2015 NFL Draft: Top 10 Defensive Line Prospects
This year’s NFL Draft will be a prosperous one for teams looking to fortify their receiving corps, offensive line and defensive front. Leonard Williams appears to be the stud teams, scouts and the media are talking about as the “next big thing” when it comes to put quarterbacks on their back and stopping the run.
So, if he is such a find, why can’t he be the first overall pick?
As written on sportsgrid.com, Jameis Winston has problems off the field. Many expect Marcus Mariota to have trouble on the field. But there’s a player that has Winston-esque production and Mariota-esque character. It’s just that he doesn’t play quarterback.
Leonard Williams is the most talented prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft. So, why isn’t he getting any No. 1 overall hype?
The Texans took Jadeveon Clowney last year, and proved you don’t need to draft a quarterback in the first round to have a turnaround season. If a team uses a veteran quarterback to keep them afloat, they don’t have to endure the carnage that ensues when starting a rookie quarterback not named Andrew Luck.
The Texans finished above .500, while all teams that picked a quarterback in the first round went under .500, including the Jaguars (3-13), the Raiders (3-13), the Browns (7-9) and the Vikings (7-9). Correlation doesn’t necessarily indicate causation, and every team had different issues. But because Winston and Mariota – and all of the quarterbacks in the 2015 draft class – are particularly imperfect, why not pick the guy with the greatest hair in the draft, who just so happens to be the man with the most talent?
Here is a look at the top 10 defensive line prospects this year, according to yours truly.
1. LEONARD WILLIAMS
He could be the best player in the Draft, but should fall to the third overall pick. Williams has long arms and is quick off the snap. The thing that makes him a solid pick is his ability to play inside and out. The Jacksonville Jaguars could use him as a building block on the defensive line, especially with the injury to Sen’Derrick Marks.
2. RANDY GREGORY
He will be a top-5 selection, but who drafts him is anyone’s guess. Gregory has length and can play standing up or with his hand on the ground. Gregory has the skills to be another Aldon Smith or DeMarcus Ware. The only thing I question is his potential, which is more evident than his actual ability.
3. SHANE RAY
Ray is going to play outside either at end or as a stand-up linebacker. I see him as a rush end in Atlanta’s scheme as a possible Otto linebacker. He has extraordinary athlete who reportedly has been clocked at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has a 40-plus-inch vertical, 10-foot broad jump and bench presses over 400 pounds.
The Falcons, Bears or Giants would do well to snatch him up if he is available.
4. DANTE FOWLER, JR.
He would probably do better as an outside linebacker. There is no doubt the talent is there. Fowler must show he can be more effective against the run.
Fowler has light feet and is fluid off the ball. He is best suited for a 3-4 defensive scheme.
5. DANNY SHELTON
He had a monster Senior Bowl game and week. Has steadily moved up draft boards and could be a top-5 pick. Shelton is built like an ice box and can handle double-teams off the block. The Raiders could use his strength and power. So could the Redskins. I like him as a run stuffer more than a disruptive pass rusher.
6. ALVIN DUPREE
When we look back at this Draft in five years, I think Dupree will stand out as the best player. Right now, he must get his technique down and work on his rush skills. As Rob Rang of CBSsports.com said, he isn't afraid to leave to his feet and dive to make the tackle, showing good hand-eye coordination to trip up ball-carriers
7. JORDAN PHILLIPS
He might be just learning how good he could be. He could be a beast like John Henderson was in Jacksonville. Phillips is a raw talent who will be chosen by a playoff contender and be given time to develop.
He is big all over and can stand offensive linemen up at the line of scrimmage. His quick hands make him a nightmare for quarterbacks, who have to throw over his wingspan.
8. EDDIE GOLDMAN
Goldman carries his 320 pounds well, sporting broad shoulders.. He's quick off the snap, shooting his hands into the chest of opponents and showing good upper-body strength to extend and control. Goldman plays with his knees bent and does a nice job of anchoring at the line of scrimmage, rarely getting pushed back. Good balance to keep his feet while stringing plays out wide. Long and strong enough to set the edge as a defensive end. Goldman is an All-Pro waiting to happen. He could be a nice fit in Detroit should the Lions lose both Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh.
9. MALCOLM BROWN
I like Brown’s size and his agility. He should be a second round pick with plenty of. He is big and tall and possesses good strength from his lower base. He gets his hands up in passing lanes, showing good body control and timing on his leaps to bat passes down at the line of scrimmage (six over his career). Still developing talent whose best football appears to be ahead of him. He has Baltimore Ravens written all over him.
10. VIC BEASLEY
He needs more weight and strength. He is a stand-up outside linebacker or situational pass rusher. Beasley’s size presents an issue for scouts, but he is an excellent pass rusher. His speed and ability to spin off a block makes him more than a ‘tweener. Has the flexibility to be able to duck their reach and turn the corner, showing excellent speed to close. Beasley complements his speed rush with a balanced and tight spin back to the inside and a surprisingly effective bull rush. Miami could draft him as he could be a smaller version of Jason Taylor.