Posts Tagged ‘NFL Draft Defensive Linemen’

2011 NFL Draft Preview: Top 10 Defensive Linemen

April 22nd, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NFL Football   Comments Off on 2011 NFL Draft Preview: Top 10 Defensive Linemen

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The NFL Draft is just around the corner, and Bankroll Sports will provide you an in-depth look on the NFL Draft, examining the top prospects at each position. Today, we look at the top ten defensive linemen for the 2011 NFL Draft.

1. Marcell Dareus DT (Alabama) – This draft is absolutely loaded with talented defensive line prospects and Dareus is the best of the bunch. The highly touted defensive tackle left Tuscaloosa after his junior season, but for good reason, as he is projected as a top three pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Dareus was the anchor of Alabama’s defense, playing all along the defensive line wherever Head Coach Nick Saban needed him. Dareus was a big reason why Alabama’s defense was one of the best in the country, allowing just 13.5 PPG during the 2010 college football betting season. He was named First Team All-SEC last season and drew constant double teams from opponents. Dareus recorded 11 tackles for loss and 4 ½ sacks in 2010.

2. Nick Fairley DT (Auburn) – Although teammate Cam Newton got a lot of the attention from the press, Fairley was just as important in helping the Tigers claim the 2010 BCS Championship. Fairley was the undisputed leader of a Tigers defense that had little surrounding talent and dominated in the toughest conference in college football. Fairley was named First Team All-American by virtually everyone and also garnered SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as defensive MVP honors in the BCS Title game. Fairley led the nation in sacks for a defensive tackle with 11.5 sacks in 2010, and set an Auburn single-season record with 21 tackles for loss. He is seen as a Top 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

3. Robert Quinn DE (North Carolina) – Prior to the start of the 2010 NCAA football betting season, Quinn was seen by many as the top defensive lineman in college football. However, Quinn’s season-long suspension stemming from accepting gifts from an agent has teams questioning his character and maturity. On the field though, very few players showcase the talent seen in Quinn. Quinn was named First Team All-ACC in 2009 and registered 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks on the season. He is amazing measureables, running a 4.57 40-yard dash and benching 225 lbs 24 times with a 6’4 265 lb frame. One cause for concern though is that Quinn has a benign brain tumor that needs to be carefully monitored. Quinn is projected to go in the top half of the 1st round.

4. Da’Quan Bowers DE (Clemson) – No one questions whether or not Bowers has elite talent, but there are serious concerns about his knees. Bowers missed two games during the 2009 season due to strained ligaments in his knee and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after this past season. During Clemson’s Pro Day, Bowers was seen to be slightly limping and this has scared off some potential suitors. When healthy, Bowers was dominant though. Bowers led the nation in sacks in 2010, with 15.5, and recorded 24 tackles for loss. Bowers was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts and will be a force in the NFL if he can stay healthy. Bowers is projected to go in the top half of the first round.

5. JJ Watt DE (Wisconsin) – Watt has skyrocketed up draft boards lately and is now projected as a mid first-round pick after being seen as a second to third round pick just a few months ago. Watt started his collegiate career at Central Michigan as a tight end but stood out as a defensive end after transferring to Wisconsin. Watt racked up 21 tackles for loss in 2010 en route to First Team All-Big 10 honors in 2010. He is still raw but has great upside.

6. Cameron Jordan DE (California) – Jordan was named First Team All-Pac 10 after a great 2010 season, which saw him establish himself as an elite run-stopping defensive end. Jordan’s career numbers (34 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks) aren’t gaudy, but Jordan wasn’t asked to rush the passer and played every position along the defensive line. Jordan has risen up the draft boards due to his ability to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme and is projected to be a mid first-round pick.

7. Aldon Smith DE (Missouri) – Despite fracturing his right fibula and missing three games in 2010, Smith still put together a solid season. Smith finished the year with 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, but played hurt from October onwards due to the fibula injury. Smith left Missouri as a redshirt sophomore and posted disappointing times in both the 3-cone drill and short-shuttle at the NFL combine and only repped 225 lbs 20 times. Despite this, Smith is seen as a mid first-round pick.

8. Ryan Kerrigan DE (Purdue) – No one in the draft has a bigger motor than Kerrigan, and the four-year starter at Purdue gave it his all on every play. Kerrigan registered 33.5 sacks and 57 tackles for loss during his time at Purdue and set a Big 10 career record by forcing 14 fumbles. He ran a 4.67 40 at the NFL Draft Combine and although he lacks some of the talent of other defensive line prospects, will be a solid addition to any team. Kerrigan is projected as a first round pick.

9. Adrian Clayborn DE (Iowa) – Clayborn has amazing talent but there are medical questions surrounding him. Clayborn suffers from Erb’s Palsy and has nerve damage in both his right arm and his neck, limiting his mobility. At Iowa, Clayborn was a three-year starter and recorded 192 tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss, and 19 sacks during his time as a Hawkeye. He is seen as a prototypical 4-3 defensive end and is projected to be a first round pick.

10. Cameron Heyward DE (Ohio State) – Heyward had to sit out of NFL Draft Combine workouts and Ohio St.’s pro day due to UCL reconstruction surgery. However, Heyward has great physical tools and dominated Big 10 offensive lineman throughout 2010. He was named First Team All-Big 10 last CFB betting season and is projected to be a first round pick in the upcoming draft.