By College Football Analyst Josh Buchanan for TonySoftli.com

 

Below is a look at each of the projected top 5 defensive ends and top 5 defensive tackles with complete position rankings below for the 2014 NFL Draft.

 

DEFENSIVE ENDS

  1. Ethan Westbrooks, West Texas A&M

Westbrooks is a junior college transfer who was a two-time All-American for the Buffaloes.  At 6’4, 266 pounds he is a big kid who could potentially be a 3-4 end.  He has a violent punch and is explosive off the ball. While he doesn’t time as fast as you hope he plays fast and makes plays.  He’s a classic boom or bust who could be a 10 year starter and Pro Bowler or be a journeyman.  He projects as a mid round selection.

 

  1. Zach Moore, Concordia St. Paul

It’s not often that a NFL player comes through Concordia but Moore was a special player for the program.  He is a classic 4-3 end with ideal size at 6’6, 269 pounds and moves well.  He can flatten plays, has great length, and good range.  There are some flags in his past, which may keep him from going as high as he should, which is why he’s a projected 6th round pick.  There haven’t been many players who has been as consistent as Moore as he has shown out on tape each of his last three seasons he played, missing 2011.

 

  1. Larry Webster, Bloomsburg

Webster is an interesting prospect at 6’6, 248 pounds who has played just two years of football and can improve his technique greatly.  Some scouts probably question his physical growth potential and have him as a free agent or 7th rounder while others probably have him in the 5th round.  Don’t be surprised if he is taken in the 6th round, maybe 5th round, because of his athleticism, length, and speed.

 

  1. Kerry Wynn Jr., Richmond

He played out of position at tackle for the Spiders as he was a 6’5, 267 pound end playing inside.  Wynn’s performance against NC State opened many eyes.  Despite that he had his best season in 2013 earning third-team All-CAA honors.  If he plays like he did against NC State all season long he would be a potential mid round pick.  While he could land in the late rounds he is a projected priority free agent at this point.

 

  1. Rakim Cox, Villanova

This is perhaps the most underrated of all the prospects in this group because of his ability that has yet to get the proper media attention.  Cox is a 6’4, 266 pounder who doesn’t time well in the 40 but has a good first step, has good size, and really improved as a senior.  While his workouts might have kept him out of getting drafted he should be signed quickly as a priority free agent and should make a team.

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLES (3 TECH, NOSE TACKLE)

  1. Caraun Reid, Princeton

Reid has been getting looks from NFL teams since 2011 and has been impressive running consistent 4.8s at 6’2, 305 pounds for NFL scouts.  His thick lower body makes him powerful and he does a good job of rushing the passer and eating blocks.  He dominated the Ivy League and with his upside should be a 3rd or 4th round pick as a 4-3 tackle.

 

  1. Zachariah Kerr, Delaware

Most media outlets have not rated him nearly as high as he should be but NFL teams have loved Kerr.  He’s a 6’1 3/8, 326 pounder who moves very well for his size and is faster than most who are 20 pounds lighter than him.  He’s strong off the ball and has the ability to flatten and chase very well.  His junior tape was good but his senior tape was very impressive and created quite the buzz.  Expect him to come off the board in the 5th or 6th round, with no shock if someone were to take him in the 4th round.

 

  1. Jamie Meder, Ashland

At 6’2 ¼, 293 pounds he may not be the ideal size but Meder is a high motor, strong pass rusher who can push the pocket and makes plenty of plays.  The four-time All-GLIAC selection has dominated the D2 level like a draft pick should and should be able to carve out a good NFL career.

 

  1. Mike Pennel, CSU Pueblo

This is one of the most interesting reports written all season long.  At 6’4, 33 pounds he is a massive, well proportioned prospect who has good strength and when he plays hard is unstoppable at the D2 level.  The former Arizona State transfer has some red flags in his past and doesn’t have a great motor but if the light bulb cuts on he could play 10-12 years in the NFL and be a quality starter.  Keep an eye on him as he certainly is a potential surprise because he translates better than most on this list in the NFL.  Some of his tape such as GVSU was not nearly as good as his other tape against Highlands and others.  He projects as a priority free agent but could sneak into the 7th round.

 

  1. Lawrence Virgil, Valdosta State

Virgil has been a tweener at 6’4 ½, 287 pounds with 5.0 speed but projects as a tackle.  He will need to bulk up but already has good strength doing 39 bench reps.  His pro day workouts could potentially get him drafted although his film is not consistent enough that I project him to get drafted.  Expect him to be a priority free agent but intrigues enough that he should be signed quickly after the draft and make a good practice squad player.

 

OVERRATED: Kerry Wynn Jr., Richmond

I love his ability and he certainly has the look but his play during the season was that of a priority free agent and not 5th or 6th round pick like some have him.  It’s hard to pick him for this though because he has a lot of upside and should be better in the pros but the inconsistent motor and lack of production like he had at NC State against CAA competition makes him someone you have questions on heading into the draft.

 

UNDERRATED: Jake Metz, Shippensburg

People have allowed Metz to lose attention because of Webster but he’s a long, high motor prospect who I think some scouts would surprise and rate above Webster.  Expect him to be a priority free agent who makes a team despite being a little stiff.

 

SLEEPER: Rakim Cox, Villanova

Most have him as a free agent and he has been lost in the media buzz but he’s a good player with intelligence who has worked hard.  Expect him to make a roster.

 

RISER: Jamie Meder, Ashland

Coming into the season he was completely lost in the attention of others and most don’t consider him a draftable player but his performance as a senior coupled with his NFLPA Bowl week makes him someone who should not only get drafted late but would surprise me if he doesn’t play 6-10 years in the NFL.

 

FALLER: Darnell Harding, California PA

At one time some thought he could be a potential draft pick but his 4.9 speed at 6’2, 254 pounds makes him someone who can’t play linebacker and his size makes him too small for the ideal end.  He was suspended indefinitely during the summer of last year and has had multiple off field issues.  He was a backup in six games during his senior year and has fallen outside of my top 20 end.

 

INTRIGUING: Adham Talaat, Gallaudet

At 6’6, 271 pounds he has great size and length coming from the D3 level.  He plays at a school for the deaf and hard of hearing so you know there is that issue but he flashes on tape.  He’s had a lot of buzz and many teams went in to see him.  While highly touted with awards he doesn’t quite dominate enough to get drafted but should get a contract after the draft and could be an ideal practice squad player.

 

SMALL SCHOOL DEFENSIVE LINE RANKINGS

 

DEFENSIVE ENDS
Pos Rank First Name Last Name School Round
1 Ethan Westbrooks West Texas A&M 5th-6th
2 Zach Moore Concordia St. Paul 6th
3 Larry Webster Bloomsburg 6th
4 Kerry Wynn Jr. Richmond PFA
5 Rakim Cox Villanova PFA
6 Terrence Fede Marist PFA
7 Jake Metz Shippensburg PFA
8 Jordan Stanton James Madison PFA
9 Dimitri Orr North Alabama PFA/FA
10 Chris Schaudt Minnesota State-Mankato FA
11 Will Hunt Charleston Southern FA
12 Sullivan Grosz Cal Poly FA
13 Elhadji Ndiaye Nebraska-Kearney FA
14 Adham Talaat Gallaudet FA
15 Daniel Riley Harding Tryout
16 Jesse Dickson Lamar Tryout
17 Brandon Felus Juniata (PA) Tryout
18 Shawn Shupperd Eastern Kentucky Tryout
19 Robert Simpson Mississippi Valley State Tryout
20 Troy Harris Mars Hill Tryout
21 Anthony Grady Missouri State Tryout
22 Nick King UC Davis Tryout
23 Blake Oliaro San Diego Tryout
24 Darnell Harding California PA Tryout
25 Anthony “Doug” Peete South Dakota State Tryout
26 Cole Jirik North Dakota State Tryout
27 Noah Taylor California PA Tryout
28 Robert Hayes Shepherd Tryout
29 Jarrett Brown Sam Houston State Tryout
30 Dyron Dye Bethune-Cookman Tryout
31 Steve Gargiulo San Diego Tryout
32 Letavious Williams Newberry Tryout
33 James Timmins Rhode Island Tryout
34 Tevin Moore Texas A&M Commerce Tryout
35 Collin Albrecht Northern Iowa Tryout
36 Antonio Harper Tennessee State Tryout
37 Iosua Siliva Austin Peay State Tryout
38 Robert Williams Texas A&M Kingsville Tryout
39 Andrew Smith Albany (NY) Tryout
40 Damein Lee Catawba Tryout
DEFENSIVE TACKLES (3-TECH)
Pos Rank First Name Last Name School Round
1 Caraun Reid Princeton 3rd-4th
2 Jamie Meder Ashland 7th
3 Lawrence Virgil Valdosta State PFA
4 Gustave Benthin Western Oregon FA
5 Donnie Owens Winston Salem State FA
6 Leon Minto Johnson C. Smith FA
7 Nnamdi Obukwelu Harvard Tryout
8 Francis Bah Liberty Tryout
9 Michael “Mike” Franklin Shepherd Tryout
10 Jeremy Towns Samford Tryout
11 Tim Wilkinson Northern Arizona Tryout
12 Christopher “Chris” Floyd Lindenwood (MO) Tryout
13 Lesley Deamer Northwestern State Tryout
14 Jibrille Fewell Liberty Tryout
15 Leevon Perry North Dakota State Tryout
DEFENSIVE TACKLES (NOSE TACKLES)
Pos Rank First Name Last Name School Round
1 Zachariah Kerr Delaware 5th
2 Mike Pennel CSU-Pueblo PFA
3 Joey Searcy II Angelo State FA
4 Andru Pulu Eastern Washington FA
5 Antoine Lewis Villanova Tryout