The hottest position in this years NFL Draft will be the defensive line. All NFL teams are looking to improve the defenses up front by drafting big lineman. This is a heavy defensive line laden NFL Draft and teams looking to improve their pass rush and add some space eaters will have plenty of high impact talent to choose from. The following ten defensive lineman will most likely all go in the first round of the NFL Draft.
No.10. Adrian Clayborn: Iowa Hawkeyes
Adrian Clayborn was a hot prospect coming into the 2010 college football campaign but three and a half sacks in 2010 and Clayborn’s decision to sit out the Senior Bowl after the poor season has raised red flags. Clayborn will need a good coaching staff to kick him into shape and he will be a good steal for an NFL team. Projection: Clayborn will be drafted in the early second round of the NFL Draft.
No.9. Allen Bailey: Miami Hurricanes
Allen Bailey is a five technique defender that is versatile enough to succeed in a 3-4 defense or a conventional defense with four down lineman. Bailey has the speed and the skill set to possibly move up the NFL Draft board after his performance in the NFL Combine. Allen Bailey can go as high as a first ten NFL Draft pick and as low as a second round NFL Draft pick. Projection: Late first or early second round NFL Draft pick.
No.8. Cameron Jordon: California Bears
Cameron Jordon is a player that has increased his NFL Draft value by impressing at the Senior Bowl this weekend. Jordon will be the steal of the NFL Draft if he does fall to the second round but defensive ends are plentiful in this years draft. Projection: Cameron Jordon will go in the first round of the NFL Draft and may move up to an early pick with a great NFL Combine.
No.7. Cameron Heyward: Ohio State Buckeyes
Cameron Heyward is the son of legendary running back Craig “Iron Head” Heyward and he has the same tenacious attitude when in pursuit of the quarterback. Heyward is coming off of elbow surgery but many defensive coordinators will overlook this when they get to see him at the NFL Combine. Projection: Cameron Heyward will be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. Potential suitors will be the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys looking to bulk up their defense.
No.6. Robert Quinn: North Carolina Tar Heels
Robert Quinn is a mixed bag for NFL scouts. They love his motor and they love his nose for the quarterback. What NFL scouts are scared of is Quinn’s small frame for a defensive end. The six foot tall 260 pound defensive end gets to the quarterback fast because of his size and many NFL scouts worry that when he is told to add weight it may take away his effectiveness. Projection: Quinn will be a first round NFL Draft pick in April.
No.5. JJ Watt: Wisconsin Badgers
JJ Watt is another defensive lineman that will be well suited to an NFL style 3-4 defense. Watt is a natural on the end and he knows how to cause chaos from the position. Teams in college had to scheme against Watt but in the NFL he will be a viable battler on the front lines for the defense. Watt has the flexibility and talent to drop back and disrupt shallow passing patterns also. Projection: Watt is a viable first round NFL Draft prospect.
No.4. Stephen Paea: Oregon State Beavers
Stephen Paea is a natural athlete playing on the front defensive line. The native of Tonga is a good rugby player which gives him good speed to cause chaos in the back field and the middle of the field when dropping back into coverage. Paea is expected by many NFL Draft experts to shatter the bench press record at the NFL Combine. Projection: Paea will be a first round NFL Draft pick.
No.3. Marcell Dareus: Alabama Crimson Tide
Marcell Dareus had his way with many college offensive lineman but it is yet to be seen if he can do the same with NFL offensive lineman. Dareus is 280 pounds of pure determination that knows how to find the quarterback and destroy him. Dareus knocked Colt McCoy out of the 2010 BCS Championship game as a sophomore for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Projection: Dareus will be drafted in the first round first 15 players of the NFL Draft.
No.2. Da’Quan Bowers: Clemson Tigers
Depending on which NFL Mock Draft anyone uses as a source, Da’Quan Bowers could be the number one number two player taken in the NFL Draft. Bowers is a once in a lifetime find but he does need work on his pass rushing skills. Polishing is a better word for Bowers pass rushing abilities.
Bowers is a monster against the run and teams that struggled against the run may be working on a deal to get the possible number one or number two NFL Draft pick overall. Bowers is the rare natural at the position and will transition well into any NFL lineup. Projection: Bowers will be the number two overall NFL Draft pick.
No.1. Nick Fairley: Auburn Tigers
Nick Fairley cemented his NFL Draft status with a sack, three tackles for a loss and a forced fumble in the BCS Championship game. Fairley is a freak for his massive size. His 6’3″ 298 pound frame is not meant to move as smooth and fast as it does.
Fairley can take on a double team and rotate to the quarterback before the two blockers know what hit them. Fairley has potential to be this years Ndamukong Suh and the team that nabs him will automatically upgrade their defense. Projection: Nick Fairley will be the overall number one NFL Draft pick.
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