Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Prospects - Defensive Ends

1 – Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson)
2 – Robert Quinn (UNC)
3 – Adrian Clayborn (Iowa)
4 – Justin Houston (DE/OLB, Georgia)
5 – Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue)
6 – JJ Watt (Wisconsin)
7 – Cameron Jordan (California)
8 – Cameron Heyward (Ohio State)
9 – Christian Ballard (DT/DE, Iowa)
10 – Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State)
11 – Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh)
12 – Allen Bailey (Miami)
13 – Greg Romeus (Pittsburgh)
14 – Sam Acho (Texas)
15 – Cliff Matthews (DE/OLB, South Carolina)
16 – Pierre Allen (Nebraska)
17 – Markus White (FSU)

As a Bucs fan who sat through another season watching his team again reside in or near the league’s cellar in sacks (this year they were the worst), it’s a good thing the defensive end position is top loaded with talent.....After a phenomenal junior season, Bowers projects as a top five pick.....Despite missing the 2010 season, I expect Quinn to go really high. His athleticism stands out, and his huge potential is tempting. For more on those two, check out my thoughts on what the Panthers should do.....Other than Patrick Peterson, Clayborn was the one player I wanted a year ago to end up with the Bucs in 2011. He has impressive size and strength and is quick for a big guy. I saw a high motor, fast feet, and varied technique in getting to the passer in the ’09 version. I’m not sure what happened, but he really disappointed this season. He looked stiffer, a lot less explosive, and beat far fewer double teams. If he can relocate some of that lost quickness and effort, he’ll be a bargain wherever he’s picked.....Houston has experience as an end in a 4-3 and as an OLB in a 3-4. Regardless of where he lands, he’ll bring great explosion and relentlessness along with tremendous pass rushing potential. He’s one of a few high ceiling pass rushers that bring scheme versatility to this year’s class; something the Bucs figure to be utilizing more this season. His combination of game speed and range make him a dangerous defender.....I’m a fan of Kerrigan’s complete game. He’s not the most explosive end but plays with a really high motor and is a serious threat against both the pass and run. I like his lateral quickness and the way he utilizes his strength and leverage as a pass rusher. His effort is never in question.....Watt brings a combination of strength, stoutness, and pass rushing ability that will likely have him going off the board early to a 3-4 team.....I’m really high on the top 5. The Bucs will almost certainly look to take a pass rusher here, and 2 or 3 of those 5 should be available at #20. With needs at LB, RB, OL, and S, I don’t expect them to double down with their first two selections, but by acquiring an additional early pick, the Bucs could take advantage of this year’s DE depth and really shore up the team’s primary weakness as they did by taking Gerald McCoy and Brian Price to fill the DT void in ’10.

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