As is the case almost every year, senior prospects on the defensive line received high grades from National. Twenty-four defensive ends were given draftable grades while the count for defensive tackles reached twenty three. Here’s the breakdown of both positions, including names of those graded outside the seven rounds.
Adrian Clayborn/Iowa: Clayborn was one of two seniors to receive a grade of 7.3, the highest given out in 2010. He’s a terrific pass rusher though we are concerned with his struggles defending the run. 1st Round
Allen Bailey/Miami-Fl: Bailey’s grade of 6.9 was a bit of a drop off from Clayborn and we are not convinced he deserved that high a rating. He does have the versatility to line up as a conventional end in a four man alignment or as a two-gap end. Late 1st/2nd Round
Greg Romeus/Pittsburgh: Glad to see Romeus get such a well deserved grade. He’s been a forceful player for the Panthers since his freshman season. Late 1st/2nd Round
Pernell McPhee/Mississippi State: We recently finished a bunch of MSU film and were impressed with McPhee, who’s played just one year of IA football. Even at 277-pounds he holds up well against the run besides being a solid pass rusher. 2nd/3rd Round
Jeremy Beal/Oklahoma: This is a big season for Beal, who must show he can be the man on the Sooners line, which lost a lot of talent to the NFL. 2nd/3rd Round
Jabaal Sheard/Pittsburgh: Sheard could be a better pure pass rusher than Romeus. He does not get the notoriety of his teammate yet is a quality prospect. 2nd/3rd Round
Cameron Heyward/Ohio State: We think Heyward deserved better than a 6.0 and by next April he’ll be talked about as a top 15 pick. 2nd/3rd Round
Pierre Allen/Nebraska: Grade, 5.9. 3rd/4th Round
Patrick Kerrigan/Purdue: Kerrigan is tough as nails yet does not display great upside. Could be a starter in a four man line. 3rd/4th Round
Cameron Jordan/Cal: Jordan was a player we loved off the 2008 yet he initially struggled in the 3-4 run by the Bears last season. Still, he offers great upside. 3rd/4th Round
Sam Acho/Texas: Acho considered entering last April’s draft but made the right decision returning to UT. He lacks the great computer numbers (6030/260lbs) yet makes a lot of plays on the field. 3rd/4th Round
Karl Klug/Iowa: We like Klug as a college player yet think he has limited upside and his grade of 5.5 was a bit generous. 5.5 3rd/4th Round
Ryan Winterswyk/Boise State: Grade 5.4 5th/7th Round
Scott Solomon/Rice: Scott plays with a non-stop motor but has poor size (6026/273 verified) and really does not play fast. 5th/7th Round
Ben Martin/Tennessee: Martin is a speed rusher who lacks the size to be an every down defensive end at the next level. At 6034/250lbs verified, we can see a number of 3-4 teams giving him a look at outside linebacker. 5th/7th Round
Christian Anthony/Grambling: Anthony is someone we’ve raved about for two years running. Watching Grambling film, he’s a defender that grabs you. He’s got solid size (6034/276lbs verified) and displays a lot of athleticism and aggressiveness on the field. We feel he is underrated with the grade givrn of 5.3. 5th/7th Round
Lazarius Levingston/LSU: Levingston is a player we like quite a bit. He’s fast off the edge and shows ability in pursuit. He must get stronger and add bulk to his frame (6032/280lbs) if possible. 5th/7th Round
Kentrell Lockett/Mississippi: Lockett is a terrific edge rusher who makes plays down the line. His game did not progress in 2009 as we hoped. 5th/7th Round
Clay Nurse/Illinois: With all the talk about Josh Brent of Illinois making himself eligible for the supplemental draft, Nurse was far and away the better player on tape. 5th/7th Round
Cheta Ozougwu/Rice: Ozougwu looks athletic and plays with a lot of quickness. His size (6016/255lbs) is a limiting factor as he easily gets caught up in the wash pursuing the action. 5th/7th Round
Jonathan Freeny/Rutgers: Grade, 5.2 5th/7th Round
Cliff Matthews/South Carolina: In our opinion Matthews is sort of a poor man’s John Abraham and was severely under-graded at 5.2 5th/7th Round
Ugo Chinasa/Oklahoma State: Chinasa’s game has never really progressed the way we thought it should. 5th/7th Round
Brooks Reed/Arizona: Grade, 5.0 5th/7th Round
Notes: Markus White of Florida State, a legitimate mid-round choice in our opinion, was given a grade of 4.9. Other players graded as priority free agents include Kevin Kooyman of Washington State, who returns from injury and DeMarcus Dobbs of Georgia.
Marc Schiechl, one of our favorite small school sleepers, was graded at 4.4. The well travelled Eugene Germany who is at Central Washington by way of Michigan, was graded at 1.5; keep an eye on him.
How does this compare to last year?
Twenty-nine defensive ends were given draftable grades one year ago headlined by Greg Hardy (7.0) then Corey Wooton (6.8). Brandon Graham was given a grade of 6.4, equivalent to a 2nd/3rd round choice.
Marvin Austin/North Carolina: Austin’s grade of 6.7 is understandable, though we are of the opinion his intensity does not match his skill and as a result he’ll drop down boards next April. Late 1st/2nd Round
Stephen Paea/Oregon State: Paea was very close to entering last April’s draft but bowed out late in the process. He’s a slightly bigger version of Sedrick Ellis with less talent around him. 2nd/3rd Round
Jerrell Powe/Mississippi: Powe was graded at 6.2, a number we feel will be higher in eight months. He’s the premiere nose tackle prospect in this draft, though we’d like to see him use his hands more and do the little things better. 2nd/3rd Round
Kenrick Ellis/Hampton: Good to see the former South Carolina star ranked so highly at 5.7. 3rd/4th Round
Adrian Taylor/Oklahoma: A quality lineman with ability in a four man front or as a two-gap end, Taylor must eventually return and show no ill effects from the gruesome injury he suffered in the last December’s Sun Bowl. 3rd/4th Round
Ian Williams/Notre Dame: Williams graded out at 5.6, higher than we think his talents warrant. 3rd/4th Round
Cedric Thornton/Southern Arkansas: Grade, 5.5 3rd/4th Round
Drake Nevis/LSU: Nevis does not make enough plays to justify the grade of 5.4. 5th/7th Round
Lawon Scott/Mississippi: Lawon has size and power but needs to show more consistency. 5th/7th Round
Sione Fua/Stanford: Grade, 5.4 5th/7th Round
John Graves/Virginia Tech: Graves is another who disappears on film. 5th/7th Round
Jarvis Jenkins/Clemson: In our opinion Jenkins should be near the top of the list as his grade of 5.3 to low. He’s athletic, explosive and can be used in a variety of systems. 5th/7th Round
Josh Brent/Illinois: The supplemental draft prospect graded out at 5.3 5th/7th Round
Corbin Bryant/Northwestern: Grade, 5.3 5th/7th Round
Christian Ballard/Iowa: Next to Jarvis Jenkins, Ballard may be the most underrated senior defensive lineman on this list. His verified computer numbers (6040/298lbs/4.85-forty) are outstanding. We feel he’s as athletic and explosive as his teammate, Adrian Clayborn, and offers potential at defensive tackle or as a two-gap end. 5th/7th Round
Ladi Ajiboye/South Carolina: Explosive one-gap tackle who struggled with injury last fall. 5th/7th Round
Terrell McClain/South Florida: McClain is a guy we’ve watched for two years but a prospect yet to break out. 5th/7th Round
Colby Whitlock/Texas Tech: Grade, 5.1 5th/7th Round
Ibrahim Abdulai/Arkansas Pine-Bluff: Grade, 5.0 5th/7th Round
Farell Laurent/Mississippi: Another talented Rebel lineman with good size. 5th/7th Round
Olong Ogbu/Penn State: Ogbu is an explosive, one-gap or three technique tackle. 5th/7th Round
Anthony Gray/Southern Mississippi: Gray has good size (5114/316lbs) and speed (5.09) as well as the strength to plug the middle. He rarely plays with a sense of urgency though. 5th/7th Round
Notes: Baylor’s Phillip Taylor, the transfer from Penn State and a player many pegged as a potential first round pick last October before his play went south, was graded at 4.5. He barely classifies as a priority free agent. Taylor’s verified size is 6033/353lbs.
How does this compare to last year? Ndamukong Suh was the highest rated defensive tackle last season at 7.0 followed by Arthur Jones (6.9) then Terrence Cody (6.5). For all the grief the Jacksonville Jaguars took for selecting him so early, Tyson Alualu was the fifth rated tackle one year ago. Lamarr Houston was graded as a priority free agent while Dan Williams was graded no better than a camp player.