2012 NFL Defensive End Prospects

Posted by Brad On July – 14 – 2011
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"2012 NFL defensive end prospects featuring Quinton Coples"The 2012 NFL defensive end prospects are probably just an average class right now.  But I see some breakout potential throughout this class and come next April we may be changing our tune on overall grade for this class.

The class is headed by Quinton Coples.  Coples is a top five pick and I have him as the second best prospect in the 2012 draft.  There are some underclassmen who will make or break the overall grade for this class.  If Donte Paige-Moss, Brandon Jenkins, Devin Taylor, and Alex Okafor declare for the 2012 NFL Draft this class will be considered deep and strong.

Here’s a look at the 2012 NFL defensive end prospects:

1.  Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Height: 6’6  Weight: 280

If Coples can prove he can stand up against the run he could emerge as a Mario Williams-type talent.  His combination of height, weight, and speed make for a dominate factor on the end in any scheme.  He would definitely be a better fit in a base 4-3 but could fit in the 3-4.  His sophomore season he finished with five sacks and 6.5 TFL’s.  As a junior, in Robert Quinn’s absence, Coples registered 15.5 TFL and 10 sacks.  In 2011, expect Coples to see a ton of double teams and if numbers don’t dip he will solidify his spot amongst the top 5 in the 2012 NFL Draft.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  Top 5

2.  Donte Paige-Moss, DE, North Carolina

Height: 6’4  Weight: 258

Moss is still a raw prospect but has a ton of upside.  As a sophomore he finished with 49 tackles, 7 sacks, and 10 TFL.  He has exceptional lower body strength and holds up well against the run for his size.  He has a ton of room to grow.  He could easily get to 270-275 without losing any speed off the edge.  If he declares for the 2012 NFL Draft expect his name to be called early based on the amount of upside.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  Top 15

3.  Brandon Jenkins, DE, FSU

Height: 6’3  Weight: 254

Finished his sophomore season with 55 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and 16 TFL.  Not bad for a sophomore.  He is an elite pass rusher with the potential to transition to rush linebacker in the NFL.  He is undersized and doesn’t hold the edge well against the run.  Uses his speed, hip bend, and long arms to destroy elite tackles off the edge.  Could be a day one starter and impact guy in the NFL.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  Top 15

4.  Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina

Height: 6’7  Weight: 250

Taylor finished 2012 with 13 TFL and 7.5 sacks.  He also displayed his ability to drop into coverage with 8 passes broken up.  If he continues to progress in 2011 he could wind up challenging the two juniors ahead of him for top junior on the 2012 NFL defensive end prospects list.  He uses his long frame well and could add the weight necessary to stand up to NFL OT’s against the run.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  Top 25

5.  Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

Height: 6’4  Weight: 258

As a junior Branch finished with 6 sacks, 8.5 TFL and 6 passes broken up.  He doesn’t possess the elite burst of a Brandon Jenkins but is an overall solid player.  He will need to add more pass rush counters to be an effective pass rusher in the NFL but has a solid all around game.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2

6.  Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

Height: 6’4  Weight: 258

Okafor is a long shot to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft because he is so raw at this point.  He would do well by himself to stay another year at UT and develop his technique against the run and skills as a pass rusher.  If he has a strong 2011 season and decides to declare he brings outstanding athleticism to the position.  For now I’m putting him in my 2012 NFL defensive end prospects list but this one could be fluid throughout the college football season.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2

7.  Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall

Height: 6’5  Weight: 252

Curry put on a pass rush display in 2010.  He finished with 12 sacks and 18 TFL.  Curry will have to add weight and strength to hold up in the NFL as a 4-3 DE or he will be asked to make the transition to rush linebacker.  Curry will challenge as the fastest DE prospect in this group and if you turn on Marshall tape you can see that speed off the edge.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2

8.  Vince Browne, DE, Northwestern

Height: 6’5  Weight: 265

Browne doesn’t do anything great but he does everything pretty well.  He finished 2010 with 58 tackles, 7 sacks, and 15.5 TFL.  He lacks the athleticism of the other 2012 NFL defensive end prospects but is solid in all areas of the game.  He is a borderline second round prospect at this point but with another solid season he could emerge as a solid second round pick.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2-3

9.  Malik Jackson, DE, Tennessee

Height: 6’5  Weight: 275

Jackson is a top breakout candidate for the 2011 season.  He is a big, strong end who played inside at DT and outside at DE for Tennessee in 2010.  He finished the season with 5 sacks, 6 TFL, 4 passes broken up, 1 INT, and 5 QB hurries.  He came to Tennessee as a USC transfer with Lane Kiffin (we won’t fault him for that decision).  He is a prime candidate for the five technique in a base 3-4.  If not he could be used as a LE in the 4-3 and kick inside on passing downs.  His versatility will intrigue a lot of teams come next April.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  2-3

10.  Billy Winn, DE, Boise State

Height: 6’4  Weight: 280

Winn is only be considered by 3-4 teams as a five technique, hence why is listed in our rankings as a DE and not DT.  Winn will not blow away anyone with his size or speed but has a motor that won’t quit.  He could be an ideal fit for New England in the 3rd round.

2012 NFL Draft Projection:  3

Best of the rest:

Julian Miller, DE, West Virginia

Jacquies Smith, DE, Missouri

Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas

Broderick Binns, DE, Iowa

James Brooks, DE, Arizona State

Nathan Williams, DE, Ohio State

Jack Crawford, DE, Penn State

Adewale Ojomo, DE, Miami

Cam Johnson, DE, Virigina

Ryan Van Bergen, DE, Michigan

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