Ranking The Top 3-4 Prospects

Breaking down the players who best fit into this ever-growing defense.

by Wes Bunting
FEBRUARY 17, 2011


Top nose tackles

1. Phil Taylor: Baylor (6-4, 340)
When he plays with leverage the guy is an absolute bear to move inside, has the athleticism to play the five techniques as well.

2. Kenrick Ellis: Hampton (6-5, 336)
Possesses good natural strength, pad level and initial quickness, just has some of the field troubles that are a concern.

3. Jerrell Powe: Ole Miss (6-2, 331)
A thick, wide-bodied two down lineman who will likely go higher than his play deems worthy due to supply vs. demand.

4. Marvin Austin: North Carolina (6-2, 313)
More of a 4-3 nose, but possesses natural anchor strength, good athleticism for his size and if the light ever goes on, he can be as good as he wants to be in the NFL.

5. Sione Fua: Stanford (6-2, 307)
Played the nose in Stanfordís 3-4 this year, struggles to find the football, but has an above-average anchor for his size.

Top five techniques

1) Cameron Jordan: Cal (6-4, 287)
Can hold the point both inside and out, but itís his ability to rush the passer that makes him tops in this group.

2) Marcell Dareus: Alabama (6-3, 309)
A naturally powerful lineman with a good anchor and knows how to fend off blocks. Looks like a very solid starting 5-tecnique at the next level.

3) Cameron Heyward: Ohio State (6-5, 28
A heavy-handed player who finds the football well in the run game and knows how to stack and shed.

4) J.J. Watt: Wisconsin (6-6, 292)
Plays with good leverage for his size, can disengage well on the edge and exhibits a motor that runs non-stop.

5) Adrian Clayborn: Iowa (6-3, 287)
Might be better suited to play in a 43, but he can anchor vs. the run and knows how to shed well enough to definitely get a look as a five-technique.

6) Christian Ballard: Iowa (6-4, 297)
As athletic sideline-to-sideline as any DL in the draft and has the skill set to set the edge and play off blocks.

7) Muhammad Wilkerson: Temple (6-5, 305)
A gifted athlete who still possesses a lot of upside to his game, has an ideal frame for the position.

Lawrence Guy: Arizona State (6-5, 300)
Is a natural bender for his size who can play with leverage and work his way off blocks, but needs to continue to improve his ball awareness.

Top rush linebackers

1. Von Miller: Texas A&M (6-3, 237)
Lacks great size, but is simply the most natural pass rusher in this yearís draft.

2. Robert Quinn: UNC (6-5, 26
Is a better fit as a 4-3 DE in my view, but looks fluid enough in space to make the move as a 34-rush guy if need be.

3. Akeem Ayers: UCLA (6-4, 255)
His size makes him a perfect fit for the position and he does have some experience rushing the passer.

4. Justin Houston: Georgia (6-3, 25
Heís more explosive off the edge coiled up in a three-point stance, but with the needs for 34 rush backers, Houston should definitely get a long look in round one.

5. Aldon Smith: Missouri (6-4, 25
Much like Quinn, he seems like a better fit with his hand on the ground, but has the natural athleticism to get a long look standing up as well.

6. Martez Wilson: Illinois (6-4, 250)
Was at his best this season when Illinois allowed him to create havoc off the edge and rush the passer.

7. Dontay Moch: Nevada (6-2, 229)
Possesses an explosive first step, good fluidity when asked to change directions and is the type of guy who you just let pin his ears back and go.

Follow me on twitter: @WesBunting

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Ran ... pects.html