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Senior Bowl: Top 5 Pass Rushers

There’s a healthy crop of impact seniors who could compliment linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, January 27th, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

While General Manager Ozzie Newsome believes the Ravens did a good job of affecting opposing quarterbacks last season, he also said it would be “very helpful” to give pass rusher Terrell Suggs a companion on the other side.
 
The Ravens had a franchise-low 27 sacks in 2010, tied for 27th fewest in the NFL. Suggs contributed 11 himself.
 
Baltimore attempted to address its need for a pass-rusher in last year’s draft by selecting linebacker Sergio Kindle. But Kindle’s uncertain health means Baltimore could still be in the market.
 
Luckily, there’s plenty of pass-rushing talent in the 2011 NFL Draft.
 
Many of the top-tier talents are underclassmen, including Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers, Alabama’s Marcell Dareus, North Carolina’s Robert Quinn, Missouri’s Aldon Smith and UCLA’s Akeem Ayers. But there’s other first-round talent at the Senior Bowl as well.
 
Here’s a look at the top of the senior crop:
 
Cameron Jordan (6-foot-4, 287 pounds), California, DE
Jordan has been one of the Senior Bowl’s standouts. According to NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang, Jordan has been “virtually unstoppable.” The Golden Bear recorded six sacks in each of [add] his junior and senior years. He played defensive end in Cal’s 3-4 scheme, showing strength to hold up against the run and get off blocks. He’s showcased his pass-rushing burst at the Senior Bowl.
 
Von Miller (6-3, 243), Texas A&M, OLB
Miller is another player who’s seeing his stock soar at Senior Bowl practices. He has explosive speed to get around blocks, which led to 17 sacks in 2009 and 11 as a senior. Miller recorded nine sacks in his final six college games. He may be the best pure pass rusher in the draft. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Miller may be emerging as a top-5 pick.

 
Ryan Kerrigan (6-4, 263), Purdue, DE
While not quite the athlete of the two players named before him, Kerrigan’s relentless motor puts the Boilermaker in the first round. Kerrigan logged 12 sacks as a junior and 13 as a senior. He was named the team’s MVP in 2009 and a team captain in 2010.
 
Jeremy Beal (6-3, 297), Oklahoma, DE
The Associated Press Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year recorded nine sacks in his final season and 11 in 2009. Beal is on the larger side of the pass rushers, but still shows a quick first step and enough speed to turn the corner. His best features may be his awareness and football IQ.
 
Allen Bailey, (6-4, 287), Miami, DE
Bailey has loads of talent, but has had a couple tough practices at the Senior Bowl. He has had trouble getting off blocks and hasn’t shown as much quickness as his peers.  The workout warrior projects to be a power defensive end in the NFL. Bailey recorded seven sacks in each of his final two seasons.
 
Note: Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn, who is projected in the mid- first round by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, opted not to participate in the Senior Bowl despite originally being on the roster. However, the playmaking defensive end is a senior to watch.
 

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