2014 NFL Combine Coverage: Top 5 Defensive End Prospects

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Continuing our coverage of the 2014 NFL combine I am presenting my list of the top 5 defensive end prospects. I am basing these rankings on the scouting reports and/or film study we did here at YDCFF. We don’t pay much attention to media projections, we compile our own board. Despite the fact we didn’t post scouting reports on some of these guys, we did study the game tape and their combine performances.

Group Pic 2

Jadeveon Clowney5. Jadeveon clowney, DE

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 266

College: South Carolina

40 time: 4.53 | Bench Reps: 21

Grade: 83.5 | Round: 1-2

 

I know pretty much everyone is projecting Clowney as a top 5 pick in the draft. I agree he is a top 5 defensive end, but he left me with too many questions that drew some red flags. The kid is by all means an athletic freak of nature. He has good height, length and athletic ability. In my opinion, a top ranked pass rusher should have better upper body strength. He wont be able to rely solely on his speed at the next level.

Jadeveon Clowney

My problems are things like a drop off in production from 12 sacks as a sophomore to 3 as a senior. People will say he got double teamed etc. The fact of the matter is, that is par for the course in the NFL. If he only got 3 in college, how many will he get at the next level against better competition? If anything, a top prospect should have had better production than the other guys. Analysts will say you draft him because of his potential. Bill Parcells has a saying I tend to agree with.

 

“We are in the player acquisition business, not the potential business.”

 

Potential is for later round picks. Refusing to do the football related drills at the combine hurt his grade some more. When I consider the fact his own coach said his work ethic wasn’t the best, it hurt him even more. My biggest question is: how do I know when he gets paid his work ethic doesn’t get even worse? Sorry, but I had to rank him 5th. I cant drop a high pick on a player with so many question marks by his name. You can see his NFL draft tracker report here.

 

Scott Crichton Scott Crichton4. Scott Crichton, DE

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 273

College: Oregon State

40 time: 4.84 | Bench reps: 24

Grade: 83.5 | Round: 1-2

 

 

Scott Crichton

Scott Crichton is a guy who showed a lot of improvement in 2013 and had a good showing at the combine. He isn’t as athletic as some of the other players, but he is a solid football player. He logged 7.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 2013. You can see his NFL draft tracker report here. This is one grade I disagree with. I had him higher. He is definitely a top 5 defensive end prospect.

 

Dee Ford3. Dee Ford, DE

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 252

College: Auburn

40 time: 4.53 |Bench reps: 29

Grade: 85.0 |Round: 1-2

 

Dee Ford is extremely athletic and despite his small stature, was among the strongest DE’s at the combine putting up 29 reps of 225 on the bench. He logged 10.5 sacks and and 14 TFl’s which led the team. He was a First team All-SEC selection in 2013. For me it’s about production and he more than tripled Clowney’s sack total. He not only had 2 in the National Championship game, he got 2 in the 2013 Senior Bowl. He is definitely a top 5 defensive end prospect. You can see his NFL draft tracker report here.

 

Demarcus Lawrence 12. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 251

College: Boise state

40 time: 4.80 | Bench Reps: 20

Grade: 87.0 | Round: 1-2

 

 

Demarcus Lawrence 1

DeMarcus Lawrence is extremely athletic with good length. He boasts 33 3/4 inch arms and 11 inch hands. If there is one thing I know about Boise players, they are very well coached and smart kids. As I said before, it’s about production. Lawrence logged 10.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in 2013. My biggest knock on him is his strength, but once this kid gets stronger he will be a top ranked pass rusher in the NFL. You can see my scouting report on him here.

 

Kony Ealy1. Kony Ealy, DE

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 273

College: Missouri

40 time: 4.92 | 3 cone drill: 6.83

Grade: 87.5 | Round: 1-2

 

 

Kony Ealy

Kony Ealy has elite athletic ability and excellent measurables: good height, weight and 34 1/2 inch arms. My biggest knock on him is his strength. He is young and raw, but his production more than doubled each year in college. In 2013 he logged 8 sacks and 14 TFL’s. He has a very high ceiling and should see multiple pro bowls. I look at him and see the next generation pass rusher. You can see his scouting report here. I don’t have a problem ranking him #1 among the top 5 defensive end prospects.

Stephon Tuitt 1

 

Stephon Tuitt is a better fit as a DT in the NFL in my opinion, but he would also make a good 5 technique in a 3-4 defense. In the event he  gets drafted and used as a 3-4 DE, I would have him tied as the 3rd best defensive end in this draft, and the best 5 tech prospect overall. You can see my scouting report on him here.

The bottom line is, all of these kids more than Doubled Clowney’s sack count. You can rank them all as you see fit, but there is a lot more to playing football than natural athletic ability. That will get a kid through college, but it doesn’t work at the next level. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and time in the film room. I don’t see Jadeveon Clowney as that type of player.

 

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  • californy

    Where Jackson Jefferson at 12 sacks and 80 tackles last year, lol

    • Al

      He’s an honorable mention.

      • californy

        I hope we get Jeffcoat late 3rd to early 4th, shoooo, lol

  • californy

    I like this player Crichton’s broad shoulders and stout frame, overall, allowed the Beavers
    to move him all over the defensive line in 2013. He typically lined up
    outside at defensive end but played inside at nose guard against rival
    Oregon in an attempt to slow down the Ducks’ high-powered, up-tempo
    offense. Nice eye on this player that is getting little fan fare

    • Al

      I think he will turn in to a good player and have a decent career.

  • californy

    Lawrence is a solid player, I am not sold on Clowney what so ever, his number are not reflective to his athletic ability. No I don’t believe player get triple team to explain his 3.5 sack on the year

    • Al

      They are making excuses for him because they had already hyped him so much. I think Sutton is the better player and he didn’t even get invited to the combine. He actually helped Clowney make plays.

    • Al

      I believe Lawrence was the most technically sound of the group.

  • californy

    I never like talked up player, for me the first rd is full of these guys. I want a player who is hungry and will kill to make the play. Kiko Alanzo for me was defensive rookie of the year not Sheldon Richardson. Buffalo had a top 4 pass defense and Kiko had 5 interception last year

    • Al

      He had an excellent season

  • californy

    The Arizona state DT Sitton is not getting much love right now, But I dont care, I think he a good player. Arizona state always a leader in negative play. Burfict came from this school too, and last year he was the NFL top tackler despite a poor Combine performance

    • Al

      I don’t pay much mind to the track stuff: I focus more on the bench reps and the football related drills. Broad jump helps determine burst and balance though.

      • californy

        Wow I use to be a a long jumper, I never thought that would help me out with burst, even thought I had a great take off off the line of scrimmage.

  • Gabriel Carrasco

    I think Lawrence has the most potential, and that is saying something, since I think Ealy is this year’s Demarcus Ware.

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