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2020 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive End

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Ohio State at Indiana Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well, I am pretty much always excited for the upcoming NFL Draft but now I will be obsessed with it knowing we own half the first round. In all seriousness it is going to be a long year but I am truly excited to see who we get when this is all said and done; we have a tremendous opportunity here. This DE class is really, really good. I am just scratching the surface of it, but so far I have been very impressed. That is great news for us Phins fans because, my goodness, we need DE help....BAD. So, lets start with a guy who have #1 overall type talent in Chase Young.

Chase Young, Ohio St. (Jr)

Young is the crown jewel of the pass rushers in this class. He has number 1 overall type talent. He’s got great burst, excellent hand use, tremendous strength and is just flat out dominate at times. I love the improvement I‘ve seen in his game, he’s shown fantastic awareness and plays with a great motor. He is an easy guy to scout – he’s a high first round pick and a guy who will immediately contribute at the next level.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Cincinnati at Ohio State Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A.J. Epenesa, Iowa (Sr)

As good as Chase Young is Epenesa is not far behind him. I have a high first round grade on him and expect him to be an immediate starter next year in the NFL. He’s got ideal size, great strength and is an elite pass rusher. He’s able to shed blocks with ease, uses his hands well and is a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. He’s also a very good run stuffer. I love the first 2 DEs I’ve covered for this class – both I believe have potential to be very special players in the NFL.

Northern Illinois v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn St. (Jr)

Gross-Matos is a big lengthy DE that is very athletic and disruptive. Right off the bat I noticed how well he uses his long arms to disengage linemen and shed blocks. He’s an elite pass rusher and a game changer. There really isn’t much to dislike with Gross-Matos’ film – I did see him get driven back when he allowed thicker linemen to get a hold of him, but it wasn’t often. He also will get taken out of the play in the running game if he allows bigger guys to get a hold of him. However, Gross-Matos has tremendous athletic ability and has an almost sneaky way of getting by linemen. He’s also got a non-stop motor and is a sure tackler. I have a high first round grade on him.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Pitt at Penn State Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Anfernee Jennings, Alabama (Sr)

Jennings is a slightly shorter DE but is built very thick and is obviously very strong. He’s got a relentless motor and plays with a mean streak at times. He’s a very versatile player, lining up with his hand in the dirt at times, standing up on the edge at times and playing LB also. He shows great play recognition and has impressive instincts – I saw more batted passes from him than any other DE I have scouted so far. He is also a vicious tackler – he rarely misses tackles. He is solid in run support and can rush the passer. My biggest concern with Jennings is that he is not physically gifted as the top 3 DEs on this list. He doesn’t have the change of direction quickness or the natural bend you look for in a DE. Now, he’s athletic, but his pass rushing skills aren’t elite. His overall game though is extremely impressive. Like I said earlier, he can stop the run and rush the passer, he’s very tough, smart, versatile and reliable. I have a first round grade on him.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 CFP Semifinal at the Orange Bowl - Alabama v Oklahoma Photo by Douglas Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Other Notable DE prospects:

K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU (Soph)
Nick Coe, Auburn (Jr)
Khalid Kareem, Notre Dame (Sr)
Bradley Anae Utah (Sr)
Kenny Willekes, Michigan St. (Sr)
Curtis Weaver, Boise St. (Jr)
Chauncey Rivers, Miss. St. (Sr)
Christian Rector, USC (Sr)