Top 3 Defensive Linemen at Each Position in 2014 NFL Draft

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Feb 24, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (R) talks to Pittsburh Panthers Aaron Donald (L) during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As I was doing the mock draft for Stripe Hype, I realized that I was basically taking a compilation of how other experts had these players ranked to make my determination on their draft status. Don’t get me wrong that is how most mock drafts are put together, and my post combine mock will be based more on my own rankings.

So I figured it would be worth mine and our readers time to go ahead and start a ranking of the top three players at each position. Most of these guys won’t change after combine.  I’m starting with the defensive line, which obviously consist of the defensive ends and tackles.

These are not the top three college players at their respective positions, but who I think is the top three that will translate to the NFL game.


Defensive Ends

Jadaveon Clowney: At 6’6 and 274lbs with a 4.65 projected 40 Clowney is an absolute beast and mammoth of a human being. An elite mix of size and athleticism that is unmatched in college and matched by few in the NFL. Clowney’s build is basically exactly how you would dream your perfect d-end to look.

Some have questioned Clowney’s motor and commitment to his team as it appeared that Clowney may have took it easy in order to defer injury before his mega payday. I’m gonna say maybe he did, but I don’t expect that to be a problem in the league as Cliowney will be getting paid well, and with a very nice signing bonus.

I fully expect Jadaveon to be a career long starter and a perennial pro-bowler.


Kony Ealy: Around 6’4 1/2 and 275lbs and a 4.68 forty, Ealy is the closest thing to Clowney in the rest of this draft. I believe Ealy is slowly becoming everyone else second projected DE. Ealy came to Missouri at a very skinny 230, and put in the necessary work to get to that 275 range.

Ealy must define his technique as a pass rusher and get a lot better getting off blocks to stop the run. I have Ealy dropping to the bengals in my mock, but I am certainly beginning to realize his potential and I’m sure he won’t make it to the twenty-forth pick after the combine.

I also see Ealy as a career long starter with pro bowl potential. May take a little longer to develop that Clowney.


Dee Ford: So at a “measly” 6’2 and 245lbs Ford is the undersized guy that everyone just wishes was an inch and a half taller or maybe just longer arms. What ever the measurable Ford doesn’t measure up at the d-end position, so “they” say. What Ford lacks in size he gains in quickness around the edge. Ford runs the  forty in a projected 4.46, two tents quicker than the Clowney and Ealy.

Obviously Ford needs to gain at least fifteen pounds to with stand the every down beating of playing defensive end in the NFL, but getting to 265ish would be around Dwight Freeney’s combine weight and Freeney is exactly who Ford reminds me of.

I believe in the right system and situation Ford can excel into a pro bowl caliber player. Ford dominated the Senior Bowl game and stood out all week to coaches in practice. Those moments translate to draft status directly.

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