ESPN’s Todd McShay recently talked about defensive ends in the draft, as reported by John Glennon.
“This class is loaded with defensive ends in the back half of the first round and all the way through the third round. You’ve got some guys that can get after the quarterback.”
McShay mentioned three of them – Andre Branch, Whitney Mercilus and Nick Perry – as possibilities for the Titans when they select with the 20th pick in the draft. There are a few others who are regarded as even better, and one of them may possibly fall to #20.
The problem I have with these guys is that all but one of the top ones are tweeners – they could be 4-3 DEs, or could be 3-4 OLBs. Some tweeners pan out pretty well as DEs, such as Jevon Kearse. Some become pretty good OLBs. Most turn out to be not that great at either position.
I don’t see any Jevon Kearses in this draft and if anyone else does, they’re not saying so.
Quinton Coples is the most talented pure 4-3 DE in this year’s draft class. Despite concerns about his effort, he’s still widely projected to be a top ten pick and should be long gone by the time the Titans make their first-round selection.
Melvin Ingram, Courtney Upshaw, Branch, Mercilus and Perry are considered to be the next best pass rushers and all carry the tweener label. Mike Mayock has Ingram, Mercilus and Branch listed as three of the top four OLBs on his board. He previously had Upshaw listed as an OLB, and has now switched him to his DE list, where he’s ranked second.
Despite the Titans’ glaring need for a pass rusher to complement Kamerion Wimbley, I’d rather the Titans didn’t gamble on a tweener in the first round and wait until the second or third round for a DE.
Chandler Jones probably won’t be there when the Titans draft again at #52 but there’s some chance Vinny Curry could still be available. Jared Crick and Billy Wynn would also be possibilities.
If the Titans decide they have to get a DE at #20, I’m leaning towards hoping it will be Upshaw, followed by Perry. I like Curry if the Titans go DE in round two (and if he’s still there.)
I’m not excited about Jones, Crick, Tyrone Crawford or Cam Johnson in rounds 2-3.
I sure hope McShay is right about there being some good DE pass rushers available through the third round because, other than Coples and Curry, I don’t see any non-tweeners who really impress me. I am somewhat intrigued by Wynn, who’s not a DE/OLB tweener, and would like to look more at him.
What do you think? Are there any pass rushing DEs that you like in the draft?
We’ve got a new poll up in the right sidebar, asking what position you’d like to see the Titans address in the first round. Thanks in advance for voting in our poll and for sharing your thoughts in the comments section.