NFL Draft: Ohio State’s Young top defensive player in draft

NFL

Top defensive players available in the NFL draft (x-entered draft with college eligibility remaining).

EDGE RUSHERS

Position outlook: There is Chase Young and everybody else. The everybody elses should start coming off the board in the middle of the first round.

x-Chase Young, 6-foot-5, 264, Ohio State

Strengths: Prototype build and athleticism of an All-Pro pass rusher.

Weaknesses: Could use more variety in his pass rush moves, but no reason why that won’t come.

Fact: Led the nation in sacks with 16 1-2 and forced fumbles with six last season, finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Gone by: No. 2 to the Redskins barring a team trading up to grab a quarterback.

x-K’Lavon Chaisson, 6-3, 254, LSU

Strengths: Explosive and agile with speed to run down plays.

Weaknesses: Injuries cost him most of 2018 and some of 2019 and left him with an unrefined game.

Fact: Led the national champions in tackles for loss (13 1-2) last season.

Gone by: Late first round.

x-Yetur Gross-Matos, 6-5, 265, Penn State

Strengths: Chase Young-lite. Many of the same characteristics but not as advanced.

Weaknesses: Could use some more power to go with his athleticism.

Fact: Had 15 tackles for loss and 9 1-2 sacks last season to lead the Nittany Lions.

Gone by: If he slips into Day 2, it won’t be for long.

x-A.J. Epenesa, 6-5, 275, Iowa

Strengths: Strong and sturdy with good pass-rush skills.

Weaknesses: Doesn’t have the quickness that projects to an elite pass rusher.

Fact: Defensive player of the game in the Holiday Bowl against USC, collecting 2 1-2 sacks.

Gone by: Early second.

Julian Okwara, 6-4, 252, Notre Dame

Strengths: Long and closes strong.

Weaknesses: So-so against the run.

Fact: Broken left leg ended last season in Game 9.

Gone by: Could sneak into the first round or be available at the end of Day 2.

Others: Terrell Lewis, Alabama; Alton Robinson, Syracuse; Jabari Zuniga, Florida; Bradlee Anae, Utah.

INTERIOR LINEMEN

Position outlook: A top-10 lock and some high-ceiling prospects with flaws.

Derrick Brown, 6-5, 326, Auburn

Strengths: Elite size and strength that demands double teams – which he can beat.

Weaknesses: Agility could limit him as a pass rusher.

Fact: Finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player) and Outland Trophy (best lineman).

Gone by: Only a run on quarterbacks keeps him out of the top seven or eight.

Javon Kinlaw, 6-5, 324, South Carolina

Strengths: Long, athletic and powerful as a pass rusher.

Weaknesses: More tools than consistent technique.

Fact: First-team All-American

Gone by: Middle of the first round.

x-Ross Blacklock, 6-3, 290, TCU

Strengths: Disruptive and fast, with 4.9 speed.

Weaknesses: Can get held up against the run.

Fact: Father, Jimmy, played basketball at Texas and toured with the Globetrotters.

Gone by: Late first round.

Marlon Davidson, 6-3, 303, Auburn

Strengths: Lots of power. Played end and could slide inside.

Weaknesses: Not a lot of quickness.

Fact: Four-year starter who was often overshadowed by teammate Derrick Brown.

Gone by: Another defensive lineman who could slip into the second round.

x-Justin Madubuike, 6-3, 293, Texas A&M

Strengths: Versatile run stuffer.

Weaknesses: Less-than-ideal size for his game.

Fact: Aggies’ defensive player of the year as a sophomore in 2018.

Gone by: End of Day 2.

x-Jordan Elliott, 6-4, 302, Missouri

Strengths: Strong hands help him control gaps.

Weaknesses: Lack of explosion off the ball limits pass rush.

Fact: Texan transferred from Texas to Missouri and became a second-team All-American.

Gone by: End of Day 2.

Neville Gallimore, 6-2, 304, Oklahoma

Strengths: Big-time athlete who plays hard.

Weaknesses: Plays high, which leads to getting knocked back.

Fact: Ran a blazing 4.79 at the combine.

Gone by: End of Day 2.

Others: Raekwon Davis, Alabama; James Lynch, Baylor; Leki Fotu, Utah; Rashard Lawrence, LSU.

LINEBACKERS

Position outlook: Could be multiple first-rounders from a group with some versatile athleticism.

x-Isaiah Simmons, 6-4, 238, Clemson

Strengths: Maybe the best athlete in the draft. The perfect modern defender, capable of playing three or four positions.

Weaknesses: Ummmmm?

Fact: ACC defensive player of the year and a finalist for three national defensive player of the year awards (Bednarik, Nargurski, Lott IMPACT)

Gone by: Top six or so.

x-Patrick Queen, 6-0, 229, LSU

Strengths: Speed and athleticism make him valuable in coverage or blitzing.

Weaknesses: Size makes him more of a chaser against the run.

Fact: Defensive player of the game in the national championship against Clemson.

Gone by: End of the first.

x-Kenneth Murray, 6-2, 241, Oklahoma

Strengths: Sideline-to-sideline playmaker.

Weaknesses: Can fly out of position and into bad angles.

Fact: Had 17 tackles for loss and four sacks and four pass breakups in 14 starts.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

Zack Baun, 6-2, 238, Wisconsin

Strengths: Physical traits could make him a versatile player.

Weaknesses: Could end up being an undersized edge rusher.

Fact: As a dual-threat quarterback in high school, was the state of Wisconsin’s offensive player of the year as a senior.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

Others: Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech; Josh Uche, Michigan; Troy Dye, Oregon; Logan Wilson, Wyoming; Malik Harrison, Ohio State.

CORNERBACKS

Position outlook: NFL teams tend to draft cornerbacks in bulk. This class has one clear star (Jeff Okudah) and another six or seven players who could go anywhere from 15-50.

x-Jeff Okudah, 6-1, 205, Ohio State

Strengths: Tall, smooth and physical. Plays well in multiple coverages.

Weaknesses: Getting off blocks in run support.

Fact: Will become the 11th Ohio State cornerback taken in the first round since 1999.

Gone by: One of Isaiah Simmons, Derrick Brown or Okudah could slip into the 8-10 range depending on quarterbacks and other team needs. Any would be a steal that low.

x-CJ Henderson, 6-1, 204, Florida

Strengths: Burst to make up ground.

Weaknesses: Locating and playing the ball can be spotty.

Fact: Ankle injury limited him to nine games last season, but still had 11 passes broken up.

Gone by: Top 20.

x-Jaylon Johnson, 6-0, 193, Utah

Strengths: Strong and tough in press coverage.

Weaknesses: Lack of patience leads to breakdown in technique.

Fact: Played through a shoulder injury in 2019 and was supposed to have surgery after the combine.

Gone by: Top 40.

Trevon Diggs, 6-1, 205, Alabama

Strengths: Ideal size, and ball skills like a receiver.

Weaknesses: Recovery speed and tackling have been issues.

Fact: Older brother Stefon Diggs is a star receiver with the Buffalo Bills.

Gone by: Middle of the second.

x-A.J. Terrell, 6-1, 195, Clemson

Strengths: Tall and steady with excellent speed.

Weaknesses: Lean lower body. Could be more aggressive.

Fact: Had a pick-6 in the 2018 College Football Playoff championship against Alabama and then got picked on by LSU in last year’s title game.

Gone by: Top 50.

Jeff Gladney, 5-10, 191, TCU

Strengths: Quick and fierce.

Weaknesses: Size could limit him to slot.

Fact: Led the Big 12 with 14 passes broken up in 12 games.

Gone by: Top 50.

Kristian Fulton, 6-0, 197, LSU

Strengths: Strong with good feet that let him thrive in press coverage.

Weaknesses: Top-end speed.

Fact: Received a two-year NCAA suspension for trying to get around a PED test at LSU for fear of testing positive for marijuana. Penalty was reduced to one year.

Gone by: Top 50.

Others: Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn; Bryce Hall, Virginia; Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State; Damon Arnette, Ohio State; Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech.

SAFETIES

Position outlook: No guaranteed first rounders, but pretty good depth.

x-Xavier McKinney, 6-0, 201, Alabama

Strengths: Tough, instinctive and versatile.

Weaknesses: Struggled against big receivers.

Fact: Defensive player of the game in the 2018 Orange Bowl playoff victory against Oklahoma.

Gone by: End of the first round.

x-Grant Delpit, 6-2, 213, LSU

Strengths: Aggressive hitter, with speed to be effective in coverage.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent tackler who was better in 2018 than 2019.

Fact: Won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back last season, despite an ankle injury that limited his production.

Gone by: Top 40.

x-Antoine Winfield Jr., 5-9, 203, Minnesota

Strengths: Reads quarterbacks well and hits hard.

Weaknesses: Short and probably best used as center field-type safety.

Fact: Father Antoine was a star NFL cornerback for the Vikings.

Gone by: End of the second round.

Others: Ashtyn Davis, California; Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne; Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois; Brandon Jones, Texas; Antoine Brooks, Maryland.

SPECIALISTS

– P Braden Mann, Texas A&M.

– P Michael Turk, Arizona State.

– K Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern.

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