The 2012 draft was rich in pass rushers, and the 2013 draft might be too if a number of underclassman decide to turn pro. Among those who could be first rounders include Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Louisiana State’s Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, Michigan State’s William Gholston and Florida State’s Bjoern Werner. As for seniors, these are the defensive ends scouts are most interested in.
1. Dion Jordan, Oregon, 6-6, 243. He reminds one front office man of Jason Taylor in terms of his long, wiry build. Jordan is very athletic and can be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 or a defensive end in a 4-3. He is a good edge rusher with speed who needs to improve his run defense. He could be a riser.
2. Cornelius Carradine, Florida State, 6-4, 265. His stock went up this fall because of his production, but then it took a dip when he tore his ACL. Carradine is tough and he plays hard. He has a feel as an edge rusher, but he is not the most athletic defensive end. Not being able to work out for NFL teams could hurt him.
3. Ezekiel Ansah, Brigham Young, 6-5, 270. He may be the most intriguing prospect in the draft. BYU recruited him from Ghana to be run track. When football coaches saw him running, they asked if he was interested in giving football a shot. He put on about 35 pounds and retained much of his speed. He tore it up on special teams his first two years, and became a defensive end starter this year. He is very raw but very gifted, and he still could rise in the postseason process.
4. Alex Okafor, Texas, 6-5, 265. Scouts like his size, strength and motor. His ability to play the run is a selling point. He does not have rare speed or burst. He flashes real good ability, but isn’t the most consistent producer.
5. Datone Jones, UCLA, 6-4, 275. Jones shows good initial quickness and he plays hard. He has some bulk and strength to be able to set the edge and handle the point of attack. He could have some versatility to move inside on nickel downs.
6. Malliciah Goodman, Clemson, 6-4, 280. This is a powerful defensive end with good size. He is an above average athlete, and probably a better athlete than football player at this point. Goodman has not made enough plays to satisfy scouts, but he can make himself some money in the postseason.
7. John Simon, Ohio State, 6-2, 260. He might be best as a standup pass rusher for a 3-4 team. Simon is physical and tough, and he plays very hard. He won’t dominate at the point, but he’ll make hustle plays.
8. Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist, 6-7, 275. His size will appeal to some teams, and he can play in multiple schemes. Hunt still is learning to play and has to be viewed as more of a developmental prospect. Hunt has added value as a kick blocker.
Dan Pompei covers pro football for the Chicago Tribune at chicagotribune.com.