The 2017 NFL Draft officially starts tomorrow. Held outside for the first time in NFL Draft history, many players will be in the City of Brotherly Love, waiting to hear their names called. This draft class is full of great talent on both sides of the ball.
Defensive End is a highly sought after position this year. Some of the league’s most dominant defensive ends have aged, and salary cap issues for some teams may have stopped them from free agent signings.
Top 5 Defensive Ends of the 2017 NFL Draft:
- Myles Garrett – The man amongst boys. To clarify, Myles Garrett has been the #1 defensive end in the country since he played football at Martin High School in Arlington, TX (https://n.rivals.com/content/prospects/17332). In three years at Texas A&M he has totaled 144 tackles. 11.5 sacks coming in his first two seasons, and 8.5 in his last. Speed, power, and PURE dominance. Myles is more than likely the #1 draft pick off the boards. If for some reason the Browns pick a QB, he will be the first DE selected. Possible Teams: Browns, Bengals, Jaguars, Saints
- Soloman Thomas – The 6’3,” 273 pound disruptive force of Solomon Thomas hit the Pac-12 hard, and fast. In two years Solomon tallied up 101 tackles, 62 of that came last season. He has a total of 25.5 tackles for negative yards and 11.5 sacks. Last year he won the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Many believe he is a Top 10 pick and will be the second defensive end picked. (http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/solomon-thomas?id=2558018) Possible Teams: 49ers, Titans, Eagles, Redskins, Dolphins
- Derek Barnett – Straight Outta Brentwood, Tennessee to the Draft. Well, Derek Barnett had a pit-stop at the University of Tennessee. Quickly he Volunteered his talents against elite SEC competition for three years. Finishing with198 tackles, 32 of them being from sacks. Standing 6’3”, weighing 259 pounds at the NFL Combine, Derek is ready to get in the trenches and get his hands dirty. (http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/derek-barnett?id=2557984). Possible Teams: Eagles, Saints, Colts, Dolphins, Jaguars
- Taco Charlton – The prototype stature for a 4-3 defensive end, standing at 6’6” and weighing 277 pounds. While only starting a total of 15 games at the University of Michigan, Taco accumulated 92 tackles. 28 were stopped behind the line. Earning All-Big Ten First Team his last season, Taco had 43 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, and 9.5 sacks (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/history/2060720). Possible Teams: Dolphins, Bears, Jaguars, Bengals, Saints
- Takkarist McKinley – Reigning from Richmond, California the UCLA pass rusher is ready to light up the league from the start. Last season Takkarist had 61 tackles, 18 for a loss, 10 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 6 pass deflections (http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/takkarist-mckinley?id=2557872). In the last two seasons he had 96 tackles, 25.5 for a loss, 13.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. With him being 6’2” and only 250 pounds, expect him to be a great pass rusher at DE or OLB. Possible Teams: Colts, Redskins, Saints, Packers, Lions
In addition to my Top 5 be on the lookout for Jordan Willis, Tanoh Kpassagnon, and Derek Rivers.
As the passing league grows it calls for more dominant pass rushers. The 2017 NFL Draft is full of young men ready to answer that call. Will this 2017 DE class have a Rookie Defensive Player of the Year? Defensive Player of the Year? A new sack record holder? Maybe one or more make it to the Hall of Fame? Finally we’re about to find out!