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2015 NFL Draft: Final Thoughts (Defense)

What are my final thoughts on the defensive prospects in this class?

Dante Fowler. Do Want.
Dante Fowler. Do Want.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


- Oregon DE Arik Armstead is the most intriguing defensive line prospect in this year's class. He's a freak athlete that played both basketball and football for the Ducks. Possesses a frame that can add weight and not lose a lot of speed and agility. The negative is that he doesn't have a motor that runs constantly. Armstead might have been a monstrous offensive tackle had he chosen that route. Position versatility is a bonus as well. Can also play tackle. The one thing I don't like is the lack of production until his last season in Eugene. Makes you wonder a bit if he's a one hit wonder.

- While I think that USC DE Leonard Williams will be a solid player for any defense, I feel that he's had so much hype that he's becoming Mario Williams. He's the best defensive prospect in this year's class. Williams has the potential to become Richard Seymour but at what value of a pick do you place that at? This is becoming Derrick Morgan versus JPP again. I can certainly see why the Titans are enamored with him because he would instantly upgrade the abysmal run defense from years gone by.

- Kentucky DE Alvin "Bud" Dupree is a freak athlete. He needs to work on the more technical aspects of pass rushing but the tools are there. Like all recent Wildcats defenders, his football IQ is pretty solid. It has to be to pick up HC Mark Stoops' complicated defensive schemes otherwise they're not seeing the field. If there was a trade out to be from 2 to let's say 10 or so, I'd take him without hesitation.

- Could Florida DE Dante Fowler, Jr be the second coming of former Gator/Titan Jevon Kearse perhaps? Like Kearse, Fowler has some size questions but 260 isn't that small considering some of the measureables of NFL pass rushers in recent years. Fowler has incredible athleticism and his footwork is off the charts good. It appears that his frame can't add any more weight so he could top out at 270-275. He has a constantly running motor paired with an above average arsenal of pass rush moves. Another positive is his scheme/positional versatility. Fowler played end, tackle, and OLB in his standout Florida career. He also answered questions about having to be THE MAN once a superstar lineman leaves. Character and work ethic are excellent as well.

- Utah DE Nate Orchard was the Pac-12's best pass rusher and that was in a conference full of elite pass rushing talents. Yes he's undersized for end but could be a force as Aldon Smith lite.


- Washington DT Danny Shelton was a rising star of the offseason draft circuit. Yes, Shelton ran a slow 40, clocking in at 5.64 but he looked good enough in the movement drills. If I had a comparison for him, it would be Casey Hampton. He's not going to wow you physically but is phone booth type of lineman that gets the dirty work done in a limited amount of space. Perhaps he needs to take lessons from Peanut Tillman on how to strip the ball as well (there's a hilarious clip of him trying to strip a ball from a ball boy and failing to do so). Weight needs to be monitored (obviously).

- Clemson DT Grady Jarrett is Karl Klug 2.0. A man without a set position on the line due to his size limitations. He's a relentless hard worker that won't quit until the whistle.


- You can find my thoughts on the ILB class here

- Michigan State's Taiwan Jones was the next man up to become the Spartans' defensive general in the middle. He was converted to middle linebacker after playing outside for most of his career. The stout MSU defense didn't miss a beat. A solid form tackler with good instincts. Had a good Shrine Bowl performance.

- Texas LB Jordan Hicks would be gone by the third round just based on his film alone but his medical history is an extensive one. He finally showed the promise and potential of a five star recruit this year. Hicks was the defensive general for the Longhorns and played like it. Possesses very good tackling ability and form. The instincts are off the charts. Agility and speed is above average as well.


- I'm intrigued by Louisville's Lorenzo Mauldin. Mauldin primarily played end at Louisville but has enough athleticism to play outside linebacker as well. His medical will be interesting as he's had little nicks and bumps here and there. As I mentioned on MCM Radio, he could be interesting as a Lawrence Timmons type that moves inside in the pros.

- Nebraska's Randy Gregory is, simply put, a moron for failing a known mandated drug test. On the field, Gregory is a freak athlete with a body that could add weight and not lose a step. He has the length to keep tackles at bay while maintaining an average foundation in his base to avoid being run over. Constantly running motor but his injury history along with his slight frame (as 6'6 245 guys can be) scare me. The knees have flared up a bit too much and caused his effectiveness to diminish over the stretch run of the 2014 season. Also possesses a great arsenal of moves and countermoves to keep blockers constantly guessing. Intelligence and instincts are good as he is frequently in the right position to make a play.

- Joining Gregory in the dumbest mistake this year is Missouri's Shane Ray. Ray, like Gregory is undersized for the position. Possibly a bigger freak athlete than RG. The speed aspect of his game is unparalleled in this year's OLB class. If you're looking for a close replica of Clowney 2.0 (the college version), Ray is your guy. Ball location and instincts are excellent with him. However, the speed game can be a detriment to him as well. He's like an ice skater with little ability to stop himself once he gets going. Blockers can neutralize him with power. Famously got kicked out of the SEC title game against Alabama for "targeting". NFL bloodlines as father Wendell had a cup of coffee in the league.


- You can find my thoughts on the corner class here

- Two corners that I had my eye on during the process were Miami's Ladarius Gunter and Auburn's Nick Marshall. Gunter reminds me of Byron Maxwell when I see him. He could be a safety convert in the long run. Marshall, to his credit, asked for a switch to CB because he realized that he wasn't going to make it as a QB. Could be a late round steal for someone.


- After Landon Collins, the safety class is a weak one this year.

- My thoughts on Gerod Holliman from Louisville:

The definition of a ball hawk. He had 14 interceptions in 2014 and was named the Jim Thorpe Trophy winner as a result. However, he's Michael Griffin 2.0 in run support aka not doing much and taking wrong angles consistently, much to the displeasure of his teammates. Holliman is a big hitter so there's that.

- My thoughts on Jaquiski Tartt from Samford:

Can he make a leap up the boards as a small school safety like J.J Wilcox before him? If there's a Titans comp for him, it's Marqueston Huff. Like our beloved Mr. Huff, Tartt struggled with being the lone single high safety that had to make the perfect read. He's not as athletic as Huff but a better tackler (coming out of college).