By Michael Stewart
Introduction: There will be plenty of Defensive Ends available in this year’s draft as many project depth at both positions. Depending on what GM Dave Gettleman does in free agency, his objective (which he stated in his first press conference as the Giants new GM) was to rebuild the defensive and offensive lines.. Below are my Defensive Ends prospects, courtesy of Walterfootball.com:
DE-Bradley Chubb-6;4/275 (North Carolina State): Chubb dominated the competition during the fall. He was superb to lead N.C. State to a road upset over Florida State, while also coming up big to help the Wolfpack knock off Louisville. Using speed to run around tackles and power to shed blocks, Chubb destroyed one-on-ones, yet also beat double teams. He has very active hands that he can use at the same time while flying up field. There also isn’t any quit in Chubb as he has a good motor and plays the game with passion. Chubb looks like a potential difference-maker as a base end in the NFL.
DE-Arden Key-6’5/260 (LSU): Key had a slow start to the 2017 season. He missed two games and had to work himself back into playing shape after shoulder surgery limited his offseason training. Midway through the year, Key started to return to being a dynamic speed rusher off the edge. A late-season knee injury also knocked him out of a few games. In 2017, Key totaled 33 tackles with four sacks and a forced fumble. He put together impressive games against Mississippi State, Auburn and Florida. Key made a sack to clinch the comeback win over Auburn. He was phenomenal against Alabama, and the Crimson Tide couldn’t block him.
DE-Marcus Davenport-6’7/260 (UTSA): Davenport is another prospect from a non-Power Five FBS school who has earned a Senior Bowl invitation. He has the length and athleticism to play on the edge in the NFL. The senior racked up 55 tackles with 17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, four passes batted and three forced fumbles in 2017. Davenport recorded 6.5 sacks as a junior after racking up four as a sophomore. Davenport could easily go in the 1st round, possibly near the back end, but with deep at other positions I think he could slip into the early 2nd round. DE: Sam Hubbard-6’5/266 (Ohio State): Hubbard collected 43 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss and seven sacks. He had good moments, but still didn’t always play up to his great skill set and wasn’t consistent enough; which is why I believe he slips into the 2nd round. If Hubbard can learn to keep the motor running for a full 60 minutes on game day; he’ll be a great 2nd round selection.
DE: Jalyn Holmes-6’4/279 (Ohio State): It isn’t easy to get snaps and playing time on the Ohio State defensive line because it is so loaded with future NFL talent. Holmes fell into that issue in 2017 as defensive ends Nick Bosa, Sam Hubbard, and Tyquan Lewis played more than he did. However, Holmes did well enough on a rotational basis to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he had a solid week of practice. Holmes had 29 tackles with two sacks, one forced fumble, and three passes batted in 2017. He also had two sacks in 2016. Holmes has good size and speed. His best football is ahead of him, and he could end up being a much better pro than college player. DE: Harold Landry-6’3/250 (Boston College): Landry had a good season as an edge rusher for Boston College, but compared to last season; underperformed. Many scouts view him as a tweener in the NFL in that he could be more suited as an OLB. There’s also reference that Landry’s 6’3/250 measurements are slightly misleading and that he is closer to 6’2/240. This is why I believe with other positions that are loaded in this year’s draft; Landry could slip into the 3rd round.
DE: Rasheem Green-6’4/275 (USC): Green played well for the Trojans in 2017. The junior recorded 43 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, one forced fumble and four passes broken up on the year. As a sophomore, he totaled 55 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four passes batted and two forced fumbles. Green has good instincts and play recognition. He can use those skills to bat a lot of passes to prevent completions downfield. Green played defensive tackle for USC, but in the NFL, he will have to move to defensive end unless he is able to gain some weight.
DE-Breeland Speaks-6’3/285 (Ole Miss): Speaks finished the 2017 season in impressive fashion with a strong performance against Mississippi State. Speaks was in the backfield, applying constant pressure on the quarterback and playing against the run well. Speaks was strong at the point of attack and also has some speed with athleticism.
De: Chad Thomas-6’5/277 (Miami): Thomas totaled 30 tackles with 8.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks in 2017. Sources have said that Thomas is really a talented physically. But he never puts it all together on the field. There were flashes of excellence and stretches of doing nothing while looking clueless. However; Thomas has great skills and if drafted by the right team and in the right situation; could develop into a solid rotational DE.
DE: Marcell Frazier-6’5/260 (Missouri): Frazier put together 40 tackles with seven sacks, 15.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and five passes broken up in 2017. He had a slow start to the year before playing better midway through the year and closing out the season well. Frazier had a solid week at the East-West Shrine. He did well as a speed rusher, but showed that he struggles in the run game. Frazier needs to get stronger and improve his run defense; which he should to able to over the next year or two.
DE: Jalyn Holmes-6’4/279 (Ohio State): Holmes had 29 tackles with two sacks, one forced fumble and three passes batted in 2017. Holmes has good size and speed and if not for the platoon system at Ohio State, Holmes production would have been more impressive. Many believe his best football is ahead of him and he could end up being a much better pro than a college player.
DE: Kentavius Street-6’2/285 (North Carolina State): Street strength is off the charts, 700 lbs squat (without knee raps), cleans 400 lbs and bench presses 475 lbs. This usually doesn’t translate into an NFL caliber player, but Street can play inside or outside along the DL and has a high motor and plays mean. Lacks the athleticism of his teammate Bradley Chubb, which is not a knock on Street who ran a sub 4.6 forty yard dash.
DE: Aikeem Coleman-6’3/275 (Idaho): Coleman put together a solid season with 57 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss and seven sacks. Many scouts believe Coleman would be a great day 3 pick/value for any team looking to add a solid DE for their defense line rotation.
Final Thoughts: With speculation that the Giants could transition from a 4-3 to 3-4 defensive scheme or a combination of both in 2018, it would make sense that they target DE/DT who are versatile to play both at the NFL level if possible. As I mentioned earlier, the depth of both the DE/DT position is deep and if the Giants are looking to add a prospects from either or both positions, that shouldn’t be an issue.