I thought Jerry Hughs had a very good year in 2017. He is solid at R defensive end. Getting Trent Murphy to play the L side was a great move by Brandon Beane. Honestly, neither Shaq Lawson or Eddie Yarbrough made a lot of plays last year. We also have Marquavius Lewis, Terrence Fede, and Owa Odighizuwa as depth options. I think we are solid at Defensive End, but you can always use a good pass rusher, and frankly we could upgrade at this position. Maybe get a developmental end later in the draft. Anyways, here is my evaluation of the Defensive Ends in the 2018 NFL Draft.
1)Brad Chubb, NC St., 6’4″, 269 lbs., 4.65 40, 24 reps, 36″vertical, 121″ broad, 7.37 3-cone, 4.41 shuttle. Had knee surgery 3 years ago but is totally recovered without issues. He is one of the top 5 players in this draft. He has the potential to be as good as Bruce Smith. He has also been compared to both Von Miller and Khalil Mack. He is really good. Great pass rush. Tough against the run. Hard to beat to the corner. A real speed/strength combination freak. He loves football. Is a team leader. Punches every box. Gone before pick #12.
2)Marcus Davenport, Texas San Antonio, 6’6″, 255lbs., 4.58 40, 22 reps, 33.5″ vertical, 124″broad, 7.2 3-cone, 4.41 shuttle. Long and quick. Has all the tools to be a great defensive end. Played at a small school and dominated the competition. Got better in drills against top competition every day at the senior bowl. By the end of the week he was winning most battles. He will go in the 1st round, probably top 20. If he is there at #22 he is someone the Bills must seriously consider.
3)Sam Hubbard, Ohio St., 6’5″. 275 lbs., 35″vertical, 116″ broad, 6.84 3 cone, 4.32 shuttle. Big and long. Very quick first step. 6.84 3-cone for a man his size is about as quick as they come. No 40 time, but his play at Ohio St. was fast. He is battle hardened and plenty tough. Probably a 2nd round choice.
4)Harold Landry, BC, 6’3″, 250 lbs., 4.64 40, 24 reps, 36″vertical, 119″ broad, 6.88 3-cone, 4.19 shuttle. Quick and strong DE. Had better years in 2015 and 2016. Was injured and his play was not as good this year. Missed several games. Not as good against the run, but he is a great edge rusher. That is where he will make his mark in the league. Similar player to Jerry Hughes. A day 2 selection. May fit better as an outside backer in a 3-4.
5)Chad Thomas, Miami, 6’5″, 265 lbs.,, 4.93 40, 29″ vertical. 116″ broad. Tall and powerful. 341/2″ arms. 103/8″hands. He is not blazing fast but he makes a lot of plays. He is a DJ and Music Producer and his dedication to football has been questioned. A day 3 selection.
6)Marcel Frazier, Missouri, 6’5″, 260 lbs., 4.63 40, 25 reps, 33.5″vertical, 118″ broad, 7.14 40. He could also play OLB. He great edge rusher. Strong and powerful against the run also. I would take him in round 4 if he is still around.
7)Kemoko Turay, Rutgers, 6’43/8″, 252 lbs, 4.66 40, 18 reps. Explosive first step. He is fast. Makes a lot of plays off the edge. Will get stronger and better in an NFL Strength and Conditioning program. Made a lot of plays at Rutgers. Another good mid round choice for the Bills. He and Frazier could go on day #2.
8)Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma, 6’1″, 253 lbs., 4.77 40, 27 reps, 38″ vertical, 121″ broad, 6.84 3-cone. He is shorter and his long speed is not great. Is he an OLB due to his height? I don’t know, but this dude can play. He has burst and bend off the edge. He is a good pass rusher and a bull against the run. He made tons of plays for Oklahoma. Another great mid rounds choice.
9)Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest, 6’4″, 264 lbs., No test data. He must be injured and not testing, but I saw him play and he is good. He meets the eye test for strength, speed and quickness. Good against the run and strong pass rush. Another mid rounder to consider.
10)Tyquan Lewis, Ohio St., 6’23/8″, 265 lbs., 35.5″vertical, 122″ broad. No run data. He was really good for Ohio St. and held his own in the Big 10. I wish I knew his speed. Probable a 4-5 round pick. He is athletic and could probably help on special teams.
11)Josh Sweat, Fla. St., 6″5″, 250 lbs, 4.53 40, 39.5″ vertical, 124″ broad, 4.28 shuttle. Big and athletic. Needs to get stronger but boy is he fast twitch for 250 lbs. Has the body to get bigger. I think he has great potential but his production was not always the greatest.
12)Arden Key, LSU, 6’6″, 238 lbs, 31″vertical, 117 broad, 7.16 3-cone, 4.25 shuttle. Did not run the 40 at the combine and his 40 time at his Pro Day was reported 4.81, but that must have been an error or he pulled up. He is way faster than 4.81. He had a great first two years at LSU, but quit the team and gained 40 lbs. Came back this year but did not look as good. I am not sure about his commitment or whether or not he passes the Beane, McDermott litmus test for character. He might fit better in a 3-4 as an outside backer. He is one of the bigger boom/bust prospects.
13)Ade Aruna, Tulane, 6’6″, 265lbs., 4.60 40, 18 reps, 38.5″ vertical, 128″broad, 7.53 3 cone, 4.48 shuttle. Big and long and fast. Has a good first step. He is more a straight line player. Needs to get stronger. Someone who would be good value in round 5-6. A developmental prospect.
14)Kylie Fitts, Utah, 6’4″, 265 lbs., 4.69 40, 31 reps. 32.5″vertical, 117″ broad, 6.883-cone, 4.19 shuttle. Strong as a bull and athletic as well. May have the best spin move of all the DE’s. Quick in the box. Another good value in the late rounds. No issues.
15)Leon Jacobs, Wisconsin, 6’3″, 246 lbs., 4.48 40, 26 reps, 34.5″ vertical, 122″ broad, 7.14 3-cone, 4.44 shuttle. Played 5 years for Wisconsin as he was injured his Jr. year in game 3 and missed the rest of the year and thus the 5th year waiver. Improved each year at Wisconsin and had really good production in 2017. Seems like he should have had more than 6.5 sacks in 5 years. He has a high ceiling. Could play linebacker as well. Has played inside and outside linebacker and edge rusher at Wisconsin. Could turn out to be a diamond in the rough in the later rounds. A versatile player who is still improving.
16)Marquis Haynes, Ole’ Miss., 6’3″, 235 lbs., 4.67 40, 23 reps., 32″ vertical, 123″ broad, 7.14 3-cone, 4.45 shuttle. Played defensive end. Is reportedly a slow learner and will have to learn to play outside linebacker if he is not big enough to cut it at DE. Has the tools. Loves to play. Hard nosed. A late round or priority FA.
17)Trevon Young, Louisville, 6″4″, 258 lbs., 4.78 40. 25 reps, 33″ vertical, 114″ broad, 6.99 3-cone, 4.4 shuttle. Big and strong but a little slow. Good quickness in the box though. A 3-cone under 7 seconds at 258lbs is quick. Another late round choice.
18)Dorance Armstrong, Kansas, 6’4″ 257 lbs., 4.87 40, 20 reps, 30″vertical, 118″ broad. 7.12 3-cone, 4.23 shuttle. Long 343/4″ arms. Long and lean. Slow but has surprising quickness. Made a lot of plays at Kansas. I liked his play on the field, but a 4.87 40 is pretty slow, that is why he fell on my list.
19)Hercules Mata’afa, Washington St., 6’1″, 252 lbs., 4.76 40, 26 reps., 31.5 “vertical, 108” broad, 7.24 3-cone, 4.37 shuttle. Average speed and average athlete, but this kid loves football. Tough and hard nosed. Bumped inside and played defensive tackle and did well there this past year. He is a tweener like Okoronkwo, is he an end or a linebacker or a tackle. I don’t see him as a tackle. Maybe he will stick on special teams. I think he will play in the league. 7th rounder or priority free agent.
The Bills could always use a pass rusher. There will be good prospects available in every round. With Trent Murphy and Jerry Hughes, we do not have a huge need for a defensive end. Shaq Lawson has been a disappointment, but maybe this will be the year where he plays like a first round choice. The other ends on the roster give us depth. I think we could get a good defensive end prospect on day #3, but if someone of great value is available in the earlier rounds then go for it, even if we could get Chubb at #12.
2019 Draft Watch: Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant, both 6’5″, and 265 lbs at Clemson should be awesome next season for Clemson!