1. Quinton Coples, North Carolina – Coples is the next in line of dominate North Carolina defensive ends. Last season he had 59 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks. He is long and athletic and shows good bend to get around the corner and get to the quarterback. He needs to improve his overall strength to be able to be more a force in the run game but should be a top ten pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
2. Andre Branch, Clemson – Branch is a player who this season will get out of the shadows of Da’Quan Bowers and show the country that he is one of the most talented defensive ends. Last season he had 55 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks. He does a good job against the run and could improve some of his secondary pass rush moves and if he is able to do that he will be a complete defensive end.
3. Vinny Curry, Marshall – Curry really thought hard about coming out early for this past year’s draft but end up going back to Marshall to work on his game which could prove to be a very good move. Last season he had 94 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks. With another good season could insure himself a first round pick come next April.
4. Vince Browne, Northwestern – Browne is a hard working defense end that has improved each season at Northwestern. He could be this year’s JJ Watts in the Big Ten. Last season he had 58 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks. He has the size and strength to be either a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 defensive end.
5. Brandon Lindsey, Pittsburgh – Lindsey last season had 51 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks, which he lead the team in both tackles for loss and sacks. He does loss his running mate from last year Jabaal Sheard who was the Big East defensive player of the year so all the focus will be on Lindsey and how he responds will go a long way in determining his final draft grade.
6. Jacquies Smith, Missouri – Smith has shown good pass rush ability and should have a very good season this year. Last year he had 35 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. He is a good athlete but needs to get stronger against the run which will help his overall game.
7. Jake Bequette, Arkansas – Bequette is an all around defense who is as effect against the run as he is rushing the passer. He is a stronger, physical player who has a good motor. Last season he had 32 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks. He has the size and strength to be either a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 defensive end.
8. Frank Alexander, Oklahoma – Alexander is a good overall athlete who is effective coming off the edge after the quarterback, but needs to improve his skills against the run. Last season he had 39 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks.
9. Armond Armstead, USC – Last season Armstead played defense end, but this season will be moved to defensive tackle because of his size being around 6-5, 295 pounds. At the next level will fit in as a 3-4 defensive end or if plays well this season as a 4-3 defensive tackle could play there at the next level. Last season he had 43 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks.
10. Cam Johnson, Virginia – Johnson has played both 3-4 outside linebacker and 4-3 defensive end, so he has the skills to do both at the next level. Last season he had 53 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. Look for him to improve this season playing his second season at defensive end and being able to use his athletic ability to get the quarterback.
11. Julian Miller, West Virginia
12. James Brooks, Arizona State
13. Malik Jackson, Tennessee
14. Broderick Binns, Iowa
15. Trevor Guyton, California
16. Ryan Van Bergen, Michigan
17. Jack Crawford, Penn State
18. Kentrell Lockett, Mississippi
19. Darius Nall, Central Florida
20. Eric Latimore, Penn State