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Row12.com - A Community of Sports Writers and Fans!                                               ***Attention Writers***
 
Top 10 Defensive Lineman in the 2015 NFL Draft
By Matt Horkman

1. Leonard Williams, USC
Using his power to get off blocks, Williams is a high-level defender against both the run and pass. As a rusher, he isn’t a one-trick pony. He has a good pass rush repertoire. He’s also tough as nails, playing through an ankle injury against Stanford earlier this year. He’s versatile, relentless, and will never have to come off the field. Overall, Williams is one of the elite prospects of this draft. His size, athleticism and grit make him the type of defensive player that could establish a presence along a defensive line for years to come. He’s a top five pick. Danny Shelton

2. Danny Shelton, Washington
Shelton is a dominate run defender and a very good pass rusher. He had over 90 tackles in 2014 and produced nine sacks. As a result, he’s a three-down player. Many have compared him to Haloti Ngata and Dontari Poe and those comparisons aren’t far off. He’s a big, prototype inside player. He gets penetration against the run and finishes plays. His power is off the chart; he’ll knock offensive lineman to the ground. He also anticipates the snap count well. In conclusion, Shelton is one of the 10 best players in this draft. He’s immovable against the run, and powerful and agile enough to rush the quarterback.

3. Malcom Brown, Texas
Brown is a solid run defender with tremendous size (6-foot-4, 320). Additionally, he’s also a good pass rusher, registering six sacks in 2014. He showed steady progress throughout the season, suggesting that he’s making an effort to improve his craft. Given his size, he should be play with more power. That’s a minor nitpick, though. Overall, Brown’s versatility and effectiveness against the pass and run makes him an enticing first-round prospect.

4. Arik Armstead, Oregon
Versatility and size makes Armstead a potential nightmare for offensive lines at the next level. He‘s scheme versatile. He could play the 5-technique in a 34 defense or kick inside in a 43 defense. He gets off blocks, using his hands well to disengage. He has terrific quickness. He's still very raw, though. He's unlikely to make an impact in 2015.

5. Eddie Goldman, Florida State
A run-clogging defensive tackle, Goldman is coming off an awful pro day. His workout was widely panned, as he showed little to no movement skills, and benched 225 pounds just 19 times. Despite the poor showing on the bench, Goldman does show power on tape. He has a fantastic bull rush, and could play in both a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme. Look for him to come off the board in the backend of round one or the early part of round two.

6. Carl Davis, Iowa
A stellar showing at this year’s Senior Bowl put Davis in first-round consideration. He's an up-field rusher capable of collapsing the pocket. He does a nice job of using his hands to disengage from blockers. Overall, he has the skill set to be disruptive in both the running and passing games. Nevertheless, given his size and talent, he should have been far more productive as a college player. His inconsistency is a bit of a mystery.

7. Michael Bennett, Ohio State
An athletic 3-techinique, Bennett has a chance to hear his name called in late in round one or early in round two. He’s quick off the ball, displaying good snap count anticipation. However, if he doesn’t beat you off the ball, he tends to struggle to get off blocks. His consistency is also questionable. He emerged as a big part of Ohio State’s defense down the stretch, but produced very little in the first half of their season. Is he a streaky player?

8. Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
Phillips looks the part on paper. He has great size and length (long arms). He’s also powerful, showing the ability to dominate against the run. Additionally, he’s not just a stationary nose tackle. He has amazing movement skills for his size, so he's capable of chasing down quarterbacks. His back surgery in 2013 could be a medical red flag. Consistency is also an issue. On paper, he should be a top 16 pick. However, his production is a bit underwhelming, so he’ll likely go in the back half of round one. 

9. Mario Edwards, Florida State
Edwards disappears throughout long spurts. He lacks great closing speed and needs to do a better job of wrapping up. Still, he’s a very good athlete. In addition, he shows good discipline against the run. If he can become a more consistent player, he has the kind of athleticism and size to earn a starting role in the NFL.

10. Gabe Wright, Auburn
Wright has a good skill set, but the production isn’t always there. He disappears throughout long spurts. An underachiever, he will be drafted based solely on potential.

Honorable Mentions
Henry Anderson, Stanford
Xavier Cooper, Washington State
Marcus Hardison, Arizona State
Grady Jarrett, Clemson
Bobby Richardson, Indiana

@RowTwelve

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