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2011 NFL Draft - Defensive End Rankings
Da'Quan Bowers, J.J. Watt, Ryan Kerrigan
Da'Quan Bowers, J.J. Watt, Ryan Kerrigan
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 14, 2011


There aren't the normal hybrids of past years, and there aren't many sure-thing pass rushers, but it's a talented group of ends that need to do more than ever with their size and athleticism. Can Da'Quan Bowers get healthy? Are Ryan Kerrigan and J.J. Watt able to translate their college prodution to the NFL? Check out the CFN 2011 Ranking of all the defensive ends.

2011 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Top Ten Defensive Ends


By Pete Fiutak

2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs
- TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- DTs | DEs 

2011 NFL Post-Combine Draft Rankings
- Top 32 Talents
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders & Top Free Agents  

2011 NFL Combine Position Analysis
- QB | RB | WR | TE
- C | OT | OG | DE
- DT | ILB | OLB | S | CB
- 2012's Top Returning NFL Prospects - Offense

THE 2010 NFL DRAFT


2010 CFN Talent Rankings
- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Quick Looks & Post-Combine Rankings

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs 

2010 NFL Combine
- Offensive Winners  
- Offensive Losers 
- Defensive Winners 
- Defensive Losers

- 2011 NFL Defensive End Rankings - No. 11 to 25  

This Class Is … strong. There's a little something for everyone with good size, a few pure pass rushers , and depth down the charts. There might not be many killers, but there are plenty of starters.

The Best Value Pick Will Be … Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State
Most Underrated … Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
Most Overrated … Cameron Jordan, Cal
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Ronnell Brown, James Madison

1. Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson 6-3, 280 (Jr.)
With tremendous size and the right athleticism, Bowers has it all. It took a little while to live up to the expectations coming out of high school, but when he decided to commit to being special, and when inspired by the tragic deaths of both his father and former Clemson star, Gaines Adams, he turned his game up several notches and became a devastating terror into the backfield. As soon as he announced he was leaving school early, he was immediately put into the No. 1 overall slot in most mock drafts, or was at least in the top three, and then he had surgery on his knee and he started to drop. It was quickly forgotten that knees heal, and it’s not like he had to undergo reconstructive surgery. When he’s right, he has all the moves with strength to push his way into the backfield, and the quickness to get to the edge when needed if he’s put in a 4-3. His money will be made as an athletic 3-4 end, but he has to continue to dedicate himself to his craft and has to continue to work for it. Very quickly, he could go from being a rock of an athlete to a fleshy 300+ defender who’ll lose his edge. Can he continue to build on his one big year? If his knee is right, yes.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue 6-4, 267
With the ultimate motor and with a variety of skills and moves, he could be the best edge rusher in the draft. He might not be lightning fast and he’s not the most fluid of athletes, but he’s relentless when it comes to getting into the backfield, and he has the drive and the desire to do whatever it takes to get better. There’s no questioning his character, and he improved his stock in a big way at the Combine in the interviews, on the bench, and in the quickness drills. He’s not going to fly off the ball at an NFL level and he’s not going to be a pure speed rusher, but there’s no bust potential and he could be a statistical superstar with the right help from the rest of the line.
CFN Projection: First Round

3. Robert Quinn, North Carolina (OLB) 6-4, 265 (Jr.)
With a dream combination of size and skills, he’s a phenomenal athlete who comes in out of central casting. While he wasn’t all that impressive at the Combine considering the hype, he plays fast, gets off the ball in a hiccup, and he’s a rock. No, he didn’t quite blow up in Indianapolis, but he still impressed with the way he came in cut after missing all of last year suspended. Will he be more of a playmaker against the run and not just into the glory plays in the backfield? Is he really a star, or did he look great because he was surrounded by NFL talent? There are question marks about his all-around game and he’s hardly a finished product, but the skills and upside are all in place to become a special defender with a little bit of time.
CFN Projection: First Round

4. Aldon Smith, Missouri (DE) 6-4, 263 (Soph.)
Is he an outside linebacker or is he an end? He’s a tweener, but in a good way with the outstanding athleticism needed to work as a 3-4 outside defender and the strength to hold up in a 4-3. Fluid, he moves like a much smaller player with the ability to get around the edge like a breeze. Not just a pass rushing specialist, he’s strong, doesn’t mind contact, and will battle hard with a great fire and competitiveness. In a good way, he’s not there yet. Still very young, he’s still tapping his potential and could go from being a great prospect to a top-shelf all-star with just a little bit of work. Arguably the best pure pass rusher in the draft, he can be turned loose right away with the knowledge that there’s a lot more to come from his game down the road.
CFN Projection: First Round

5. J.J. Watt, Wisconsin 6-5, 290 (Jr.)
The ultimate story of rags to riches, Watt started out his career as a skinny tight end at Central Michigan, decided he wanted to try making it at Wisconsin, walked-on, got a LOT bigger, and became one of college football’s most productive all-around defensive linemen. He plays with a passion and doesn’t take a play off, and with his combination of motor, size, and quickness, he’s the prototype 3-technique defender. He’s not going to dominate athletically at the next level and doesn’t have flash speed, but his raw strength is phenomenal and his work ethic will never be a question. At the very least, he’ll bust his tail to try to be good, but there could be a hard ceiling on what he can become once he can’t just get by on want-to.
CFN Projection: First Round

6. Cameron Heyward, Ohio State 6-5, 294
The son of former NFL star running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, Cameron has the strength and he has the athleticism to be the ideal 3-4 end. The problem is his lack of consistency. He should be great all the time, and when the lights were turned on and he was challenged, he dominated. The Buckeye line was being maligned two years ago, and he came out and destroyed Wisconsin. In the 2011 Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, he spent most of the evening sitting on Ryan Mallett’s head. His size and his football talent make him almost a sure thing not to bust, but he’s not a pure pass rusher and he doesn’t get off the ball in a hurry. While he’ll probably be a rock-solid ten-year starter, he’s not going to be a Pro Bowl dominator and there’s a hard ceiling on how good he can be.
CFN Projection: Second Round

7. Cameron Jordan, California 6-4, 287
Everyone’s darling of the post-season workout circuit, Jordan was awesome in Senior Bowl practices showing off his tremendous size, good athleticism, and high motor. Very, very long, he has a big frame that carries his weight extremely well. The problem is that he wasn’t always a killer in Pac 10 play, even though he was consistent and productive. He’ll be asked to become a dominant pass rusher in a 3-4, but he’s a better athlete than a polished sack artist and will disappear for long stretches. With his versatility and with his drive he’ll be an excellent pro for a long time. However, don’t be shocked if he’s a slight disappointment compared to other top ends in the draft.
CFN Projection: First Round

8. Adrian Clayborn, Iowa 6-3, 281
After choosing to come back for his senior year, when many projected he’d be a top ten overall pick had he left early, he was a disappointment. As part of a loaded line full of NFL prospects, he disappeared way too often and almost never came up with the game-changing play a player of his talent should’ve. Even so, he’s a very strong, very versatile lineman who can get into the backfield as a 3-4 end or can hold up as a 4-3 tackle. Despite his problem with Erb’s Palsy, causing a weakness and paralysis in his arm, he doesn’t seem to have many problems because of it. However, he might have to only play on the right side. More of a football player than a top-shelf athlete, there’s a limit on what he can do, but he plays with a fire and a passion and should carve out a strong career.
CFN Projection: Second Round

9. Jabaal Sheard, Pitt 6-3, 264
Extremely quick off the ball and the type of player who can get into the backfield in a blink, he’s the type of pure pass rusher the draft seems to be missing. While he’s not going to be a rock against the run and he won’t see time in a 3-4, he has all the moves and all the athleticism to be a sack artist. Can he stay healthy? He always had a nagging bump or bruise of some sort, and there’s no room or ability to get any bigger, but he could be a great specialist who changes games on third downs.
CFN Projection: Second Round

10. Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State 6-3, 274
Huge, he fits into just about any system and can hold up as well against the run as any end in the draft. He’s a high-character leader who wants to be the main man for the line, he’s always working and he’s great at leading by example. Strong, he doesn’t get pushed around and he’ll fight through the lazier linemen. However, he’s not a top pass rusher and he can be stopped by a good, sound blocker. More of an NFL plugger than a star, he’ll be the type of starter who’s on a line for a decade, but generally goes unnoticed … but not always in a bad way.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round
 
- 2011 NFL Defensive End Rankings - No. 11 to 25