Top Defensive End Prospects

See what Eric DeCosta says about some of the top defensive linemen in the Draft.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, March 18th, 2010 at 9:27 am | Categories: Ryan Mink

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If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times. General Manager Ozzie Newsome will draft according to the best player available.

But if Newsome drafted merely by need, it seems the Ravens have a new one.

Starting defensive Dwan Edwards and back-up defensive tackle Justin Bannan both departed Baltimore via free agency, meaning there are holes to fill at the front end of the defense.

And with the coaches and players reporting that they are focusing on improving their pass rush for next season, drafting a defensive end at least seems logical.

“There are a lot of different guys, probably five or six guys we like in the first round,” Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta said of defensive ends. “If we have a chance to get one of those guys, we will.”

With that in mind, here are a handful of defensive end prospects the Ravens could look at in the first or second round of the draft and DeCosta’s take on each.

Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech
6-4, 275; Junior
2009 Stats: 52 tackles, 12 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
The Buzz: Morgan is stout against the run and gets after the quarterback. He’s applauded for his non-stop motor and generally seen as the most complete defensive end in the Draft. He’s on the smaller end of defensive linemen, especially for a 3-4 defense, and he could move to outside linebacker.
DeCosta’s Take: “Morgan is very productive; a high-motor player.”

Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
6-5, 270; Junior
2009 Stats: 42 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 interception
The Buzz: Pierre-Paul is the physical specimen you can see doing back flips in this YouTube video. His size and speed are what have draft analysts drooling over his potential. Pierre-Paul only played one season of Division I football and is considered fairly raw.
DeCosta’s Take: “Pierre-Paul is a really good pass rusher. Gifted-guy, gifted athlete.”

Everson Griffen, Southern California
6-3, 273; Junior
2009 Stats: 43 tackles, 7 sacks
The Buzz: Griffen showed his speed at the Combine with a 4.66 40-yard dash, the second-fastest of any defensive lineman. He broke out in 2009, showing his potential. But consistency is a concern. According to DraftScout.com, Griffin lost his starting job in his freshman and sophomore years.
DeCosta’s Take: “Smooth and fluid athlete. Shows burst, good edge pass rusher; dangerous on stunts and twists. Best as a 4-3 end, might have a chance as a 3-4 outside linebacker.”

Jared Odrick, Penn State
6-5, 304; Senior
2009 Stats: 43 tackles, 7 sacks, 11 tackles for loss
The Buzz: Odrick consistently got better during his four years in Happy Valley and was eventually named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He sheds blockers well and gets penetration into the backfield using his great strength. He’s also known for his relentless style of play.
DeCosta’s Take: “Big 3-4 type body. Good motor, he’s tough, stout versus the run. Should be a five-technique on run downs and an inside rusher on pass downs.”

Carlos Dunlap, Florida
6-6, 277; Junior
2009 Stats: 34 tackles, 9 sacks
The Buzz: Dunlap’s size and strength aren’t the reason why some have him slipping out of the first round. He was arrested on a DUI charge and suspended for the SEC title game this past season. He came back and earned two sacks in the Gators’ Sugar Bowl victory.
DeCosta’s Take: “Big guy, inconsistent technique. Pretty good run defender, pretty good pass rusher.”

Tyson Alualu, California
6-3, 295; Senior
2009 Stats: 58 tackles, 7 sacks
The Buzz: Alualu’s draft stock is on the rise. He ran a sub 5.0 40-yard dash time at the Combine, which showed he has much more than great intangibles. Alualu is a mature, high-intensity player with a good attitude. He played defensive end in a 3-4 scheme and started 38 consecutive games.
DeCosta’s Take: “He’s a good player from Cal. A relentless guy.”

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