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Original Issue

SI 300 Rankings: DEF

NFL offenses are scoring more than ever. These guys want to tilt the trend WITH 2014 STATS

LINEMEN

1 LEONARD WILLIAMS, DT

USC (6'5", 302 lbs.)

48 tackles / 7 sacks / 3 FF

PROS

Plays at an almost unfair speed given his size. If he gets his hands into a blocker early, it's all but over.

CONS

Suspect technique.

NFL COMP

Gerald McCoy

13 DANNY SHELTON, DT

Washington (6'2", 339 lbs.)

53 tackles / 9 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Speed and agility in short spaces—he'll break off a block at line and tear after a RB, meet him at sideline.

CONS

Weight has been a point of concern.

NFL COMP

Vince Wilfork

18 SHANE RAY, DE

Missouri (6'3", 245 lbs.)

47 tackles / 14½ sacks / 3 FF

PROS

Freakish athlete. Moves pocket quickly with dynamic first step, excellent burst.

CONS

Gets too high in stance and loses leverage.

NFL COMP

Bruce Irvin

25 MALCOM BROWN, DT

Texas (6'2", 319 lbs.)

39 tackles / 6½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Shoots gaps well for player of his size. Good laterally; keeps feet moving.

CONS

Needs to work on Plans B and C in penetrating line.

NFL COMP

Terrance Knighton

31 MICHAEL BENNETT, DT

Ohio State (6'2", 293 lbs.)

24 tackles / 7 sacks / 3 FF

PROS

Explodes off line with energy to cause problems. Tracks ball, improvises well.

CONS

Undersized; unable to hold line if double-teamed.

NFL COMP

Henry Melton

32 ARIK ARMSTEAD, DE

Oregon (6'7", 292 lbs.)

25 tackles / 2½ sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Body type--athleticism combo has teams drooling. Upside is astronomical.

CONS

Raw traits? Yes. Instant impact? Maybe not.

NFL COMP

Calais Campbell

35 EDDIE GOLDMAN, DT

Florida State (6'4", 336 lbs.)

19 tackles / 4 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Swim move could be devastating if developed. Bull rush is highly effective.

CONS

Tends to spar/wrestle, not move in/dominate.

NFL COMP

Shaun Rodgers

44 OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA, DE

UCLA (6'3", 267 lbs.)

41 tackles / 6 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Should help against run immediately. Built as if he's been in an NFL lifting program for years.

CONS

Injury woes will drop him.

NFL COMP

Everson Griffen

46 CARL DAVIS, DT

Iowa (6'5", 320 lbs.)

14 tackles / 2 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Can be as disruptive as any DT. Extremely long arms (345/8), big hands (11").

CONS

Just 3½ career sacks. Why didn't he dominate?

NFL COMP

Linval Joseph

50 PRESTON SMITH, DE

Miss. State (6'5", 271 Lbs.)

22 tackles / 9 sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Excellent wrap-up tackler; experience rushing passer from both inside and outside.

CONS

Questionable first step.

NFL COMP

Antonio Smith

52 JORDAN PHILLIPS, DT

Oklahoma (6'5", 329 lbs.)

20 tackles / 2 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Simply a large human being. Staggers interior OL when he drives forward.

CONS

Pass rush hasn't caught up to run-stuffing abilities.

NFL COMP

Haloti Ngata

56 NATE ORCHARD, DE

Utah (6'3", 250 lbs.)

54 tackles / 18½ sacks / 3 FF

PROS

Impressively quick off edge. Could be special if technique improves.

CONS

Tends to react instead of bowling through to pocket.

NFL COMP

Aaron Maybin

61 GRADY JARRETT, DT

Clemson (6'1", 304 lbs.)

26 tackles / 1½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Great first-step quickness; uncanny ability to time his burst to the snap.

CONS

Struggles to beat opponents with power.

NFL COMP

Kelly Gregg

63 HENRY ANDERSON, DE

Stanford (6'6", 294 lbs.)

40 tackles / 8½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Can line up all over. Good speed off snap; moves through traffic quickly.

CONS

Too much of a tweener: not great at any one thing.

NFL COMP

Tyson Jackson

68 DANIELLE HUNTER, DE

LSU (6'5", 252 lbs.)

30 tackles / 1½ sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Rare athleticism for his height; impressive speed in every direction.

CONS

Limited in his technique.

NFL COMP

Bruce Irvin

74 MARIO EDWARDS JR., DE

Florida State (6'3", 279 lbs.)

25 tackles / 3 sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Good feel for gaps; speed to run through openings and disrupt.

CONS

No explosion at the snap.

NFL COMP

Robert Ayers

78 MARKUS GOLDEN, DE

Missouri (6'2", 260 lbs.)

35 tackles / 10 sacks / 3 FF

PROS

One of draft's most consistent high-effort guys. Popular in locker room.

CONS

Size could be an issue.

NFL COMP

Jeremy Mincey

83 TREY FLOWERS, DE

Arkansas (6'2", 266 lbs.)

34 tackles / 6 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Great field speed for his size. Moves into short/intermediate coverage well.

CONS

Reactive, not proactive.

NFL COMP

Björn Werner

84 XAVIER COOPER, DT

Wash. State (6'3", 293 lbs.)

17 tackles / 5 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Wreaks havoc with his jump off the line. Uses quickness to find gaps.

CONS

Lacks great size.

NFL COMP

Antonio Smith

85 GABE WRIGHT, DT

Auburn (6'3", 300 lbs.)

10 tackles / 1 sack / 0 FF

PROS

Quick off the ball. Relentless effort as a pass rusher. Nice motor downfield.

CONS

Plays too high.

NFL COMP

Jordan Hill

96 TYELER DAVISON, DT

Fresno State (6'2", 316 lbs.)

35 tackles / 8½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Big boy chews up multiple blockers on run downs. Underrated set of moves.

CONS

Content holding the line.

NFL COMP

Johnathan Hankins

126 TRAVIS RACITI, DT

San Jose State (6'5", 285 lbs.)

39 tackles / 3 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Employs great height to locate ball. Controls blockers with long arms.

CONS

Not a great first step.

NFL COMP

Beau Allen

130 MARCUS HARDISON, DT

Arizona State (6'3", 307 lbs.)

31 tackles / 10 sacks / 3 FF

PROS

One of quickest DTs in draft: 4.91 40 at his pro day. Knows how to get to QB.

CONS

Lower-body strength could be an issue in NFL.

NFL COMP

Earl Mitchell

137 CHRISTIAN COVINGTON, DT

Rice (6'2", 289 lbs.)

14 tackles / 2½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Jolts O-linemen off the snap and backs his initial surge with power.

CONS

May struggle to get any bigger than he is now.

NFL COMP

Earl Mitchell

148 ELLIS MCCARTHY, DT

UCLA (6'5", 338 lbs.)

12 tackles / 3 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Lightning-quick ability to shoot gaps, wreck blocking schemes.

CONS

Prone to disappear.

NFL COMP

Grady Jackson

159 ZA'DARIUS SMITH, DE

KENTUCKY (6'4", 274 LBS.)

26 tackles / 4½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Powerful hands, arms enable him to shed blocks and get into the backfield. Never gives up pursuit.

CONS

Starts to play high as he gets tired; practically stands up late in games.

NFL COMP

Mike Montgomery

172 CEDRIC REED, DE

Texas (6'5", 269 lbs.)

40 tackles / 5½ sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Speed to pursue QB; good burst off snap; nose for the ball. Long frame.

CONS

Poor at shedding blocks.

NFL COMP

Tony Jerod-Eddie

173 LETERRIUS WALTON, DT

Central Michigan (6'5", 319 lbs.)

19 tackles / 2 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Imposing, physical interior presence. Effective redirecting foes one-on-one.

CONS

Trouble disengaging.

NFL COMP

Red Bryant

184 COREY CRAWFORD, DE

Clemson (6'5", 283 lbs.)

18 tackles / 2 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Has NFL size, length. Anticipates run well; good ability to change direction.

CONS

Questionable toughness.

NFL COMP

Bruce Gaston

188 DERRICK LOTT, DT

Chattanooga (6'4", 314 lbs.)

23 tackles / 6 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Light on his feet for a 300-plus DT. Long arms; solid sense of his position.

CONS

Weak college schedule.

NFL COMP

Fletcher Cox

190 ANTHONY CHICKILLO, DE

Miami (6'3", 267 lbs.)

20 tackles / 3 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Lined up all over Miami's front. Good leverage and can anchor despite his size.

CONS

Few hand-fighting moves.

NFL COMP

Kroy Biermann

202 LOUIS TRINCA-PASAT, DT

Iowa (6'1", 290 lbs.)

29 tackles / 6½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Tenacious, competitive. Not big, but makes up for it with hard work. Willing to let teammates stand out.

CONS

Short arms. Will struggle to get off blocks.

NFL COMP

Mike Daniels

219 JOEY MBU, DT

HOUSTON (6'3", 313 LBS)

17 tackles / 2½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Very good hands and awareness against the pass. Knows who he is (run stopper) and isn't (pass rusher).

CONS

Can be reckless getting upfield, leaving large holes for RBs.

NFL COMP

Lawrence Guy

221 KALEB EULLS, DT

Mississippi State (6'3", 305 lbs.)

10 tackles / 3 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Good burst off snap. Chases hard down the line. Uses angles to get free.

CONS

Heavy-footed. Struggles to push pocket.

NFL COMP

Corey Peters

225 RAKEEM NUNEZ-ROCHES, DT

Southern Miss. (6'2", 307 lbs.)

32 tackles / 3 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

High-motor guy; plays through the whistle.

CONS

Suspect awareness. Struggles with double teams.

NFL COMP

Clinton McDonald

228 XAVIER WILLIAMS, DT

Northern Iowa (6'2", 325 lbs.)

38 tackles / 8 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Flashes violent punch. Can push the pocket up the middle. Times the snap well.

CONS

Hands must improve. Struggled against elite teams.

NFL COMP

Colin Cole

232 SHAQUILLE RIDDICK, DE

West Virginia (6'6", 242 lbs.)

24 tackles / 7 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Gets upfield quickly; shows consistent fight. Great pro-day numbers.

CONS

Tweener who doesn't fully fit DE or DT role.

NFL COMP

Manny Lawson

243 ZACK WAGENMANN, DE

Montana (6'3", 247 lbs.)

34 tackles / 17½ sacks / 6 FF

PROS

Gets in backfield relatively consistently. Excellent backside pursuit.

CONS

Strength is a concern.

NFL COMP

Kroy Biermann

267 FRANK CLARK, DE

Michigan (6'3", 271 lbs.)

29 tackles / 4½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Explosive rusher—especially with bull rush.

CONS

Needs more moves.

NFL COMP

Derek Wolfe

280 J.T. SURRATT, DT

South Carolina (6'1", 304 lbs.)

20 tackles / 1 sack / 0 FF

PROS

NFL size will help him anchor against the run.

CONS

Doesn't offer much as a pass-rusher.

NFL COMP

Dwan Edwards

284 BOBBY RICHARDSON, DT

Indiana (6'3", 283 lbs.)

24 tackles / 5½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Quick feet. Inside pass-rush move slays slow foes.

CONS

If initial move fails, he's easily taken out of the play.

NFL COMP

Kendall Reyes

287 MARTIN IFEDI, DE

Memphis (6'3", 275 lbs.)

26 tackles / 2½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Has size to be a 4--3 DE, length to make it as a 3--4 DE.

CONS

Needs more burst to be an effective NFL edge rusher.

NFL COMP

Jarius Wynn

LINEBACKERS

3 RANDY GREGORY, DE/OLB

Nebraska (6'5", 235 lbs.)

23 tackles / 7 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Athletic freak with 34" reach, 4.64 40 time. Flies after the football.

CONS

Tested positive for marijuana at combine.

NFL COMP

Clay Matthews Jr.

5 DANTE FOWLER JR., DE/OLB

Florida (6'3", 261 lbs.)

29 tackles / 8½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Plays low to the ground; makes life hard for taller OTs. Wears down his foes.

CONS

Relies on speed, motor.

NFL COMP

Justin Houston

10 VIC BEASLEY, OLB

Clemson (6'3", 246 lbs.)

28 tackles / 12 sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Appears as if he knows QB's count. Shoots out of a cannon at the snap.

CONS

Not reliable against run. Lacks bag of tricks.

NFL COMP

Von Miller

14 SHAQ THOMPSON, OLB

Washington (6'0", 228 lbs.)

52 tackles / 1 sack / 3 FF

PROS

Dual RB/OLB at UW has natural elusiveness to get around protection.

CONS

Not big enough to deal with second-level blockers.

NFL COMP

DeAndre Levy

28 BENARDRICK MCKINNEY, ILB

Mississippi State (6'4", 246 lbs.)

35 tackles / 3 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Imposing; tough to deal with coming downhill. Throws power into collisions.

CONS

So-so footwork.

NFL COMP

Brandon Spikes

29 ERIC KENDRICKS, ILB

UCLA (6'0", 232 lbs.)

101 tackles / 4 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Phenomenal instincts, especially against run. Rarely caught out of position.

CONS

Arguably plays too fast.

NFL COMP

Sean Lee

34 DENZEL PERRYMAN, ILB

Miami (5'11", 236 lbs.)

79 tackles / 2 sacks / 3 FF

PROS

Highlight-reel tackler. Stays square; storms downhill with intensity.

CONS

Will play a two-down role on most NFL teams.

NFL COMP

Brandon Spikes

36 BUD DUPREE, DE/OLB

Kentucky (6'4", 269 lbs.)

45 tackles / 7½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Can mirror TEs and slot men; could be used very creatively.

CONS

Lacks raw strength.

NFL COMP

Akeem Ayers

39 PAUL DAWSON, ILB

TCU (6'0", 235 lbs.)

81 tackles / 6 sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Tracks ball adeptly from sideline to sideline; lateral speed to close on WRs.

CONS

Not equipped to deal with large, powerful blockers.

NFL COMP

Pat Angerer

58 ELI HAROLD, DE/OLB

Virginia (6'3", 247 lbs.)

29 tackles / 7 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Gets off snap, into OL's body in a hurry. Bull rush moves men 50 lbs. heavier.

CONS

Few hand moves to speak of—no rip or swim.

NFL COMP

Chad Greenway

82 STEPHONE ANTHONY, ILB

Clemson (6'3", 243 lbs.)

45 tackles / 2½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Quick to diagnose runs between tackles. Explodes into gaps but stays in control.

CONS

Loses the leverage game far too often.

NFL COMP

Rolando McClain

86 HAU'OLI KIKAHA, OLB

Washington (6'2", 253 lbs.)

53 tackles / 19 sacks / 3 FF

PROS

Jaw-dropping production past two years: at least one sack in each of UW's 14 games in '14.

CONS

Tackling and run stopping are lacking.

NFL COMP

Damontre Moore

98 LORENZO MAULDIN, OLB

Louisville (6'4", 259 lbs.)

36 tackles / 6½ sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Nice speed-strength combo; comes off snap quickly. Patient tackler.

CONS

Gets washed out by blockers too often.

NFL COMP

Jackson Jeffcoat

100 ZACK HODGES, OLB

Harvard (6'2", 250 lbs.)

12 tackles / 8½ sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Comes off ball low, quickly. Uses hands well.

CONS

Limited array of pass-rushing techniques.

NFL COMP

Scott Crichton

111 RAMIK WILSON, ILB

Georgia (6'2", 237 lbs.)

56 tackles / 2 sacks / 1 FF

PROS

Quick to the ball on runs. Explodes through RBs.

CONS

Takes too many false steps. Fooled by misdirection.

NFL COMP

Justin Durant

116 KWON ALEXANDER, OLB

LSU (6'1", 227 lbs.)

40 tackles / 1½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Has range, athleticism to pursue ballcarriers sideline to sideline.

CONS

Field awareness is low.

NFL COMP

Mike Peterson

117 GENEO GRISSOM, DE/OLB

Oklahoma (6'3", 262 lbs.)

27 tackles / 3½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Raw, versatile athlete. (Took TE snaps at pro day.)Willing to chase down RBs.

CONS

Pass-rush moves lack creativity.

NFL COMP

Shea McClellin

124 JORDAN HICKS, OLB

Texas (6'1", 236 lbs.)

75 tackles / 3½ sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Impressive physique. Effective open-field tackler.

CONS

Not enough explosive plays. Questionable durability.

NFL COMP

Vontaze Burfict

135 LYNDEN TRAIL, DE/OLB

Norfolk State (6'6", 260 lbs.)

32 tackles / 5 sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Rare versatility for size. Advanced hand technique.

CONS

Lacks high-level NCAA reps at any one position.

NFL COMP

Carlos Dunlap

138 BEN HEENEY, ILB

Kansas (6'0", 231 lbs.)

88 tackles / 1½ sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Relentless; good lateral quickness. Athleticism to cover RBs in pass game.

CONS

Lacks ideal size.

NFL COMP

Jerrell Freeman

151 TAIWAN JONES, ILB

Michigan State (6'3", 245 lbs.)

31 tackles / 4 sacks / 0 FF

PROS

Comes downhill with ferocity. Good instincts.

CONS

Slow to drop in coverage. Stiff in his hips.

NFL COMP

Christian Jones

155 JAKE RYAN, OLB

Michigan (6'2", 240 lbs.)

67 tackles / 2 sacks / 2 FF

PROS

Has size, length to take on blockers at line; speed to make tackles in space.

CONS

Overwhelmed at times after moving to ILB in '14.

NFL COMP

Sean Weatherspoon

160 KYLE EMANUEL, DE/OLB

N. Dakota State (6'3", 255 lbs.)

50 tackles / 19½ sacks / 3 FF

PROS

Good leverage; rushes with low center of gravity.

CONS

Average burst; 31" arms may be an issue against long NFL blockers.

NFL COMP

Shea McClellin

163 MIKE HULL, ILB

Penn State (6'0", 237 lbs.)