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Defensive Player Rankings

Shane P. Hallam

Defensive Line:

1. Leonard Williams, USC – Elite prospect who can play 5-tech, 3-tech, 0-tech, or even play some 4-3 DE. Big, strong, agile, and explosive. Stud.

2. Shane Ray, Missouri – Good hip flexibility and athleticism. Better with hand on ground than LB. Pass rusher with upside vs. run.

3. Eddie Goldman, Florida State – Penetrating DT or 5-tech who is extremely disruptive with a strong lower body. Instant starter.

4. Danny Shelton, Washington – Huge player with unmatched athleticism. Played a ton of snaps with a good motor for a big player. Ideal versatile D-lineman.

5. Arik Armstead, Oregon – Huge with great length and big range. Excellent vs. the run and can force RBs further outside.

6. Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma – Gigantic and athletic, Phillips can be developed into a real weapon in the middle. Could fit in 3-4 or 4-3 defenses.

7. Malcolm Brown, Texas – On par with Phillips as an athletic nose tackle. Potential first round pick due to experience and upside.

8. Preston Smith, Miss. State – Good all around DE who tackles well and has some pass rush ability. Doesn’t wow, but productive vs. run/pass w/ good size.

9. Mario Edwards, Florida State – Big and athletic but has never put it all together. Inconsistent with huge upside. Can play in variety of schemes too.

10. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA – Violent pass rusher with long arms. Very difficult to stop for long and has NFL pass rushing tendencies. Should develop into a starter.

11. Carl Davis, Iowa – Great technique and athleticism but can sometimes take plays off. Answered pass rush questions in Mobile pushing him into the Top 50.

12. Nate Orchard, Utah – Could play DE or LB. A bit finesse but if he gets around the OT, he is dangerous. Needs to refine pass rush moves.

13. Trey Flowers, Arkansas – Strong upper and lower body collapses the pocket quickly & forces ball carrier to change their path. Not as athletic as you want.

14. Michael Bennett, Ohio State – Athletic 3-technique who uses good leverage and explosion to get through the line of scrimmage. Good complimentary DL piece.

15. Darius Philon, Arkansas – Extremely athletic but very inconsistent. Not big, but he still plays the run well and is a tenacious pass rusher.

16. Ellis McCarthy, UCLA – Solid all round with good size. Plays a bit high at times and can get stonewalled, but when playing well, he is a terror to block.

17. Markus Golden, Missouri – Gifted athlete with a variety of pass rush moves. Seems to falter when not playing well and become unstoppable when playing well.

18. Geneo Grissom, Oklahoma – Has played 3 diff positions. Pure football athlete who just needs to find a place to play. Quick & explosive.

19. ZaDarius Smith, Kentucky – Good burst off the edge. Gets to the sideline vs. the run pretty well and has pass rush ability.

20. Anthony Chickillo, Miami – Very fast and strong, but needs to learn how to use his hands and leverage consistently.

Linebackers:

1. Randy Gregory, Nebraska – Great pass rushing presence; has practice standing up. Uses speed, size, and variety of moves. Ideal 3-4 OLB.

2. Dante Fowler, Florida – Still raw in rush moves, but his quickness and power are unmatched. Could develop into a special talent.

3. Bud Dupree, Kentucky – Productive with a big time motor. Great hand puncher with a great inside move. Can be used in variety of ways.

4. Vic Beasley, Clemson – Anticipates snap extremely well with a good first step. Pass rushing specialist who, in the right role, can terrorize the backfield.

5. Benadrick McKinney, Miss. St. – Solid all around player who crashes downhill and is equally good vs. run and pass. Overextends at times.

6. Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville – Pass rusher with blend of speed and power. Despite size, is strong at the POA and closes pocket fast.

7. Denzel Perryman, Miami (FL) – Unstoppable at full speed but struggles disengaging blocks. Rangy and can cover TEs/slot WRs

8. Shaq Thompson, Washington – Athletic but undersized. Weakside LB or Safety who has great hip flexibility & solid in coverage or off edge.

9. Paul Dawson, TCU – If character unwarranted, could be top 5. Disengages well, big hitter, but rarely gets a tackle broken.

10. Hauoli Kikaha, Washington – Great pass rusher who uses length to not let blockers engage. Injury history is suspect, talent is great.

11. Kwon Alexander, LSU – Undersized, but very good at wrapping up and dropping back into coverage. Ideal weakside NFL LB.

12. Eric Kendricks, UCLA – Solid middle thumper who lacks upside but has shown how good his FBI is. Team leader and starter.

13. Max Valles, Virginia – Upside pass rusher who has been in a stand up rush role already. Flexible and quick. Dips well

14. Eli Harold, Virginia – Not flashy or overly impressive, but productive and polished. Has a good idea how to get past OTs.

15. Tony Washington, Oregon – Hard hitting playmaker who can play different LB roles depending on D scheme either OLB or ILB.

16. Stephone Anthony, Clemson – Thumper who plays upright and isn’t super explosive, but fills gaps & has technique. Good support player.

17. Hayes Pullard, USC – Explosive tackler who gets to RBs going inside or outside. Has some coverage upside as well.

18. Taiwan Jones, Michigan State – Big and imposing ILB. Ideal for 3-4 ILB. Not much in coverage but excellent vs. run.

19. Ramik Wilson, Georgia – Ideal 4-3 OLB. Great instincts vs. run and wraps up well. Not much in coverage.

20. Kyle Emanuel, NDSU – Plays low and strong. Very explosive and makes OL pay. Big time upside.

Defensive Backs:

1. Landon Collins, Alabama – Good two way safety. Not elite, but closes fast, excellent tackler who can be a leader of a defense.

2. PJ Williams, Florida State – Fast, athletic, big upside CB. Inconsistent play marred his college career, but had some dominant performances.

3. Trae Waynes, Michigan State – Tough, physical CB at the line of scrimmage. Can be very stiff, but can overcome that to be a starter.

4. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest – Dominated ACC with good athleticism and leaping ability. Smooth in and out of breaks with high FBI. Underrated.

5. Quinten Rollins, Miami (OH) – Top notch size, speed, and athletic ability with playmaking ball skills. Lack of experience holds him back.

6. Ronald Darby, Florida State – Extremely fast, but not overly physical when contested. Might end up better slot CB than #1.

7. Derron Smith, Fresno State – Playmaking FS who is ideal 1 deep. Will help coverage. Not great against the run or tackling in open space

8. Lorenzo Doss, Tulane – Short, slim, but very tough. Plays the run well for size and is an agitator of WRs. Underrated.

9. Jalen Collins, LSU – Big, long, and athletic. Looks like a top flight NFL CB but doesn’t always play up to that. Can be molded into a true #1.

10. Marcus Peters, Washington – Excellent athlete and technician with good size, but maturity concerns could push him into 2nd day.

11. Alex Carter, Stanford – Big press CB who doesn’t fit all schemes. Pretty rigid in his movement, but makes up ground quickly.

12. Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss – Big downhill tackler who should play in the box plenty. Has ball skills too that can be utilized.

13. Gerod Holliman, Louisville – Playmaking FS with big numbers, but not good at tackling. Has work ethic concerns as well.

14. Jaquiski Tartt, Samford – Big rangy safety who can hit hard and cover slower TEs. Needs to improve COD. 2nd Day pick.

15. DJoun Smith, FAU – Loose hipped CB who plays very low. Has the technique to be a good CB and return man too.

16. Damarious Randall, Arizona State – Small, but makes big plays often. Great nose for the ball, breaks quick.

17. Josh Shaw, USC – Big and physical player who plays too upright. Has a ton of potential to be a future starter.

18. Ifo Ekepre Olomu, Oregon – Injury and size aside, Olomu has a ton of potential to be one of the best slot CBs in the NFL. Late 2nd day player.

19. Jacoby Glenn, UCF – Athletic, but often plays very sloppy with a lot of wasted movement. Upside, but needs coaching/work.

20. Kevin White, TCU – Small but tenacious CB who won’t let WRs run free. Showed he can play with bigger WRs.



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