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Draft preview: Defensive ends

Posted Mar 14, 2013

Panthers.com will preview each position group leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, highlighting the top players based on rankings provided by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock.

The first installment features defensive ends. Mayock divides the position based on potential fits in 4-3 and 3-4 schemes.

"A 4-3 defensive end is a little bit like the 3-4 outside linebacker. They get paid to rush the quarterback," Mayock said on NFL Network. "You're talking about a guy in a three-point stance – long, twitchy edge-rusher. A 3-4 defensive end has got to be more stout."

Many 3-4 defensive ends can also play defensive tackle in a 4-3. Since the Panthers run a base 4-3 defense, some of Mayock's 3-4 defensive ends will be featured later in our look at defensive tackles.

We'll also highlight several prospects in each position group who turned heads with their performance at the scouting combine.


MAYOCK'S TOP 4-3 DEs

Bjoern Werner
6-3, 266-pounds, Florida State

Werner is widely regarded as the top defensive end prospect and is expected to be drafted anywhere in the top 15... The German-born defensive end starred at Florida State during his junior season, recording 18 tackles for loss and 13 sacks... Werner was a consensus All-American and earned ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.

Ezekiel Ansah 
6-5, 271-pounds, Brigham Young

The ultra-athletic "Ziggy" Ansah wowed NFL scouts at the combine and is expected to be selected early in the first round... Ansah, who played linebacker in college, recorded 13 tackles, 4.5 sacks and nine passes defensed as a senior.  

Damontre Moore
6-5, 250 pounds, Texas A&M

Moore is considered a first-round talent by most draft pundits despite struggling in some drills at the combine (12 reps on the bench press and a 4.95 40-yard dash)... Moore compiled 85 tackles as a junior, including 21 for loss, and 12.5 sacks.


MAYOCK'S TOP 3-4 DEs

Star Lotulelei
6-3, 311 pounds, Utah

Lotulelei was considered a top-five pick before a heart condition was discovered at the combine. Still, most expect him off the board by the middle of the first round... Lotulelei anchored the Utes defense, recording 42 tackles, 10 for loss, five sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior... Was a first-team All-American and two-time first-team All-Pac-12 defensive tackle.

Margus Hunt
6-8, 277 pounds, Southern Methodist

Hunt, who possesses rare size and athleticism, is projected as a second-round pick... The Estonia-native notched eight sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss as a senior at Southern Methodist.

Datone Jones
6-4, 283 pounds, UCLA

Jones offers versatility to teams thanks to his experience at both defensive end and tackle... He recorded 19 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks as a senior and was as a three-year starter for the Bruins.



Trevardo Williams runs the 40-yard dash at the combine.

COMBINE STANDOUTS

Trevardo Williams
6-1, 241 pounds, Connecticut

A second or third round prospect, Williams put his athletic ability on display at the combine. He finished first among all defensive linemen with a 4.57 40-yard dash and 38-inch broad jump.

Margus Hunt
6-8, 277 pounds, Southern Methodist

Hunt appears physically ready to handle the NFL trenches, posting 38 reps on the bench press – the top mark among defensive linemen.

Devin Taylor
6-7, 266 pounds, South Carolina

Taylor – a projected mid-round selection – flashed his agility with a pair of second place finishes among defensive linemen in the three cone drill (6.89) and 20-yard shuttle (4.03).