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2019 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Ends

Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I am moving onto the defensive ends in my NFL Draft preview collection and man, there are a lot of big, athletic DEs that could hear their names called very early in the 2019 NFL Draft. Defensive Ends are always my favorite to scout mainly because I played the position for a long time and I respect the prospects that play it at an elite level. I am really looking forward to scouting these guys come September.

So, lets dive into this potential class and please let me know in the comments below who we need to keep our eye on this college football season.

Nick Bosa, Ohio St.

Bosa is probably the most well-known DE of this class, but its not just because of his brother; Nick is an awesome football player. He’s got lethal hands, they are quick and tough. He disengages well, has good pursuit, plays with good technique and is solid in both the run and the pass.... there’s a lot to like. I think he’s one of the best players in the potential 2019 NFL draft class and could be a top pick. Now, it’s extremely early and a lot will change but Bosa is a heck of a football player and has all the tools and potential to be an all-pro at the next level.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

I think Ferrell made the right decision last season by choosing to stay at Clemson. I think he’s got great potential but last season I felt he just wasn’t ready for the NFL. He’s a strong DE that is a fantastic pass rusher. He’s quick, good size, good motor, but I felt he needed to add strength and work on the small details of playing the DE position. If Ferrell continues to improve, we could hear his name called early next April.

AllState Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Alabama Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Joe Jackson, Miami

I haven’t watched much of Jackson’s film so this preview is going to be slightly limited. I think he’s another athletic, tall DE that has good bend and can rush the passer. He recognizes plays pretty quickly, has a deadly first step, good at running the arch, but struggles against bigger linemen and I saw him get pushed back on run plays quite a bit. I am looking forward to watching him more this year though; he’s a talented pass rusher that could be a hot name in April.

Miami v Georgia Tech Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Montez Sweat, Mississippi St.

There are a lot of tall, big athletic DEs in this draft class and Sweat is yet another one. He looks big on the field but definitely needs to add bulk and fill out a bit more. He’s a smooth athlete that plays with a passion you can see. I need to get more film on him and I need to do research on why he left Michigan St. for disciplinary reasons; but he could be in line for a big season this year at Miss. St.

TaxSlayer Bowl - Mississippi State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Austin Bryant, Clemson (Sr)

Bryant, like his co-star DE, chose to stay at Clemson rather than declare for the NFL last year and I believe they made the right decision. Bryant isn’t as flashy as Ferrell and isn’t as good of a pass rusher as Ferrell but Bryant is more well-rounded. I think his ceiling is lower then Ferrell’s but I think Bryant could come in and contribute in some way very early. He’s a good football player and I think playing with the likes of Wilkins, Lawrence and Ferrell beside him, he could have a big year.

AllState Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Alabama Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Zach Allen, Boston College (Sr)

Allen is a very well-rounded DE. He’s one of the better run defenders in this DE class and actually I’d say that’s what he does best. He’s not a speed demon DE coming around the edge, he doesn’t have elite quickness, I think his closing speed is good not great; but he’s very stout, powerful hands, excellent motor, strong, good awareness....he really is a good, well-rounded DE. Now, don’t get me wrong, he can rush the passer; but I don’t see a lot of pass rushing moves and I think he’ll make his money stopping the run.

Florida State v Boston College Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Anthony Nelson, Iowa (Jr)

Nelson is a giant DE that is really athletic for his size. He plays with good leverage, has strong hands, and he’s pretty quick. I think he’s solid vs both the run and the pass and I think he uses a good amount of pass rushing techniques. I really like Nelson’s tape and I think if he has a good year we could see him declare early. Really looking forward to scouting him.

Iowa v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Carl Granderson, Wyoming (Sr)

This was really the first time I put on Granderson’s tape and I came in with really no expectations; I tell you what, I really like Granderson and I think he’s got a bright future in the NFL. I think he’s got a switchy jump to him, he’s quick, athletic, good size, able to disengage from blockers and uses a variety of moves when rushing the passer. I think he does need to get stronger but I see a lot of potential in Granderson’s tape.

Wyoming v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Brian Burns, Florida St.

Burns is an athletic freak with a great frame and elite ability. I think he’s a great pass rusher (when he’s rushing under control), good hand use, good play recognition, and even does a decent job standing up bigger linemen. I do think he uses his athletic ability to simply run around blockers too much (which won’t work in the NFL), and needs to add bulk/strength to his game, but he’s a solid pass rusher that can contribute on stopping the run. He needs to become more of a run stopper this season to really become a more well-rounded DE, but I like his potential and could be a special part of this up coming DE class.

NCAA Football: Independence Bowl-Southern Mississippi vs Florida State Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Other notable DEs:

Terrell Lewis, Alabama (Jr)
Marlon Davison, Auburn (Jr)
Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion (Sr)
Portor Gustin, USC (Sr)
Chase Winovich, Michigan (Sr)
Jachai Polite, Florida (Jr)
Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech (Sr)
CeCe Jefferson, Florida (Jr)