Draft Grades for Top 10 by Position - Defensive Ends

By Lance Zierlein
March 29, 2013

Lance Zierlein drops his Drafting the Top 10 by Position Series, where he tackles every position on defense.

Defensive End Rankings

Defensive End School Round
Ezekiel Ansah^ BYU 1st
Bjoern Werner Florida St. 1st
Datone Jones^ UCLA 1st/2nd
Alex Okafor Texas 2nd
Margus Hunt^ SMU 2nd
Damontre Moore Texas A&M 2nd
Sam Montgomery LSU 2nd
Malliciah Goodman^ Clemson 2nd/3rd
Tank Carradine Florida St. 2nd/3rd
Cornelius Washington Georgia 3rd/4th

^ - Might be best suited for 3-4


The upside on Ezekial Ansah is staggering.  He still has room for more weight on his frame and you can see the raw athleticism and power in his game.  He's a prospect who I expect to really take off by year two or three.  The fact that he can strong-side DE in the 4-3 or 3-4 DE makes him even more valuable.  He can fit in ANY system.

I thought Bjoern Werner could transition to 3-4 OLB, and maybe he can, but to my eyes he looks best suited to the 4-3.  Werner looked a little more explosive off the edge last year, but I still think he has the athleticism to be a legitimate enough edge rusher that he will open up some inside moves by tackles over-setting to the outside.  Keep in mind that Werner's 13 sacks in 2012 all came with no blitzing.  He beat his man on those 13 sacks.

Datone Jones' game isn't sexy, but what he brings to the table is important for teams looking for a glue guy to fit into a solid defense.  Jones is never going to be a headline pass rusher, but he's got good, strong hands and has a game that translates into the NFL.  I think he can add some weight and become a 3-4 DE in a 1-gap scheme as well as a 4-3 DE.

The differences between Alex Okafor and Margus Hunt are stark.  Okafor isn't really special as an athlete, but Hunt is.  Hunt hasn't been super productive as a college DE, but Okafor has.  Okafor is the steady, productive player that you know you can count on, but his ceiling is limited while Hunt is a boom or bust prospect with elite physical traits that allow him to potentially fit into any scheme.

The more I watched of Damontre Moore, the less impressed I was with him.  Many of his best plays were hustle plays down the field as opposed to sacks against NFL tackles.  I think he's got a pretty good get-off once the ball is snapped, but he lacks strength and he lacks secondary pass rush moves.  Moore didn't look like he was ready to transition to a 3-4 during his pro day either so that could limit his suitors.  Moore has potential to be sure, but he should have gone back for another year of college.

Sam Montgomery isn't flashy and his game may not translate all that well to the NFL, but I'm giving him a solid 2nd round grade for now.  I could see him playing to a 3rd round level, however, due to his lack of athleticism.  His motor will have to be at 100% all the time.  Malliciah Goodman really flashed at times while studying him, but it is obvious that his potential will be realized as a 3-4 DE rather than in a 4-3 since his quickness and long arms will be better-suited inside.

I'm not quite as awestruck over Tank Carradine as others are.  I think his overall quickness off the snap is solid and he plays with a good motor, but I don't see upper-echelon traits when I watch him.  With that said, I think he could have better upside than Sam Montgomery, but maybe a little lower floor.

I really like the potential of Cornelius Washington.  He's got the measurables 4-3 teams will be looking for and I think coaching and scheme fit will be important for him if he is to unlock that potential that is apparent on tape.