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2017 NFL Draft: Defensive End Big Board

Who are the best defensive ends in the country?

Derek Barnett. Inspecting the field quality at his future home at Nissan Stadium
Derek Barnett. Inspecting the field quality at his future home at Nissan Stadium
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

1. Johnathan Allen 6'3 294 Alabama Senior

- The best defensive lineman in college football, no questions asked. Athleticism is elite for his position group. Instincts are above average. Tackling fundamentals are a major plus. Allen had a monstrous 2015 but chose to stay in school and he hasn't lost a step this year. He would be a seamless fit for the Titans' 3-4 defense but is versatile enough to play in any scheme. Type of player you mold the scheme around him instead of the other way around. He had a dominant semifinal game against Washington.

2. Derek Barnett 6'3 265 Tennessee Junior

- Barnett could have pitched his claim of being the best defensive lineman in the SEC and not get laughed at. He was a dominant force for the Volunteers. A relentless motor and work ethic are major plus to his game. Speed and agility is at an elite level. He has declared for the draft. Surpassed Reggie White's school record of 32 career sacks in the bowl game. Nebraska wanted no part of him in the Music City Bowl.

3. Myles Garrett 6'4 279 Texas A&M Junior

- Garrett has the best athleticism in the class and it isn't close. He has lightning quick first step and lateral agility is a major plus. Strong hand usage to ward off blockers. Possesses an arsenal of initial moves and counter moves. Frame can add weight to it if necessary. Has great control of his long arms and legs so he isn't running around helter skelter aimlessly. A terror for offensive lineman to block. Scheme and position versatile as he can play both end and outside linebacker. A big game hunter.

4. Demarcus Walker 6'2 273 Florida State Senior

- Walker has put on clinic in 2016. He tied for the national sack lead.. He put the defense on his back and won FSU multiple game, especially the opener against Ole Miss and season ender Florida. Sealed the win over Miami with a blocked extra point try. He's a playmaker that you draft and figure it out later. An above average athlete without a set position. Better suited inside as a tackle at the next level. Had a great showing in the Orange Bowl against Michigan. Character and work ethic is elite. Not the most physically gifted but will outwork everyone to make plays happen.

5. Solomon Thomas 6'3 273 Stanford RS Sophomore

- Thomas is the Cardinal's best defensive player by far. Like most Stanford players, very fundamentally sound in all aspects of defense. Athleticism is above average. Doesn't get lost in the wash easily and is very instinctive as tackler. Made Notre Dame blockers look like fools (well, even more foolish than a 4-8 record indicates). Graded out as a 2nd or 3rd round prospect when I watched him. Fundamentals is what will get him drafted high. He was simply the best player on the field in the Sun Bowl. Had the North Carolina OL on ice skates trying to find where he was.

6. Taco Charlton 6'5 272 Michigan Senior

- One of the best 4-3 ends in the country. Had an excellent 2016 season, dominated the Orange Bowl. Has a good frame to add or drop weight. Strong hand usage. Instincts have improved immensely along with his pass rush arsenal. Improved every year so that's a big plus. Fundamentally sound tackler. One year wonder, however. Limited to the 4-3 as 3-4 did not work out for him.

7. Josh Carraway 6'4 250 DE TCU Senior

- The latest in a long line of great defensive line prospects from the Horned Frogs factory. He has the athleticism to play both outside linebacker and enough power to slide down to end on certain downs. Frame is ideal to add on more weight as well. Hidden gem of the class as TCU had a "retooling" year. Projects as a outside linebacker due to frame. Had a decent showing in the Liberty Bowl but disappeared at times.