One of the most important positions on defense is the defensive end, here is my ranking for the 2018 NFL Draft. This class is led by stud Bradley Chubb but has some other interesting prospects.
1) Bradley Chubb, NC State
Chubb had a ton of accolades this past season after being named All-American, winning also the Nagurski (best defender in the nation) award and the Hendricks (best defensive end in the nation) award. B.C. finished the year with 72 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 2 passes defended and 1 forced fumble. Chubb has a good combination of size and athleticism. Chubb possesses blue chip physical traits, years of production and the ability to play in a variety of positions in both odd and even fronts. His motor and athletic ability cause him to jump off the tape, snap after snap. Additionally, his play, attributes, and production should make him an early candidate for DROY.
2) Arden Key, LSU
On paper Arden Key is a top 5 lock, he is a physical specimen with outstanding strength and speed. On the field this year he didn’t produce according to his talent, with 33 total tackles 5.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and a fumble, his production is nothing but average. His numbers were down in every category after playing more OLB this year, which makes you think that he is better suited a defensive end. He missed two games and had to work himself back into playing shape after shoulder surgery limited his offseason training. Later in the season, Key started to return to be a dynamic speed rusher off the edge again. A late-season knee injury also knocked him out of a few games. He is not only a pass rushing specialist but also has the range to play against the run effectively at times. There are some off the field concerns about Key among scouts. The combine will be key not only prove he is back to his healthy dominant self but also to prove that these concerns are off base and that there is nothing to be worried about.
3) Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
Hubbard has the size, weight and build teams look for in a defensive end. He finished the year with 42 total tackles, 13.5 for loss, 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Although his numbers don’t jump the page and he didn’t make many highlight reel plays, Hubbard was a consistent force to be reckoned with the talent to make it all work. He is a bendy edge rusher with play with good pad level. He has a great football IQ and plays with good awareness. His motor gets him to plays he shouldn’t be able to make.
4) Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Davenport finished the year with 55 total tackles, 17.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, 4 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown. Davenport is an aggressive defender with good lateral quickness. At the Senior Bowl, Davenport put his skill set on display impressing scouts with speed off the edge, plus functional strength and length. At 6’6 255 pounds, Davenport has a frame that can still get bigger. Davenport is still very raw and needs to learn other moves besides the speed move and bull rush. Albeit inconsistent, Davenport has shown flashes of brilliance, he still needs coaching, but he has a high ceiling.
5) Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest
After a monster 2016, Ejiofor dipped a little bit in sacks and in his effect on the passing game (1 INT and 4 passes defended in 2016), in 2017 he had 43 total tackles, 17.5 for loss, 7.0 sacks, 1 pass defended and 2 forced fumbles. Ejiofor is a very smart football player, who seemingly knows where the football is going and he is rarely out of position. He has an array of moves to use against linemen. He is a below average athlete with not enough explosiveness to make scouts gasp, consistency has also been an issue for him.
6) Rasheem Green, USC
7) Chad Thomas, Miami
8) Josh Sweat, FSU
9) Andrew Brown, Virginia
10) Breeland Speaks, Ole Miss
Honorable Mention: Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State
For more rankings check: https://www.couchriderreport.net/2018-nfl-draft-quarterback-rankings-scouting-reports-top-prospects/