Last Sunday, I examined the centers that are eligible for the 2008 NFL Draft. Today, I examine the defensive ends that are expected to be eligible for the draft. Below, you will find the player’s name, school, brief narrative about the player and the team expected to draft him. Here we go:
1. Chris Long, Virginia
Good size for a DE (6’4″, 284). Can bull-rush with the best of them, has a nose for the ball. Can get through double teams effectively. Has good awareness. Downside for Long – lacks true “defensive end” speed. Being the son of NFL great Howie Long may or may not help him.
Team likely to draft him: Miami (1st round)
2. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
Prototypical DE size (6’4″, 264). Has excellent speed (4.78 40) and above-average instincts playing the run and pass. Has bench-pressed 455 lbs – very strong obviously. Rarely found out of position. Downside for Gholston – played the hybrid role at Ohio State – may need refining at the NFL level.
Team likely to draft him: Arizona (1st round)
3. Calais Campbell, Miami (FLA)
Has very good explosion off the snap of the ball. Is huge (6’8″, 282), with long wingspan. Downside for Campbell – relies too much on his athletic ability. Weak against the run. Tends to stand up too quickly vs. opposing linemen.
Team likely to draft him: Cincinnati (1st round)
4. Derrick Harvey, Florida
Excellent bull-rushing skills. Great speed for a DE (4.67 40). Good push with very good technique. Is solid against the run. Downside for Harvey – needs to bulk up as he is a bit smallish (6’4″, 245).
Team likely to draft him: Jacksonville (1st round)
5. Quentin Groves, Auburn
Above-average athleticism and agility. Very good speed (4.60 40) and quicks. Does well in pursuit of ballcarrier. Offers versatility – played some LB in college. Very good tackler. Downside for Groves – Tends to be inconsistent. May be undersized and drafted as a LB. Instincts are just OK. Has difficulty shedding blocks.
Team likely to draft him: San Francisco (2nd round)
6. Phillip Merling, Clemson
Big for a DE (6’5″, 280), yet light on his feet. Effective tackler. Smarts above-average. Downside for Merling – physical skills a nitch below current NFL DE’s. Technique needs some refinement.
Team likely to draft him: Washington (2nd round)