Final stock watch: defensive risers

A breakdown of the top five defensive risers who have seen the biggest boost in their stock over the past couple weeks.

WattICONIs Watt now a top-ten draft pick?

DE J.J. Watt: Wisconsin
The sturdy defensive end is getting a lot of love as a potential top-10 draft pick right now. He possesses a good anchor, can consistently win for you on 1st and 2nd down, and offers some versatility in nickel situations as well.

DE Cameron Heyward: Ohio State
Call him the “Steady Eddy” of this year’s defensive line class. Heyward is a power player with a strong anchor, is technically sound and you know you’re getting a very good two-down player. Isn’t a real gifted pass rusher at this stage, but looks like a very solid starting five-technique in the NFL who now seems like a lock for round one.

DT Muhammad Wilkerson: Temple
Despite that fact that he’s still raw, plays too high at times and is still learning how to use his hands to shed, Wilkerson has a tremendous amount of upside. He’s far from a finished product, but at 6-5, 310 pounds he possesses an impressive physical skill set that will get him looks as both a three and five-technique at the next level. Looks like a lock for the first round now.

CB DeMarcus Van Dyke: Miami
This is what happens when you run the fastest 40 time at the NFL Combine at a speed position, you fly up draft boards. And that is exactly the case for Van Dyke. His play on tape says later round/FA pick in my option. However, wouldn’t be shocked to see him drafted in the 2nd-3rd round range.

FS Marcus Gilchrist: Clemson
Gilchrist isn’t the biggest or thickest of defensive backs. However, he runs well, possesses good ball skills and is willing to lay the wood as a tackler. Add in the fact he’s versatile enough to play all over an NFL secondary and he now looks like one of the first safeties to come off the board come Friday.

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