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2017 Scouting Combine: Front 7 To Watch

Who are some front seven guys to keep an eye on?

#TitansTacoTuesday needs to be a thing, folks.
#TitansTacoTuesday needs to be a thing, folks.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


1. 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. 2017's version of Leonard Williams.

2. 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. Is coming off a dominant performance in the Sun Bowl against North Carolina. Garnering top 10 hype right now. Should blow up during the drills.

3. 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. There's some buzz that he could be a top 15 pick.

4. Trey Hendrickson 6'4 270 Florida Atlantic Senior

- Hendrickson was a force to be reckoned with during the 2016 season. He really came on and showed out during the East-West Shrine Game. Vaulted himself into the third round conversation after a dominant week in St. Petersburg (aka not Tampa). It will be interesting to see how he does against "better" competition in Indy.

5. Takkarist McKinley 6'2 265 UCLA Senior

- McKinley was arguably the best defensive end in all of college football in 2016. He's a freak athlete at his size. Ran a sub 11 second 100 meters in high school. Uses his straight line speed to help counteract his plus lateral agility rushing the passer. Long arms and heavy hands. He has a motor that won't quit until the game is over. Willing tackler that will run downfield to chase down a skill player. The medical will be interesting as he missed the Senior Bowl with a shoulder injury.

6. Carl Lawson 6'2 260 DE RS Junior

- Dee Ford who? Lawson, when healthy, is one of the best defensive end prospects in all of football. The biggest red flag is his injury history. It's not pretty as he missed one full year due to knee issues and parts of others with various bumps and bruises. Athletic specimen. Speed rushing expert. Underrated strength. Football IQ is above average. Elite talent but that injury history will get him a lot of red flags.

7. Bryan Cox, Jr 6'3 269 DL Florida

- The son of long time NFL veteran defensive standout and former Falcons assistant coach Bryan Cox, Sr. Junior has been stuck behind several talented former teammates that gone onto the NFL. Character and work ethic are a major plus. Not the best athlete but works hard to get in position to make a play. Struggled in 2016 with injuries. Should at least get a look in camps somewhere due to impressive lineage.


1. Carlos Watkins 6'4 312 Clemson RS Senior

- The next great Tigers defensive lineman in the factory. Not the best athlete in the world but gets the job done in steady manner. Knows how to use his size to leverage his lack of athleticism. Projects as a nose tackle in a 3-4 or needs to be paired with a more athletic tackle in a 4-3. Had a dominant outing at the Senior Bowl like his former Tigers teammates before him.

2. Montravius Adams 6'3 308 Auburn Senior

-  Adams is an intriguing prospect. Adams had an outstanding 2016 on top of a good 2015. A five star recruit that has played major reps from day one. Athleticism is very good for a guy his size. Footwork is a plus. Work ethic and character are not a concern. Does the dirty work inside willingly. Position versatile. Improved football IQ. Consistently a bright star amongst a putrid Auburn D (but it has improved somewhat) as a whole. Had a great week in Mobile.

3. Steve Tu'ikolovatu 6'1 350 USC Senior

- Stevie T was a classic 3-4 nose tackle that had a great 2016 for the Trojans. He had an impact during the Rose Bowl as he did his job ably. Decent practice sessions at Senior Bowl. He's a disruptive force to be reckoned with. Could stand to lose some weight as he came in at a "svelte" 350 in Mobile.

4. Eddie Vanderdoes 6'3 320 UCLA Senior

- He was one of the best defensive tackles in the country last year before suffering a torn knee ligament late. Had the option of playing offensive tackle early on but chose to play defense instead. Plays angry all the time, which can be both a positive and negative thing. There were several games in 2016 where he got demonstrably upset on the sidelines. Needs to interview well. Medical history will likely get him red flagged by a majority of teams.

5. Elijah Qualls 6'2 293 DL Washington Senior

- The heir apparent to current Cleveland Brown defensive tackle Danny Shelton is a good player in his own right. Possesses a high motor and will not quit on a play until the echo of the whistle. The anchor of the defensive line and by in part, the defense. Needs to learn how to control his weight as it tends to fluctuate on the high side. A physical dominant force when he needs to be due to a lack of playing time but has a lot of potential. Has risen up the boards this year.

6. Caleb Brantley 6'2 295 DT Florida RS Junior

- Brantley has emerged in 2016 as a dominant tackle after sitting behind some major talent for a couple of years. Athleticism isn't the greatest but his instincts offset some of those concerns. Football IQ is very good. Lateral agility and footwork is above average. Has a pretty good arsenal of pass rush moves. Uncanny ability to time the snap perfectly.


1. Jarrad Davis 6'1 238 Florida Senior

- The man in the middle of a talented Gators defense. A speed merchant with great football IQ. He's a home run hitter that needs space to unleash his great athleticism, which Florida's talented DL gave him more often than not. Tends to get lost in the wash rather easily. He was given the "green dot" guy title on defense during the 2015 season and handled calling plays and aligning teammates very well. Had a standout 2016 season for a much beleaguered Gators defense (thanks to a rather hopeless offense).

2. Kendall Beckwith 6'2 252 LSU Senior

- The next man up in the seemingly endless Bayou Bengals defensive star machine. The defensive general that has started for three years so he's seen virtually everything that there is to see in terms of offensive philosophy. A natural and fundamentally sound tackler. Limited athleticism has him boxed in as a true inside backer. Instincts and IQ are some of the best I've seen over the past couple of years. Rarely gets lost in the maelstrom that is the wash. Size wise, he's comparable to current Texans LB Benardrick McKinney. The overall package could be compared to the Titans' Avery Williamson.

3. Raekwon McMillan 6'2 240 Ohio State Junior

- The veteran leader of a youthful Buckeyes defense. Instincts are a major plus to his game. Athleticism is above average. He can play anywhere in the front seven should he be asked to do so. Could transition to outside linebacker at the next level. Doesn't get lost in the wash that often and comes up with the right play at the right time. Drills are going to be interesting to watch with him.

4. Marquel Lee 6'3 230 Wake Forest Senior

- Lee is one of more underrated prospects in the ACC due to Wake Forest's status as a program. He's a durable four year starter that is a tackling machine. Instincts are above average. Athleticism is a plus. He's a playmaker that can play both inside and outside. Frame wise, he isn't boxed into a specific linebacker position and can add weight if necessary. He was a monster against the big boys of the ACC so he proved that he can step up during the big games.

5. Ben Gedeon 6'3 247 Michigan Senior

- Gedeon was the leader of the fearsome Wolverines defense that led the country in some categories. Limited athletically but it will be fun to watch him in the drills to see how he does. A very fundamentally sound tackler and football IQ is very good.

6.  Ben Boulware 6'0 235 ILB Clemson

- The unquestioned leader of the Tigers defense during his career. He's a bit undersized and limited athletically to play anywhere else other than inside linebacker. Boulware is a tackling machine that had an outstanding playoff career. He plays a little reckless beyond the whistle at times, however.

Bonus prospects to watch

1. Keionta Davis DE Tennessee-Chattanooga

2. Davon Godchaux DT LSU

3. Jarron Jones DL Notre Dame

4. Isaac Rochell DL Notre Dame

5. Haason Reddick DE Temple

6. Devonte' Fields LB Louisville

7. Anthony Walker, Jr LB Northwestern

8. Jalen Reeves-Maybin LB Tennessee