Barkevious Mingo DE LSU #49
Size/Athleticism: Incredible athleticism. Height is only average which hurts him slightly. His strength is very average, which is a key reason why he’s a liability against the run. If he’s going to be a three-down lineman, he needs to add about 10 pounds of muscle.
Run Defense: A liability against the run. Weak at the point of attack. Susceptible to draws because he almost exclusively blitzes off the edge and offensive linemen can dictate the direction he takes. Used almost exclusively as a pass-rusher at LSU, so his experience against the run is limited. He lacks the upper body strength to consistently shed blocks. Effort is never an issue, it’s just a matter of not having the strength to get the job done. When he recognizes the run he does tend to take proper angles in pursuit, and does a nice job fighting through traffic.
Pass Rush: Elite explosion off the snap. Can fly past slow-footed offensive tackles and get into the backfield before the quarterback has time to react. But can also be overaggressive at times. Offenses can manipulate him on draws and screens because he flies into the backfield and full speed on every play. Needs to become a more well-rounded player, rather than a guy whose sole focus is the quarterback. Can be stonewalled by more physical offensive linemen once they engage him. Below average strength and has almost no leverage as a bull rusher. Consistently gets his arms up into passing lanes.
Versatility: Primarily lined up at defensive end, but may be better suited for linebacker in a 3-4. Very little experience dropping into coverage.
Intangibles: Limited experience and production. Shows tons of potential, but was only part of the rotation at LSU and his production was modest at best. A player with legitimate top-10 skills should have been more dominant than he was in college.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: Mingo will immediately be a force as a pass-rusher, but he won’t be a three-down player early in his career. And it’s fair to wonder if he’ll ever become that type of player. However, in today’s NFL teams need pass-rushers more than ever and even if he’s only going to play 60-70 percent of his teams’ snaps. Bruce Irvin played just under 50 percent of the Seahawks defensive snaps as a rookie, and that’s about what we should expect from Mingo early in his career. If he develops into a more well-rounded player, that’s great, but I wouldn’t rely on him for anything more than an elite pass-rush specialist.
Ezekiel Ansah DE BYU #47
Size/Athleticism: Tall and well built. Really long arms gives him exception length and allows him to play with leverage. Bench press at the combine was below average, but considering his long arms it shouldn’t be a concern. He clearly plays with upper body strength and that’s what matters.
Run Defense: Surprisingly patient and does a nice job anticipating. Impressive speed in short bursts, closes quickly on the ball carrier. Strong upper body allows him to shed blocks fairly consistently. Stout at the point of attack. Uses his length to get good leverage and holds his ground.
Pass Rush: Can bull rush his way into the backfield when he’s in a one-on-one situation but lacks the pass-rush moves to maneuver his way around strong offensive linemen who hold off his initial push. Unbelievable initial pop; he can knock lineman to the ground with one blow. But needs to rely on more than just his strength.
Versatility: Lined up all over the field and end, three-technique, nose tackle and linebacker. Best suited for playing a 4-3 end position, but could definitely play linebacker in a 3-4. May lack some of the lateral movement required to really excel at linebacker, however.
Intangibles: Intelligent off the football field. Relatively new to the sport. Enrolled at BYU to participate in track and field. Joined football team in 2010.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: In terms of raw talent, Ansah is the premier defensive end in this year’s draft class. He may not make a significant impact as a rookie due to the fact that he’s still learning the nuance of being a well-rounded pass-rusher, but there is no denying his raw skill set. He’s an intelligent guy on and off the field and there’s no reason to believe he won’t dedicate himself to learning the sport and developing into an elite player.
Tank Carradine DE Florida State #91
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical size and overall build. He’s shown a nice blend of a speed rush and a bull rush. Has the speed to make some plays in pursuit.
Run Defense: Very patient against the run. Stays in his area until the play develops and then goes hard in pursuit. Holds his ground at the point of attack. Plays nasty when engaged at the point of attack. Strong upper body and active hands to disengage from blocks. Does a great job getting keeping his eyes in the backfield and reacting to the play.
Pass Rush: Can be extremely explosive when he wants to be. But he seems tentative at times and hesitates off the snap. Needs to improve his anticipation skills. Plays too upright at times and can get knocked off balance by stronger offensive linemen. Needs to develop his arsenal of pass rush moves. He relies almost exclusive on his speed and bull rush. Needs to get his hands into passing lanes more consistently.
Versatility: Played almost exclusively at left defensive end once he was moved into a starting role. Very little experience playing standing up. Could be considered a 3-4 outside linebacker by some teams due to his athleticism.
Intangibles: Ruled academically ineligible out of high school and forced to added JUCO for two years before committing to Florida State. Very little experience at the highest level. Was not moved into a starting role until Brandon Jenkins went down with an injury in 2012.
Durability: Suffered a torn ACL during regular season finale in 2012.
Comments: Carradine would be a first-round lock if not for the knee injury which will limit him this offseason. However, he expected to be able to work out for teams before the draft and will be ready for the 2013 season. Depending on how his medical reports check out, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t still receive first-round consideration. Players return to full strength from ACL injuries all the time and it should be of little concern.
Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M #94
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical height. Decent overall size, but isn’t particularly well built. His weigh-in numbers looks fine, but he’s a little on the chubby side. Would definitely benefit from adding some muscle to his frame. Tested poorly at the combine, but seems to play much faster than his numbers indicate.
Run Defense: Doesn’t make nearly enough plays against the run. He misses too many tackles, often from taking poor angles or by putting himself in a bad spot by simply not keeping his eyes in the backfield. He plays like a guy whose sole focus is to accumulate sacks. Occasionally asked to drop back and spy on the quarterback or running back; in these situation’s he’s typically patient and one of the few times he’s really an asset against the run. Struggles to shed blocks when he’s at the point of attack. He was manhandled by D.J. Fluker against Alabama a number of times when they ran at him.
Pass Rush: Has the ability to get to the quarterback in a variety of ways. He’s strong enough to bull rush his way into the backfield, but also quick enough to be a speed rusher off the edge. Occasionally mixes in a spin move, especially when he’s working against interior offensive linemen. Fairly consistent getting his hands up into passing lanes.
Versatility: Primarily lined up at defensive end, with equal time on both sides of the line. Occasionally played with his hand off the ground. Experienced in both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. Backed up Von Miller at the “joker” position early in his career. Dropped into coverage against some tight ends, even when he started with his hand on the ground.
Intangibles: Arrested for marijuana possession in 2011. Has a reputations as being lazy off the field. Only put up 12 reps on the bench press at the combine, which shows a lack of commitment in the weight room. That’s simply an inexcusable number for a guy his size. Only 20 years old.
Durability: No issues.
Comments: Moore has the potential to be a quality pass-rusher at the next level, but he needs to develop his overall game before he’s ready to make a significant impact. At this stage of his career, Moore is getting by with his raw tools. But he lacks the truly elite strength and athleticism for that to carry over into the NFL. Moore simply isn’t an intelligent football player, as evidenced by his consistent poor angles and lack of awareness on the field. This is fixable, but he needs to prove that he’s willing to put in the work to make it happen.
Datone Jones DE UCLA #56
Size/Athleticism: Rare blend of size and athleticism. Could line up anywhere on the defensive line, but would be best suited as a three-technique tackle or a 3-4 end.
Run Defense: Impressive ability to shed blocks on the interior. Blend of strength and quickness allows to him shed the blocker and quickly slip through the line. Struggles to hold up at the point of attack at times, especially when double teamed off the snap. He’s not an ideal defensive tackle to be lined up in short-yardage situations. Does a great job fighting through traffic when the play is away from him and typically gives a solid effort in pursuit. Needs to improve the angles he takes in pursuit in the open field.
Pass Rush: Over-commits to the pass rush sometimes, and will get caught out of position by a draw or screen. Needs to do a better job keeping his eyes in the backfield to pick up on these delayed plays. Doesn’t show many pass-rush moves. Almost exclusively relies on the bull rush. He’ll force his way into the backfield fairly consistently due to his size and quickness, but there will be some NFL interior lineman that simply have the strength to overpower him.
Versatility: Experience at tackle in the 4-3 scheme. Shifted to end in the 3-4 scheme under Jim Mora. Could play just about any spot on the defensive line at the next level and may be athletic enough to line up at linebacker in certain situations in the 3-4 scheme. Even played some nose tackle as a senior in the 3-4. In a 4-3 scheme, he will be an asset as an interior pass-rusher, but will be a liability at times against the run due to his struggles at the point of attack. He should draw serious interest from teams running a hybrid scheme.
Intangibles: Is he a one-year wonder? Didn’t show legitimate NFL potential until his senior year. Was is a result him playing for an NFL contract, or did he finally put it all together under the new coaching regime?
Durability: Missed entire 2010 season with a broken foot.
Comments: Jones is an intriguing prospect who should receive a wide range of grades based on the defensive scheme of each team. A team running a hybrid scheme should fall in love with his versatility. He doesn’t really stand out in any one area, which limits his upside somewhat in a more traditional defense, but an innovative defensive coordinator could really take advantage of his versatility and turn him into something special.