NFL Draft – Defensive End Rankings

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14.) James Gayle, Virginia Tech (6’4, 259):  Max-effort pass rusher with a good first step and more power than you would expect for his size. Gayle has some natural pass rush ability but hasn’t shown as much against the run. Gayle had one of the top 3-cone times among the edge rushers which teams like the Pats, Lions, and Bears seem to value more than most based on recent drafts. Teams are split on whether he is a DE or 3-4 OLB. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round

15.) Ed Stinson, Alabama (6’3, 287): Good size and athletic ability for a 3-4 DE but his production (41 tackles, 2.5 sacks) never matched up to his talent in college. Stinson could be a rotational DE who plays the run well on early downs and occasionally provides some pressure on the QB. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round

16.) Ben Gardner, Stanford (6’4, 272): His senior season was cut short by injury but Gardner was productive when he played with 4.5 sacks, 7.5 TFLs, and 9 QB hurries in just 8 games. He was a surprise snub from the combine, but made up for it at his pro day by posting a 39.5″ vertical leap, 10.2″ broad jump, and a 6.78 3-cone time. Gardner’s results in all three workouts would have been in the top 5 of the defensive lineman at the combine. He has the size / athleticism combo to play DE in either a 4-3 or 3-4. He’s underrated, but I think he’s going to be a solid pro. Draft Projection: 5th-6th round

17.) Will Clark, West Virginia (6’6, 271): Has prototypical size, speed and strength, but just doesn’t do it for me on tape. He plays hard and could be a solid depth guy who will get some sacks with his athleticism, but I don’t see any pass rush moves or instincts to make him anything more than just a guy. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round

18.) Taylor Hart, Oregon (6’6, 281): Solid, max-effort player with good size and strength but limited athleticism. Hart was a good run-stopper in college who flashed occasional pass rush ability (11.5 sacks last 2 seasons). Hart should provide depth at the DE position and could eventually develop into a solid starter as a 3-4 DE. Draft Projection: 4th-5th round

19.) Cassius Marsh, UCLA (6’4, 268): Three year starter at UCLA who was versatile enough to play DE, DT, & OLB for the Bruins. Marsh is a max-effort player with a very quick first step and good speed and athleticism. Marsh should be able to contribute right away as a 3rd down pass rusher at either DE or OLB in a 3-4 and with a little more strength could develop into a 3-down player in either scheme. Draft Projection: 4th-5th round

20.) Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama (6’3, 310): Raw DE who should have stayed in school for one more season. Pagan has good strength and ideal size for the 5-technique, but wasn’t very productive in his one year as a starter (2 sacks) and will need plenty of coaching and technique refinement before he can contribute in the NFL. High ceiling / low floor type. Draft Projection: 4th-5th round