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NFL Draft: The Commish’s Top 5 Per Position (Defense)

By: Justin Pawlowski
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(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

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Defensive Tackles:

1. Sharrif Floyd – Florida

2. Sheldon Richardson – Missouri

3. Sylvester Williams – North Carolina

4. Kawann Short – Purdue

5. Johnathan Hankins – Ohio St.

Commish’s Comments: Sharrif Floyd has established himself as one of the top overall players in this draft.  Richardson is interesting as he has very nice size and surprising athleticism. Kawann Short has as much talent as anyone, but he was terribly inconsistent.  Hankins is a big body who can take up multiple blockers.

3-4 Defensive Ends:

1. Star Lotulelei – Utah

2. Margus Hunt – SMU

3. Datone Jones – UCLA

4. Brandon Williams – Missouri Southern St.

5. Montori Hughes – Tennessee-Martin

Commish’s Comments: Lotulelei is a fit in a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense, but I put him in this group because of his ability to take on multiple blockers. Margus Hunt is a very raw player with tremendous size and athleticism.  Williams and Hughes are small school prospects who could be nice fits in a 3-4 defense.

4-3 Defensive Ends:

1. Ezekiel Ansah – BYU

2. Tank Carradine – FSU

3. Bjoern Werner – FSU

4. Alex Okafor – Texas

5. Sam Montgomery – LSU

Commish’s Comments: Ansah has all the attributes you want in a premier pass rusher, but he is raw with less than one year of starting experience. Tank Carradine is coming off a torn ACL, but when healthy, is one of the best pass rushers in this draft.  Werner, Okafor, and Montgomery are solid defensive ends, but not as dominant as pass rushers as Ansah or Carradine.

3-4 Outside Linebackers:

1. Dion Jordan – Oregon

2. Jarvis Jones – Georgia

3. Barkevious Mingo – LSU

4. Jamie Collins – Southern Miss

5. Damontre Moore – Texas A&M

Commish’s Comments: While Jordan has shown to be as dominant a pass rusher as others, he has all of the measurables a team would want and is actually very good in coverage and space. Jarvis Jones is probably the best player on film, but he has injury concerns and does not have very good measurables. Mingo and Collins can be very good speed rushers off the edge.  Moore has very good film, but has struggled this off-season.

4-3 Outside Linebackers:

1. Arthur Brown – Kansas St.

2. Khaseem Greene – Rutgers

3. Sio Moore – UCONN

4. Zaviar Gooden – Missouri

5. Trevardo Williams – UCONN

Commish’s Comments: Linebackers have lost a lot of value over the years.  Brown is probably the only one in this group that has a chance to crack the 1st round.  Moore and Williams have great measurables, but how good can they transition from UCONN to the NFL.

Inside Linebackers:

1. Alec Ogletree – Georgia

2. Manti Te’o – Notre Dame

3. Kevin Minter – LSU

4. Jon Bostic – Florida

5. Kevin Riddick – North Carolina

Commish’s Comments: Ogletree is the most talented of the group and the lone middle linebacker that I view as a 1st round pick.  Te’o is obviously a very good linebacker who had a bad game against Alabama in the National Championship Game.  Minter is a stout run stuffer.  Bostic and Riddick should be mid round picks.

Cornerbacks:

1. Dee Milliner – Alabama

2. Xavier Rhodes – FSU

3. Desmond Trufant – Washington

4. DJ Hayden – Houston

5. Johnthan Banks – Mississippi St.

Commish’s Comments: The top 3 remain the same and should not be surprising.  One of the best stories in this draft is the story of DJ Hayden. After having surgery to repair a tear to the vein connected to his heart in November, Hayden returned for his pro day and ran a 4.33 40-yard dash. From what I’ve seen on film, Hayden might be as good as any cornerback in this draft.  I’m also starting to come around on Banks lack of elite speed because of the size he brings.

Safeties:

1. Kenny Vaccaro – Texas

2. Johnathan Cyprien – FIU

3. Matt Elam – Florida

4. Shamarko Thomas – Syracuse

5. Eric Reid – LSU

Commish’s Comments: Vaccaro is the top safety in this class with the ability to play back in coverage and still deliver a big hit. Cyprien is really rising the ranks with his ability to play the pass as a deep centerfielder.  Elam doesn’t have great size, but can deliver a big hit.  Reid is decent in coverage and run support, but does not “wow” you.

For updates on the Buccaneers off-season moves in free agency and the NFL Draft, be sure to follow Justin Pawlowski and 98.7 The Fan on twitter.

Catch The Commish weekdays from 9-12 on 98.7 The Fan

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