NFL Draft – Defensive End Rankings

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

7.) Trent Murphy, Stanford (6’5, 250): What Murphy does best is get to the quarterback (15 sacks in 2013). He gets surprisingly low to the ground coming off the edge despite his height, has a myriad of sneaky pass rush moves, and is a max-effort type of player. Teams are looking at Murphy as a 3-4 OLB, but I think he’s best suited with his hand in the dirt coming off the edge. Why mess with a good thing. Draft Projection: 2nd round

8.) Demarcus Lawrence, Boise St (6’3, 251): He’s a bit of a tweener, but has a good strength / speed combo and a variety of pass rushing moves. He was a very productive player as a junior last year with 10.5 sacks and 20.5 TFLs. Lawrence has a gift for getting in the backfield whether as a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB and players with that skill don’t last long in the draft. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

9.) Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas (6’3, 247): He’s a little light for a DE, but has quickness off the edge and displayed an intriguing mix of pass rush moves in college. Jeffcoat struggles at time to shed blockers and will have problems against the run until he gets stronger. After four years of lining up with his hand on the ground I don’t think it will be a smooth transition if he’s asked to play OLB, which limits him to 4-3 teams.  He is the son of former NFL player Jim Jeffcoat who had 103 career sacks and two super bowl rings with the Cowboys. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

10.) Kareem Martin, North Carolina (6’6, 272): He’s better against the run than the rushing the passer, but did flash some ability last year with 11 sacks after only 8 combined the two previous years. Martin doesn’t have natural pass rush moves, but he has prototypical size and uses a strong punch to keep blockers off him and diagnose plays. Martin was a team captain and his leadership skills get mentioned in every scouting report I’ve seen. North Carolina has churned out some quality DEs recently (Robert Quinn, Julius Peppers, Quinton Coples) so maybe Martin will continue the tradition. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

11.) Chris Smith, Arkansas (6’1, 266): Smith helped his stock at the Senior Bowl showing great quickness off the edge, the power to bull rush, and a surprising mix of pass rush moves. His combine performance was solid as well with a 4.71 40-time and a 37″ vertical. Smith is a tweener; He lacks the ideal height for a 4-3 DE and ideal mobility for a 3-4 OLB. He does have unusually long arms which help negate his less than ideal size and elite acceleration which makes up for his slower than ideal change of direction ability. Smith is a good football player with a knack for getting to the QB and I think he’ll be effective wherever he lines up. Draft Projection: 3rd round

12.) Marcus Smith, Lousiville (6’3, 251): Smith can get to the QB (14.5 sacks in 2013) and is a solid tackler against the run. He got by mostly on athleticism and his quick first step in college, I doubt that’s going to be enough in the pros and Smith will need to get stronger and develop some pass rush moves to be anything more than a 3rd down pass rush specialist. His best fit would be as a LEO linebacker in a scheme similar to the one run by the Seahawks and Jaguars. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

13.) Brent Urban, Virginia Tech (6’7, 295):  Long-armed end with good strength and decent quickness off the edge. He is a perfect fit as a 3-4 DE, but is strong enough to play the 3-tech in a 4-3 (possibly for the Bears). Draft Projection: 3rd round