ebukam saw the field as a rotational pass-rusher as a true freshman and immediately earned Freshman All-American honors. Ebukam would go on to receive All-Big Sky honors in each of his final three seasons. Ebukam dominated his pro day with a 39-inch vertical jump, 4.45 time in the 40-yard dash, 24 bench press reps and a 7.07-second three-cone time. At 6’1 ⅜” and 248 pounds, Ebukam has eye-opening numbers that will get scout’s attention based on his athleticism alone. Ebukam played standing up for EWU and projects similarly in the NFL. He’s quick to turn the corner and has the hips to bend and accelerate. He’s a high motor player who coaches loved.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Ebukam needs time to learn how to be a pass-rusher with NFL tools. He doesn’t have the hands to fight off blockers and lacks the length to lock out at the point of attack. He lacks the lower-body power to sit down and anchor. Ebukam flashed against a low level of competition and wasn’t invited to the East-West Shrine or Senior Bowl and also didn’t get an invite to the NFL combine. His tape shows the potential of a speed rusher, but he has to learn counter moves and must gain strength to better handle NFL blockers.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: John Simon, Indianapolis Colts 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.20/9.00 (Developmental Player—Round 7)

29. Hunter Dimick, Utah

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2 ½"274 lbs4.73s31"8 "7.15s

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter at Utah, Hunter Dimick is a big, solid defensive end with experience playing both on the left and right side of the line. Dimick plays with a big motor and great energy. He’s a better athlete than expected for his size and is able to move with body control, balance and power in his movements. When healthy, Dimick has shown very good production and posted 35.5 TFLs and 24.5 sacks in 2014 and 2016 while playing 24 games. The senior captain was quick to get through gaps and will make splash plays in the backfield. Dimick's motor and production should get him drafted, while his football IQ and awareness are good enough to get him on the field.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Dimick will turn 24 in October and is an older player who missed half of the 2015 season with a shoulder injury. Dimick doesn’t have the measurements you want in an almost 6’3” player with only 31-inch arms, 8 ⅞-inch hands and skinny legs. He’s not field fast, and with short, choppy steps he doesn’t eat up turf in pursuit or when attacking the quarterback. Dimick can be tight-hipped and doesn’t show great potential as a stand-up rusher. Because he lacks length, hand size, lower-body power and speed, Dimick is at best a future rotational player who will have to earn his keep on special teams early on.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Frank Zombo, Kansas City Chiefs 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.30/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 6/7)

28. Josh Carraway, TCU

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3"242 lbs4.74s34 ¼"9 ¼"7.20s

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter at TCU, Josh Carraway posted 22.5 TFLs and 17 sacks in the last two seasons. He has ideal length and is a great athlete on film. He shows natural bend and can turn the corner with tight hips. Carraway counters well off the edge and has an inside move with a shoulder dip that looks pro-level. Carraway uses his length well to lock out blockers and can long-arm with his inside shoulder. There are tools here to develop if an NFL team is willing to be patient and put Carraway in a strength program. He projects well as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Carraway’s workout times did not match what shows on film. He needs to develop much better lower-body strength. Carraway’s inability to stop the run or set the edge makes him a likely situational pass-rusher at least early in his career. His toughness on film leaves a lot to be desired. Despite great length, Carraway has small hands. A lack of football IQ and instincts are consistently seen on the tape.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Dadi Nicolas, Kansas City Chiefs 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.30/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 6)

27. Garrett Sickels, Penn State

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 ½"261 lbs4.78s32 "9 ½"7.01s

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter at Penn State, Garrett Sickels goes nonstop on film. He’s a great worker with a big motor that revs all game long. Sickels has the instincts and awareness of an NFL player. He plays with the balance and agility you want and is quick to locate the ball on the go. Sickels gets into the backfield with noticeable frequency. He is a natural 4-3 defensive end coming out of the Penn State scheme but could stand up as a 3-4 outside linebacker depending on the scheme. Sickels, a junior entry into the class and just 22 years old, has room to develop his body, strength and technique.

     

    NEGATIVES

    A lack of production in the last two seasons is a question mark. Sickels struggled to close the deal as a pass-rusher, and despite having 34 hurries in 2016, per Pro Football Focus, he only posted six sacks. The overall athleticism needed to win as a pass-rusher wasn't seen on film or in workouts. Sickels lacks lower-body explosiveness and doesn’t wow you with body control and balance. He doesn’t pop off blocks and can too easily be grabbed by blockers and stuck there. With short arms and small hands, Sickels struggles to control the play.

     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Wes Horton, Carolina Panthers 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.30/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 6)

26. Keion Adams, Western Michigan

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2"247 lbs4.70s33 ¼"9 ½"7.36s

     

    POSITIVES

    A starter in each of his four seasons, at least part-time, Keion Adams was super productive over the last two seasons posting 28 TFLs and 13 sacks. Adams is a crafty, smart pass-rusher with good natural leverage, good length and enough quickness to beat blockers off the snap. He has a tight turn when coming around the corner and the footwork to chase down quarterbacks. As a three-down player, Adams is stout against the run for a smaller player. He knows how to take the right angle to the ball and is a relentless player in pursuit. Adams’ frame and athleticism would allow him to play 4-3 end or 3-4 outside ‘backer. He’s a tough player with development potential.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Scouts and coaches we talked to liked Adams as a rotational edge, but they didn’t like his run defense or play power. Both show up on film even at a MAC school. Adams will get swallowed up by big blockers and can be driven way off the ball. He’s a one-trick pass-rusher, and when he can’t win with speed, he’ll struggle to recover and come back with a counter move. Better size and better strength would be ideal. As it stands now, Adams is a situational project.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Steven Means, Philadelphia Eagles 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.40/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 6)

25. Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3"258 lbs4.72s32 "10 ½"7.26s

     

    POSITIVES

    A one-year starter at Northwestern, Ifeadi Odenigbo posted 12 TFLs and 10 sacks in his full season of playing time. If you want first-step quickness and burst, Odenigbo has both. He has a compact, athletic frame with a powerful core and lower body that allows him to explode out of the blocks. Odenigbo doesn’t have great length, but he uses what he has well with timing and a strong push to keep blockers off his body. He can sit down and anchor as a defensive end or outside linebacker. His pass-rush tools are well-developed, and he’ll use a long-arm, spin move and inside dip to beat blockers.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Odenigbo tore his labrum as a true freshman and played with a sprained ankle in 2015. His hips aren’t what you want from a prototypically sized edge. He’s too tall in his movements and doesn’t have the knee bend or hip sink to effectively turn the corner against NFL blockers. His instincts weren’t great on film, which can be expected from a one-year starter but not so much from a player who was in college for five seasons. It’s a concern that a very highly recruited prep player only saw one season of starting.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Cornelius Washington, Detroit Lions 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.50/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 6)

24. Bryan Cox, Florida

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2 "265 lbs4.89s33 ¾"9 ½"7.36s

     

    POSITIVES

    The son of former NFL linebacker of the same name, Florida’s Bryan Cox was a three-year starter. With excellent size and a big motor, Cox has the same violent and aggressive style his father played with. Cox is naturally strong and uses his size and power well in all phases of the game. The Florida defense moved Cox all over the line (similar to Dante Fowler), and he’s experienced playing in multiple alignments. Cox has the strength to play strong-side 4-3 defensive end and uses that power to anchor and also to rip and punch his way past blockers. Cox is a worker and even saw time on offense at fullback and tight end.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Injuries have kept Cox from becoming a dominant player, and his production never matched the effort or hype. He’s tough but lacks twitch in his game and isn’t fast in the open field. His short-area agility and balance were both seen as poor on film and in testing at the combine. He’s heavy-footed and won’t run down backs or quarterbacks from behind. Cox lacks the explosive quality to beat blockers off the snap. He has obvious NFL pedigree and gives wonderful effort, but Cox may not be able to overcome his lack of flexibility and speed playing a position that’s becoming more and more about quickness and athleticism.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Alex Okafor, New Orleans Saints 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.50/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 6)

23. Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'1 "268 lbs4.83s33 "9"N/A

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter at West Virginia, Noble Nwachukwu is built like a bull with a compact frame that carries the mass of a defensive end. He has experience as both a hand in the dirt defensive lineman and as a stand-up rusher. Nwachukwu has good strength at the point of attack to shut down the run. He plants his thick lower body into the turf and stands his ground. It’s a treat to watch him hit with force to finish every play.

     

    NEGATIVES

    A mediocre athlete, Nwachukwu struggles with lateral movement and re-acclerating once stopped. He has tiny hands and will rarely win with length. Nwachukwu doesn’t have the speed to chase down ball-carriers outside the hashes, and despite some experience at outside linebacker, he’s not athletic enough to play there full-time in the pros. The best move for Nwachukwu is as a part-time pass-rusher early in his career.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Vinny Curry, Philadelphia Eagles 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.60/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 5)

22. Avery Moss, Youngstown State

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 "264 lbs4.79s34 ½"10 "7.25s

     

    POSITIVES

    Just a one-year starter at Youngstown State after transferring from Nebraska, Avery Moss saw the field for the Cornhuskers as a true freshman and played in a rotation with Randy Gregory as a sophomore. Moss has the size of an NFL defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker. He’s a worker with great pursuit skills and the motor to make plays on a second attempt. Moss can be a hitter when arriving at the ball and isn’t afraid of contact. He’ll stick his nose in the backfield on rushing downs and can will his way past blockers. Moss’ first-step quickness flashed at the FCS level. His arm length and size are worth developing given his motor and work ethic.

     

    NEGATIVES

    In 2012, Moss was convicted of public indecency for exposing himself to another student. Moss was suspended and eventually banned from campus, which would lead to his transfer to Youngstown after sitting out the 2014 season. Projecting him to the NFL, Moss has to get stronger. He’s simply not playing with the upper- or lower-body power needed to beat pro talent. Moss does not yet know how to use his length or hands to disengage from or lock out blockers. He’s a raw player in need of development.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Chris Smith, Cincinnati Bengals 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.60/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 5)

21. Deatrich Wise Jr, Arkansas

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'5 ¼"274 lbs4.92s35 "10 ½"7.07s

     

    POSITIVES

    A one-year starter at Arkansas, Deatrich Wise looks the part on the hoof with great size, length and muscle tone. A team captain for the Razorbacks, Wise flashed production when on the field. In 2015, while playing as a situational rusher, he posted eight sacks and 10.5 TFLs. Wise knows how to use his amazing length to his advantage—both locking out blockers and getting his hands up to shut down passing lanes. He also has a huge tackle radius and is strong enough to keep an outside arm free and lasso a ball-carrier on the edge. Wise is a big, long strider and moves better in a short area than he does opening things up on a track.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Wise has been injured throughout his college career (hand injury 2012, knee injury 2014, broken hand 2016, separated shoulder 2016) that will cause teams to worry if he can ever stay healthy enough to play. Wise isn’t twitchy and will fall behind in pursuit because of a lack of overall speed. For a 274-pounder he moves much heavier. Given his limited time on the field at Arkansas, Wise is behind the ball in terms of awareness, instincts and technique. A lack of speed and his injury history will make Wise drop on draft day. Even with his upside and awesome length, he’s questionable as a top-120 pick.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Carl Nassib, Cleveland Browns 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.70/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 4)

20. Ejuan Price, Pittsburgh

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    5'11 "241 lbs4.74s32 ¾"10"6.98s

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter at Pitt, Ejuan Price posted 42.5 TFLs and 24.5 sacks in those two years. He has a compact 'muscle hamster' build with big hands and legs. Price plays with fierce energy and desire and has an impressive move set that ranges from spins, rips and dips with a strong punch. He turns on a different gear for passing downs like a lion hunting for dinner. He’s an instinctive rusher with the timing and burst to make splash plays when lining up wide. NFL teams will have to use Price either as a 3-4 outside linebacker or in a wide-9 set as a defensive end.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Price is clearly undersized as a sub-6'0" edge-rusher. He’s a situational pass-rusher who will get bullied on the outside if asked to set the edge against the run vs. NFL offensive tackles. Price can get out-leveraged at the point of attack if he doesn't win the jump off the snap. His subpar combine is a concern for a small player. Price will be a 24-year-old rookie after missing two seasons because of medical redshirts (torn pectoral muscle in 2012, torn pectoral muscle in 2014).
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Shaquil Barrett, Denver Broncos 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.70/9.00 (Backup Caliber—Round 4)

19. Fadol Brown, Ole Miss

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 ¾"273 lbs4.94s35"10 ¼"7.24s

     

    POSITIVES

    A part-time starter for four seasons at Ole Miss after transferring from FIU, Fadol Brown has the size and length of a 4-3 defensive end. He has a frame that could easily add serious weight and might be seen as a potential pass-rushing defensive tackle. The flashes from Brown are very good. He can latch onto blockers and get them into the backfield when asked to play head-up. He has the first step to potentially line up in gaps and make plays against double-teams. He’s tough with a high-cut body. Moving to 5-technique might be in his future if he can max out his frame. His raw tools and potential are great if a team has a plan for developing his body and his existing talent.

     

    NEGATIVES

    When the NFL draft starts, Brown will already be 24 years old and is very old for a prospect. Brown was not productive in college and posted just 5.5 sacks in four seasons of play. His football awareness didn’t impress on tape, and he was often fooled by simple misdirection or RPOs. His effort and motor are lacking and inconsistent. Brown suffered a stress fracture in his foot in 2015, and it seemed to bother him into 2016. With a narrow, thin base, Brown needs to bulk up and add power to his legs and rear to be able to play with more power.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Terrence Fede, Miami Dolphins 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.75/9.00 (Future Starter—Round 4)

18. Carroll Phillips, Illinois

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 ¼"242 lbs4.64s33"¾"7.06s

     

    POSITIVES

    A one-year starter at Illinois, Carroll Phillips has an explosive frame with good hips and feet. He was very impressive throughout Senior Bowl week with tight turns around the corner and a solid hip and shoulder dip. He makes tight, sharp bends around the edge and has the balance to run out of his turn and attack the quarterback. Phillips’ burst is enough to make you think about getting him wide off the tackle and letting him wreak havoc. He has the body, balance and speed to play in a 3-4 outside linebacker role coming out of Illinois’ 4-3 defense.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Phillips had a long road to Illinois and the 2017 draft class. He was originally recruited in the 2011 Cincinnati class, but he didn’t pass academically. He then played at Copiah-Lincoln Community College (2013) before transferring to Illinois in 2014. Because of this, Phillips turns 25 years old in September. Phillips lacks play power and is a wash in the run game. He’ll get locked on and pushed around at the point of attack and is much more comfortable in space. He looked better in shorts and shoulder pads than he did at Illinois, which is a concern. Just one year of starting and already being 24 years old are major knocks on a player with good positional and athletic upside.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Willie Young, Chicago Bears 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.90/9.00 (Future Starter—Round 4)

17. Dawuane Smoot, Illinois

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 "264 lbs4.77s33 ¼"9 ¼"7.18s

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter and team captain, Dawuane Smoot has worked hard to add incredible amount of mass to his frame after being a track athlete. He displays good burst and power off the snap when in attack mode as a pass-rusher. He has a wide array of moves showing the ability to rip, swim and bull rush his way to the quarterback. His production in an pro-style 4-3 defense should open some eyes. Smoot has a good motor and took very well to coaching from Lovie Smith. He’s a great tackler in space and has the football IQ to be a contributor early on. Based on his production, leadership, instincts and work ethic, Smoot should be a top-120 pick.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Smoot gets eaten alive against the run. He has small hands that prevent him from disengaging blockers on a consistent basis. He did not test as an above-average athlete as expected at the NFL combine. He doesn't possess the ability to plant his foot and bend from the edge. Smoot doesn’t have the burst to beat NFL tackles off the snap. He was overshadowed by teammates at the Senior Bowl and struggled to win one-on-ones that required hip flexibility and burst. His poor showing at the combine further affected his stock in a negative way, as testing times and numbers backed up a belief that he lacks explosive qualities.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Bjoern Werner, Retired

    FINAL GRADE: 5.90/9.00 (Future Starter—Round 4)

16. Trey Hendrickson, Florida Atlantic

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'4"266 lbs4.65s32"9 "7.03s

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter at Florida Atlantic, Trey Hendrickson is an impressive athlete and player. He posted 40 TFLs in the last three years to go along with 28 sacks in that same time. When given the spotlight at the Shrine Game, Hendrickson’s high-motor, violent style of play turned heads. He has an excellent frame and could even continue to fill out. His first-step burst is good enough to win against NFL talent, and he has the athleticism to finish. Hendrickson is strong enough to set and hold the edge and uses his size well. He’s athletic enough to play standing up or with his hand in the dirt. Hendrickson’s role early in the NFL is most likely as a situational rusher.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Hendrickson’s hip flexibility is an issue. He’s super tight making turns and needs room to operate with longer strides. With short arms and small hands, it’s possible Hendrickson will never be able to lock out blockers in the NFL. Because he already lacks some lower body strength, Hendrickson is an unbalanced body to match power in the NFL. He gives great effort, but can be a one-trick pony as a pass-rusher and doesn’t always show up with a plan.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Kyler Fackrell, Green Bay Packers 

    FINAL GRADE: 5.99/9.00 (Future Starter—Round 4)

15. Joe Mathis, Washington

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'1 "266 lbsINJ33"9"INJ

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter at defensive end, Joe Mathis has the killer instinct on the field with a high motor. A thick frame with long arms allows him to give good second effort to work off blockers. He was a consistent, productive disruptor who ripped through Pac-12 offensive tackles with ease. Mathis also has a strong initial punch off the snap and a great shoulder dip to turn the corner and get in the pocket. He's a patient read-and-react run defender, and the Huskies defense was noticeably better when he was playing. Mathis has first-round flashes but must have his injury history vetted. If he can get right and stay healthy, he could outplay many of the people listed ahead of him.

     

    NEGATIVES

    A serious season-ending foot injury (torn toe ligament) in the sixth game of the season raises long-term health and effectiveness questions. Mathis has a noticeable lack of explosiveness and speed and struggles to get off the snap. He plays too upright at times and can show heavy feet and stiff hips. Mathis lacks ideal height and length. Scouts conveyed concerns that Mathis’ body has suffered since his injury and that he will struggle to get back into football shape once cleared. The injury history and concerns about his conditioning may drop Mathis to the late rounds.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Courtney Upshaw, Atlanta Falcons 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.00/9.00 (Future Starter—Round 3)

14. DeMarcus Walker, Florida State

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 "280 lbs4.79s33"10 ½"N/A

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter, DeMarcus Walker saw the field as a true freshman at Florida State and has experience playing both in a two- and three-point role there. As a defensive end the last two seasons, he became more of a producer and logged 26.5 sacks in 2015-16. Walker is a two-time captain and well-liked by teammates and coaches. On the hoof, Walker has a great frame with natural power and bulk. He can play inside and outside the tackle and has the tools to win going off either shoulder. His short-area quickness can be impressive enough to win with. Walker is a technician who understands hand usage and how to set up moves with his length, and he can also drop a spin move at times. Walker is a natural 4-3 defensive end with his build and skill set but does have experience standing up.

     

    NEGATIVES

    A left foot injury kept Walker from participating in the Senior Bowl and combine. If you’re looking for a twitchy bender, Walker isn’t that guy. He’s stiff-hipped and a long turner off the edge. Walker has to get upfield before he can make a turn on a tackle and is often run out of the play. As an anchor, Walker has flashed skills but was also moved by double-teams and struggled to hold his ground. Walker’s lack of burst and flexibility make him a 4-3 end who could kick inside in some sub-packages. How well he performs outside of a talented FSU defense will be interesting.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Kony Ealy, New England Patriots 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.10/9.00 (Future Starter—Round 3)

13. Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'5 ¼"266 lbs4.76s35"9 "7.03s

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter who saw time as a true freshman, Daeshon Hall has ideal NFL size and length for a 4-3 defensive end. A former prep basketball stud, Hall has added 60 pounds since arriving at Texas A&M and may still be able to add good weight. He has the instincts and awareness to be a left or right defensive end with a quick diagnosing ability. He’s a top-level athlete for his size with great lower body explosiveness and body control. Hall is a worker with excellent football IQ according to coaches. NFL teams will be intrigued by his positional versatility and athletic upside.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Hall has to work to improve his play power. On film he’s too easily pushed off his spot and has not shown to be a reliable anchor in the run game. His pad height is a problem, and Hall has to learn to fire out of his stance with leverage and low pads. With 35-inch arms, you expect more of an ability to lock out blockers, but it’s not there on film. Hall’s long, looping style as a pass-rusher and tall frame will make him an easier target to block in the pros. Improving lower body flexibility and burst will go a long way in helping Hall reach his potential.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Andre Branch, Miami Dolphins 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.30/9.00 (Future Starter—Round 3)

12. Tarell Basham, Ohio

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 ¾"269 lbs4.70s34 ¼"10 ¼"7.27s

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter at Ohio, Tarell Basham saw the field as a true freshman playing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. On the hoof, Basham is impressive with an excellent build and the long arms needed to keep tackles off his frame. He has a body that could still be growing and might be able to add more weight. He has play power and can anchor at the point of attack. He’s played both left and right end and has had to hold up against the run. A high-motor player, Basham is a worker on and off the field.

     

    NEGATIVES

    You won’t see much twitch in Basham’s game. He’s a long, linear body without the lower body agility and burst to bend and get upfield. He was able to win in college without great hand-fighting ability and could stand to develop a spin move or inside counter. Basham’s overall body type and power are disappointing if you want someone with the total body strength to consistently anchor and play the run as a strong-side defensive end. With his high-cut frame and long arms, he is a fit in a scheme like Carolina or Cincinnati.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Emmanuel Ogbah, Cleveland Browns 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.40/9.00 (Future Starter—Round 3)

11. Carl Lawson, Auburn

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'1 ¾"261 lbs4.67s31 ½"10 "7.46s

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter at Auburn, Carl Lawson has a thick, muscular frame with chiseled arms, giant hands and tree-trunk legs. He’s explosive off the snap, giving slow-footed tackles little chance of putting up a fight. He has great hands and is creative and relentless with a full arsenal of pass-rush moves. Lawson has power to toss tackles aside or drive them into the quarterback’s lap. He can plant his foot to bend into the pocket. Tight ends and running backs don't stand a chance against him. His play reaches new heights with better competition; he beat Laremy Tunsil multiple times. He shows good containment and leverage as a run defender on the edge.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Lawson has long-term injury concerns and has missed time with a torn ACL and a cracked hip. He plays a bit stiff at times and has slow lateral movement. Short arms and an overall lack of length show up on film as tackles can quickly get their hands into his frame. Lawson is a non-factor in the run game and is an ideal fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker or situational edge-rusher. His poor three-cone time indicates weak balance and agility, and both can show on film. Lawson's short arms make him a poor fit in a 3-4 defense that looks for length on the edge or requires the versatility to play defensive end.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Noah Spence, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.45/9.00 (Rookie Impact—Round 3)

10. Tim Williams, Alabama

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2 "244 lbs4.68s32 ¾"9 ¼"7.36s

     

    POSITIVES

    Tim Williams saw the field as a true freshman at Alabama on his way to becoming a major contributor as a pass-rusher for the Crimson Tide. Williams has the natural twitch and explosion to be a 10-sack guy in the NFL. He’s so fast out of the blocks and can blow past blockers from a two- or three-point stance. He has loose, flexible, agile hips and can bend and dip with top-tier explosion and closing speed. Williams brings a plan as a rusher and will whip out spin moves, shoulder dips and a long-arm that stuns blockers. He’s a violent hitter. If the team that drafts Williams can implement a plan for managing him on and off the field, he can be a special player.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Williams’ off-field issues will have to be thoroughly vetted. He was suspended for preseason practice in 2014 and was arrested in September 2016 for carrying a pistol without a permit. Williams admitted at the combine to failing multiple drug tests. He also was held out of the bench press at the combine for a shoulder injury. Williams is a lean, skinny player who was a rotational pass-rusher and rarely on the field for rushing plays. One coach we spoke to at Alabama questioned Williams’ football IQ as a reason he wasn’t on the field other than as a rusher with one job. Another scout said Williams lost 20 pounds between his junior and senior seasons.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Bruce Irvin, Oakland Raiders 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.50/9.00 (Rookie Impact—Round 2/3)

9. Jordan Willis, Kansas State

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 ¾"255 lbs4.53s33 ½"9 "6.85s

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter at Kansas State, playing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, Jordan Willis hit the field as a true freshman and has produced well in the Big 12. In 2016, he was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year with 11.5 sacks and 17.5 TFLs. Willis was outstanding in the predraft process and had great showings at the Senior Bowl and in agility and field testing at the combine. He has great first-step speed and can get into the backfield in a flash. He uses his balance and timing well to stay under control and with great leverage. Willis uses his weight-room strength on the field and can shed blockers on the go. He’s a high-character worker with a chip on his shoulder. I love Willis’ lower body explosion, power and pure speed. If unleashed in a scheme, he could be an instant 10-sack player.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Willis doesn’t have the open-field agility for an outside linebacker position if asked to do anything but rush the quarterback. He’s an upfield-only guy and struggles when asked to drop into coverage, like at the Senior Bowl. Big 12 offensive tackles had no answer for Willis, but he faced little NFL talent at right tackle in that conference. Willis was a bit of a one-year wonder, which you have to question. His ability as a straight-line player is special, but his bend is average
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Owa Odighizuwa, New York Giants 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.50/9.00 (Rookie Impact—Round 2/3)

8. Derek Rivers, Youngstown State

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3 "248 lbs4.61s32 ¾"9 "6.94s

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter and senior captain at Youngstown State, Derek Rivers is one of the hottest names in the 2017 class. Rivers impresses as an athlete with great strength, balance and burst coming off the line of scrimmage. His production was impressive, and when called on at the Senior Bowl he won against bigger competition. Rivers has the hips to get low and bend around the corner and understands leverage. He’ll sprint out of the turn like a NASCAR driver. He has the look of a guy who could run full speed under a trampoline. Rivers understands how to use his length and hands to create and maintain separation from blockers. As a small-school player with great athleticism, Rivers has a lot of upside as a 3-4 outside linebacker. With his speed and upper body strength, he’ll turn heads on film and in workouts.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Rivers’ play power wasn’t impressive, even against lower-level competition. He struggles to come off blockers once locked up and goes through spurts where he’s not effective on the edge. Rivers’ production might be misleading given the level of competition and that he tended to collect a lot of uncontested sacks. His instincts and awareness were not tested. Rivers is a one-trick pony as a rusher who must learn secondary rush moves to better counter blockers who can match his athleticism. He does not convert speed to power, and I worry his motor doesn’t run hot enough consistently.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Aaron Lynch, San Francisco 49ers 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.50/9.00 (Rookie Impact—Round 2/3)

7. T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'4 ½"252 lbs4.69s33 "11"6.79s

     

    POSITIVES

    The younger brother of NFL star J.J. Watt, T.J. began his football career at Wisconsin playing tight end but was redshirted and then hurt his knee early in 2014. Watt then hurt the other knee during 2015 spring practices and had both knees operated on. He moved to linebacker in the fall of '15 and has been there ever since. He looks the part with great size and length and a frame that’s still filling out. Watt is a disruptor with great three-down production. He’s explosive off the snap and plays with the power and motor you want in a defender. Watt’s quickness and energy are ideal traits, and he’ll quickly be recognized as a leader in locker rooms. He’s still scratching the surface of who he can be and has never had a truly healthy season to put in work as an edge-rusher. Watt’s ceiling might be the highest of any edge player not named Myles Garrett.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Watt is still relatively new to playing defense and needs work on the intricacies of the game. The fact that he’s been hurt three times in three seasons is a major concern. Watt will need to bulk up and add lower body strength to better take on blockers at the point of attack. He’ll have to learn some secondary pass-rush moves too. Watt has almost no experience in coverage.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Trent Murphy, Washington 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.75/9.00 (Rookie Starter—Round 2)

6. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'2"250 lbs4.59s33 "10 ¼"7.48s

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter at defensive end in a 4-3 front, Takkarist McKinley emerged as a special talent in 2016. McKinley overcame a rough childhood without either parent and has fought for his status as a top player. Originally a Cal commit, McKinley played a year at Contra Costa Community College before UCLA. He has excellent length and knows how to use his big hands to keep blockers off his frame. McKinley’s burst and timing are top-tier coming off the line of scrimmage. He’s able to time the snap but also beats tackles with speed and great leverage. There’s some DeMarcus Ware to his game. Even with a shoulder injury, he stood out at the combine with his effort and willingness to play hurt.

     

    NEGATIVES

    A shoulder injury found to be a torn labrum shut McKinley down for the Senior Bowl and combine. I’m not knocking McKinley for poor times in any drill since he was running with a torn labrum. The stiffness in his hips that did creep up on tape can be found if you look for it in drills. He’ll have to work to unlock his hips and speed up his process as a bender. Takk is a little short and could be seen as a 3-4 outside 'backer only.
     

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Shane Ray, Denver Broncos 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.99/9.00 (Rookie Starter—Round 2)

5. Derek Barnett, Tennessee

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3"259 lbs4.88s32 "10"6.96s

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter and all-time school record holder for sacks with 33 (his 52 tackles for loss were second in Volunteers history), Derek Barnett is one of the most decorated Tennessee players ever. Just 20 years old at the time of the draft, Barnett is still a baby in terms of athletic development. He is able to beat blockers with exceptional short-area quickness and burst off the line. He's an instinctive, smart rusher who can counter blockers with a good spin move.

    Barnett posted at least 10 sacks in every season at Tennessee, starting as a true freshman in the SEC. He's versatile enough to put his hand in the dirt or stand up as an outside linebacker and has an ideal frame for both spots. Barnett is a high-motor, aggressive player with the tools to be a 10-plus-sack player right away in the NFL. His production speaks for itself in a major conference, and the fact that he's been dominant against NFL-level blockers since he was barely 18 years old is a big win.

     

    NEGATIVES

    It’s hard to get over how poorly Barnett timed at the combine and his pro day in the 40-yard dash. He isn't a natural athlete with twitchy, explosive traits outside of his first steps. His hips aren't super flexible, and his turn on the corner can be stiff and long instead of a sharp, tight, fast bend. Barnett is young enough to still add bulk while working on better agility and flexibility. He's never going to wow with his athleticism, but he makes up for it with motor and timing.             

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville Jaguars 

    FINAL GRADE: 6.99/9.00 (Rookie Starter—Round 2)

4. Taco Charlton, Michigan

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'6"277 lbs4.92s34 ¼"¾"7.17s

     

    POSITIVES

    A one-year starter at Michigan, Taco Charlton was unstoppable in 2016, playing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and finishing with 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Charlton has NFL size, strength and athleticism. his 34 ¼-inch length allows him to long-arm blockers and keep them off his body. He's big enough and strong enough to set the edge in the running game and can be an anchor at left defensive end.

    Charlton has excellent instincts and timing to get his hands up and knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. He's a big man with a huge stride and better speed than his times suggest. Charlton is an ideal 4-3 defensive end but could play an Elephant role in a 3-4 scheme as well. What's most encouraging is how well Charlton played at the end of the year. He showed his ability to improve and that he has plenty of room for development.

     

    NEGATIVES

    It took Charlton until 2016 to crack the starting lineup at Michigan. His tape is inconsistent. He has to learn to rev up his motor all the time. You'd like to see much better pad control and hip flexibility from Charlton when he's turning the corner. He's still developing as a pass-rusher. Against NFL talent, he doesn't have the twitchy burst to win with speed.

    PRO COMPARISON: Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals 

    FINAL GRADE: 7.00/9.00 (Rookie Starter—Round 1)

3. Charles Harris, Missouri

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3"253 lbs4.82s32 "9 "7.47s

     

    POSITIVES

    A two-year starter at Missouri, Charles Harris almost entered the 2016 NFL draft. He's explosive off the snap and can counter inside with a terrific spin move, but he also has enough bend to win from the outside. Harris does his best work when asked to pin his ears back and attack. He proved himself to be a strong run defender and has the ceiling to be the complete package.

    Harris has shown the traits (bend, balance, speed) to be a productive NFL defensive end or outside linebacker. He has a complete set of tools in his toolbox and can counter NFL-caliber blockers on the edge. He can fire off with speed and finish with power. The arrow is pointing up on his development potential.

    Harris gets points for dealing with a scheme change in 2016 that asked him to play head-up on the offensive tackle and be responsible for two gaps instead of lining up outside the tackle and asked to pin his ears back as a pass-rusher.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Harris struggled at the combine and could scare off teams with his poor numbers. His production dropped when his role changed in his final year, and his father let it be known why. His hip flexibility and his bend can be inconsistent, and his ability to ever be a threat dropping into coverage is questionable.
     

    PRO COMPARISON: Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs 

    FINAL GRADE: 7.05/9.00 (Rookie Starter—Round 1)

2. Solomon Thomas, Stanford

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'3"273 lbs4.69s33"9 "6.95s

     

    POSITIVES

    Solomon Thomas started just one year at Stanford before heading to the NFL draft as a redshirt sophomore. He'll be a 21-year old rookie. Thomas is able to win with exceptional first-step quickness and aggression. He plays with a high motor and is able to shoot gaps with quickness or power. He uses his length well to lock out blockers and can be very strong at the point of attack. He plays with great strength and knows how to use leverage and power to get the job done.

    Thomas can align head-up on a blocker or in a gap and has plenty of positional versatility due to his athleticism, strength and experience. He is explosive off the snap and applies what he sees on film to the field to snuff out plays as they develop. Thomas is a high-character leader with excellent wiring. As a young player, he still has room in his game to continue developing. Thomas is a Day 1 starter at defensive end or defensive tackle.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Thomas has to be labeled a tweener because of his smaller size and natural fit as a 5-technique. He doesn’t have the flexibility to play in a stand-up role. Thomas' size won’t be what teams prefer at his position, but he'll overcome that with his wiring and his power. His body may be maxed out.

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Chris Long, Philadelphia Eagles 

    FINAL GRADE: 7.50/9.00 (Pro Bowl Potential—Top-10 Pick)

1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

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    Measurables
    HeightWeight40 TimeArm LengthHand Size3-Cone
    6'4"272 lbs4.64s35 ¼"10 ¼"N/A

     

    POSITIVES

    A three-year starter at Texas A&M, Myles Garrett is the prototype at defensive end. At 6'4" and 272 pounds, he has excellent strength, speed and a massive wingspan with 35 ¼-inch arms and 10 ¼-inch hands. Garrett's power shows on the field and in the weight room. Most long-armed players struggle in the bench press, but he rocked out 33 reps at the combine.

    On the field, you can see him pressing blockers off his frame (see UCLA) to get to the ball-carrier. Garrett has eye-popping burst and short-area quickness, showing fantastic footwork and balance. He's fast enough to play in pursuit and will run backs down from behind. Garrett is one of the freakiest athletes seen in the last six years, and the tape and his workouts back it up.

    A scheme-versatile talent, he can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up off the edge. He also has value as an interior pass-rusher in nickel situations if desired. Garrett has one of the highest grades ever assigned—behind only Von Miller and Patrick Peterson in the last seven drafts. His combination of athleticism, production and potential make him a no-doubt No. 1 overall pick.

     

    NEGATIVES

    Garrett played through an ankle injury in 2016 that limited his snaps and his production. He only played one full season in college (2015). Critics will point out that Garrett's sack production comes against small-school competition and not always against SEC big dogs. He can be inconsistent with his motor and has to learn to give more all-out effort.

     

    PRO COMPARISON: Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers 

    FINAL GRADE: 8.50/9.00 (All-Pro Talent—No. 1 Pick)