NFL Draft – Defensive End Rankings

4 of 4

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

21.) Aaron Lynch, South Florida (6’5, 258): Lynch is extremely talented, but might have the worst work ethic in the draft. His stock is plummeting due to attitude concerns and reports from his former teammates calling him selfish, lazy, immature, self-centered, and a handful of other negative adjectives. Lynch looked like a lock for the first round as a freshman at Notre Dame, but looked like a completely different player by his junior year at South Florida. He has lost about 20 pounds since his freshman year and some of his strength with it. Lynch showed glimmers of his old pass rush ability, but was very inconsistent last season and most of the time he looked apathetic. Lynch did turn it on the last few games of the season, but is that enough to convince a team that he’s serious about football? He still has a high ceiling but his odds of getting there are slim. Draft Projection: 4th-5th round

22.) Larry Webster, Bloomberg (6’6, 252):  Any other year, a 6’6, 252 pound defensive end running a 4.58 40 at the combine would have been a big deal, but Webster was overshadowed by Jadeveon Clowney even though they are practically the same size and Clowney’s 40-time was only 5 hundredths of a second faster. Webster isn’t a household name, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of him. You don’t hear much about football players from tiny DII Bloomberg University. On top of that, Webster only played football for two years. He was a star basketball player for Bloomberg until his senior year when he decided to play football. Webster made an immediate impact with 26 sacks in two seasons. The lack of competition is a major strike against Webster, but he handled himself well at the Shrine game collecting a sack and more impressively pancaking an offensive tackle on a bull rush. I was impressed with his strength because Webster is built like a flag pole and will definitely need a year or two in an NFL strength program before he is ready to be a 3-down defensive end. Webster has ideal size for the position, an elite size/speed ratio, a quick first step, good closing speed, and natural pass rush instincts. He has the potential to develop into a double-digit sack guy off the edge which isn’t bad value as a late round pick. As a rookie he’s going to be a liability against the run, but I think he can contribute as a 3rd down pass rusher and wouldn’t be surprised at all if he ends up with a few sacks in 2014.Webster also played tight end in red zone sets at Bloomberg and has drawn comparisons to Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas from NFL scouts at the Senior Bowl. One last note on Webster, his dad is Larry Webster Jr,  who played in the NFL for 11 seasons and won a Super Bowl ring with the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. Draft Projection: 5th-6th round

23.) Ethan Westbrooks, West Texas A&M  (6’3, 267): Dominant rusher at the DII level (46.5 TFLs, 26.5 sacks in two seasons) who had 2 sacks in the Shrine game against much better competition then he was used to. Westbrooks has a quick first step and a myriad of polished pass rush moves. His workouts at the combine were mediocre which will hurt his draft stock, but he is an intriguing prospect who could be drafted higher than expected due to his impressive game tape. Draft Projection: 5th-6th round

24.) Josh Mauro, UCLA (6’6, 276): Not the most explosive DE in the draft, but has good size and strength to hold up against the run and should develop into a solid rotational player at the 5-technique. Mauro is a high-effort player and at worst will provide reliable depth. Draft Projection: 5th-6th round

25.) Michael Sam, Missouri (6’1, 260): Sam put up great numbers at Missouri and was the SEC co-defensive payer of the year, so he has more talent than this ranking reflects. His draft stock has taken a hit due to the fact that he is undersized for a DE, he didn’t look fluid enough to play OLB at the Senior Bowl, and his combine workouts showed a lack of NFL athleticism. Sam had the 2nd lowest bench reps, 4th lowest vertical leap, a bottom ten cone drill time and he finished in the bottom half of the other workouts he participated in. His poor workouts combined with his struggles at the Senior Bowl in the linebacker drills doesn’t bode well for his chances to succeed at the NFL level. Sam’s best best is at the LEO backer position where he won’t be as exposed to blockers, won’t be asked to cover much, and can use his natural pass rush ability to make an impact. Draft Projection: 6th-7th round

26.) Zach Moore, Concordia (MN) (6’5, 269): Small school prospect with great physical tools, but raw technique. Moore has an intriguing combination of size, agility and strength but would be making a big leap in competition from DII Concordia University. Moore had 33 sacks in 33 games during his college career and flashed natural pass rush ability while still being a solid run stopper. Moore needs a lot of technique work and needs to get stronger, but has more upside than most of the D-lineman that will be available on day 3 of the draft. The Bears are now stocked with DEs and have the time to develop a lineman with potential like Moore. Draft Projection: 6th-7th round

27.) Kasim Edebali, Boston College (6’2, 253): Has an extremely quick first step, but that’s about it right now. Edebali is too thin to be a 3-down DE and not fluid enough to be an OLB. He came over from Germany as a 19-year old, so is relatively new to the game and will be 24 as a rookie. Edebali’s best chance to stick in the NFL is to utilize his explosive first step as a 3rd down pass rush specialist. He has a similar skill-set as former Bear Mark Anderson and could have a similar impact early in his career. He may never be strong enough to be a 3-down player, but getting to the QB will keep Edebali in the league. Draft Projection: 6th-7th round

28.) IK Enemkpali, Lousiana Tech (6’1, 261): Undersized, but has excellent strength (28 reps) and plays with max-effort all the time. His physical, aggressive playing style sometime puts him out of position and he doesn’t have the speed (5.02) to recover. Due to his lack of height, he’s probably best suited at OLB in a 3-4 but Enemkpali could provide decent depth as a 4-3 DE and should excel on special teams. Draft Projection: 6th-7th round

29.) Elhadji Ndiaye, Nebraska-Kearney (6’4, 243): Former soccer player from Senegal who only played two years of organized football, but showed immense potential as a pass rusher. Despite his lack of experience Ndiaye was productive last season (7 sacks, 9.5 TFLs) and showed massive improvement from his first year playing football. Ndiaye’s athleticism is off the charts for his size (a rumored 4.48 40-time) and he’s being tutored by his cousin, former NFL player Ogemdi Nwagbuo. It may take a couple of years to unlock his potential but he has elite athleticism for NFL coaches to mold. Draft Projection: UFA

30.) Kenny Anunike, Duke (6’5, 260): A converted tight end, Anunike has improved in each of his three seasons as a DE. In 2013 on a surprisingly good Duke team, he had 6 sacks and 13.5 TFLs. He is technique is understandably raw, but he has good size, athleticism, and shows the potential to contribute on the NFL level. Draft Projection: UFA

Twitter: @MikeFlannery