With the draft being just around the corner, I decided instead of a full defensive end preview, I will incorporate a mock draft for defensive ends. The way this works is that for each draft pick I give a scenario where Atlanta would take a defensive end. Below is who I believe Atlanta will draft next week if they opt to take a defensive end in the first few rounds. There is a trade up scenario that I added in light of the Peter King news. Now lets keep in mind that obviously some of these guys are going to by long gone by rounds two or three... or will they? Every year, we are stunned to see such great players fall in the draft.
First Round Mock for Defensive Ends
Option A- Cornellius “Tank” Carradine – Atlanta could fill their need immediately with Tank. He has shown the ability to rush the passer from the right or left, displays an explosive first step and is quite capable of stuffing the run. Tank served most of his time at FSU as a backup, but exploded onto the national stage last season with 11 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. At 6’4 276, Tank has the range and size to be an impactful piece on the Atlanta defense for years to come.
Option B- (trade up) Atlanta could trade up 10-15 spots to snag a player like Barkevious Mingo (LSU). Fast. Fast. Fast. Mingo is the most explosive end on the draft board this year, if he falls due to a quarterback run; expect teams to make a move. He is a pass rusher who has all the skills to be a Pierre-Paul type guy on third down. Some believe Mingo to be a 3-4 guy, but his motor and ability to fly around makes me think he is better suited with his hand in the ground. A three year starter at one of the best programs in the country should give you an idea of the ability he has.
Option A- Alex Okafor (Texas)- 6’4 265, Okafor is a talented pass rusher. He is too inconsistent versus the run but has outstanding hand to hand combat moves. He projects as a 4-3 left end. Okafor would be a late first round or early second type guy if it wasn’t for a lack of motor. His downside is some examples where Okafor simply disappears for stretches of time.
Option B- DaMontre Moore (ATM) 6-5 250, Big guy. A lot of off the field issues, but was considered to be one of the top defensive players in the country last year. Great lateral ability and closing burst. He is a pure speed rusher, he needs to be developed more into a run stopper. Setting the edge seems to be a serious issue, which is why he is not a first round guy. He has played in the 3-4 and 4-3 and shows an ability to be utilized in multiple fashions. He could be a fit for Nolan’s scheme because of versatility.
Option A- Cornelius Washington (Georgia) 6-4 265, Not many people outside of Athens knew who Washington was but that changed when he lit up the combine at his size. He is a physical specimen, great size and top end speed. Has known injury issues, but if put in the right scheme…lethal. Washington spent time as a defensive end in the 3-4 so he can set the edge without much effort. His best fit is a 4-3 end, but played multiple spots throughout his career. The odd thing is that he looks odd on tape; I have heard people call him stiff, but he is so athletic, I tend to think he can work that out.
Option B- Devin Taylor (USC) 6-7 266, has been a three year starter at South Carolina. At 6-7 he is a huge prospect that under a NFL nutrition plan can grow into a dangerous pass rusher. He had good production at USC considering he is playing next to the best defensive player in the country. He has decent burst and pass rush ability. He will be a 4-3 left end in the NFL, and needs to get stronger in order to match his frame. He has a great motor, which really made an impact at the East West Shrine game. I don’t see him as starter immediately, but could upgrade the depth.
Previous Draft Outlooks:
CB: Desmond Trufant and Jamar Taylor
TE Tyler Eifert